Closing ceremony: Looking out onto a sea of delegates

As a council member of the IIC, I was sitting on stage looking out onto the audience of delegates during the closing ceremony of this congress, waiting for my turn at the podium to announce the poster prize winners. The effect of observing this moment was inspiring. I know that can sound ridiculous, but I have to confess that in listening to IIC President Sarah Staniforth and GCI Head Scientist Tom Learner recant the presentations, panel discussions, and special events we've taken part in over the past five days I was reminded of how much each of us have accomplished and contributed to making it a success. Whether one was part of the planning and implementation of the congress, a presenter, a volunteer, or an attendee, our collective contributions are what drew us together, enabling us to share our research and knowledge. This congress provided us the opportunity to expand our professional understandings and our network of colleagues. In an ever increasing world of technical innovations and means for global communications, nothing can replace the physical gathering of people sharing their ideas, experiences, and knowledge with one another.

Sometimes it is not until you reach the end of an event and look back that you realize the amount of work that has gone into it all. Those of us on the stage were present to acknowledge the incredible dedication and hard work of each individual and team that made it all possible: the local planning committee who spent countless hours collaborating and strategizing to make this venue and the special events such a success; the presenters whose research, publications, and presentations provided the focus of this congress; the technical committee who selected and encouraged their work; the conference organizers including IIC office staff and IIC Council members; and the attentive staff at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

The IIC recognized the achievements of our poster authors, with the top prize in the professional posters going to author Daniel Burge for the poster, "Core concepts in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery for inkjet-printed photographs and fine art." Honorable mention in the professional posters was given to authors Ioseba I. Soraluze, Yu-chun Chen, and Chien-hua Lur for their poster, "Conservation of ephemeral art: restoring banana skins in works by Lo Yi-chun." The top prize for the student posters was awarded to authors Raimundo Milton and Joana Lia Ferreira for their poster, "Preservation of general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) sculptures – heat modeling in Pequenas Esculturas (1975) by Angelo de Sousa." An honorable mention was awarded for the student poster by authors Katharina Poll, Gabriela Krist, Caroline Ocks, Veronika, Loiskandl, and Tatjana Bayerova for their poster, "Challenges of cleaning acrylic emulsion paintings: surface treatment of the water damaged painting The Cyclist by Ilya & Emilia Kabokov." Each of the winners were awarded a certificate acknowledging their achievement along with a book donated by the Getty Conservation Institute.

After the poster prizes were awarded I sat looking out on the audience as Tom Learner spoke of the highlights from the technical program. I watched the faces in the audience as everyone recalled their own experiences from the past week. I saw smiles, contemplation, laughter, and ponderous reflection. Tom encouraged us to put the information we had learned during the week to use and to share the publications and research with others, as the material presented during the Congress will be of vital service and reference to our field for many years to come.

The IIC is committed to providing enriching research through our publications, programs, and Congresses, and we are enthusiastic for the coming events in 2017; the IIC ‘Point of the Matter’ Dialogues Series will be offering what promises to be a diverse panel discussion on protest art in New York City in February, and an inspiring Student and Emerging Conservators Conference (SECC) will be held in Bern, ‎Switzerland next September.

Post by: Amber Kerr