Submitted by Sharra Grow on
By Mariana Onofri and Gabriela Lúcio
The process of regulating the profession of conservator-restorers of cultural heritage in Brazil has been going on for some years. However, it is from 2017 onwards that this process has intensified with the union and the efforts mainly of emerging conservators and undergraduate students through actions on social media networks and in demonstrations.
Their message has been to show the importance of national regulation not only to have conditions worthy of work, but also to preserve our cultural heritage, collective memory and history for our people. The Bill is conclusive in nature. That is, it must pass through committees composed of Federal Deputies and then go to the Senate for review, the last step before being approved, which will enable the profession to be officially regulated.
In 2019, the 1.183/2019 Bill, regarding the regulation by law of the profession of conservator-restorer of cultural heritage, was presented at the Commission for Work, Administration, and Public Service (CTASP). At the time Gabriela Lúcio, one of the historical documents conservators of the Chamber of Deputies, would go through the deputies' offices sending emails advocating for the Bill go through. We thought, at the time, that we would be able to move quickly through the process. However at the end of 2019, the first cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed, and in February 2020, Brazil announced our first positive case, and the work in the Chamber of Deputies was promptly interrupted. It wasn’t until mid-2021 that the 1183/2019 Bill would once again be put back on the table for discussion.
While the legislative activities resumed in the Chamber of Deputies, and the 1.183/2019 Bill was filed at the CTASP, Mariana Onofri, at the time an art conservator in the Chamber of Deputies, began recording videos with deputies from different states demonstrating support for the regulation of the profession. These videos were uploaded onto the social media account @RegulamentaJa_cr, made by students and emerging conservators to inform them about news in the profession, the 1.183/2019 Bill, and its progress through the National Congress.
During the process, the 1.183/2019 Bill was withdrawn from the CTASP agenda a few times. Meanwhile, there was a public hearing with professionals from all over the country to discuss the importance of protecting cultural heritage through conservator-restorers. Finally, in December 2022, the Bill was approved by the CTASP committee.
This fight is not over yet, but with effort, teamwork, and support, we have already accomplished so much. We share our story to spread the information and inspiration to other countries, with the hope that our international colleagues will be encouraged to fight for cultural heritage and their labor rights.
You can find more information on the 1.183/2019 Bill here: https://www.camara.leg.br/proposicoesWeb/fichadetramitacao?idProposicao=...
The public hearing regarding the Bill is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMKdEf3bf5A&t=1418s
Information regarding the Bill and the profession in Brazil is posted on Regulamenta Já's Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/regulamentaja_cr/ and on Mariana Onofri’s Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/marianaonofri.restauro/
Mariana Onofri is an art conservator currently working on a master's degree in arts related to conservation research at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. She is content producer at @marianaonofri.restauro and student member of International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC).
Gabriela Lúcio holds a master’s degree in science information at University of Brasília (UnB—Class of 2022). She holds a bachelor's degree in conservation and restoration at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ – Class of 2018). Gabriela is a participant in the Program Adapt: Conservation and Leadership in a Time of Change (IIC/Getty Foundation) and a content producer for social media regarding heritage education at Association for Heritage Preservation of the Americas (APOYOnline). She is also a student member of International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC).
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This article is featured in the February-March 2023 "News in Conservation" Issue 94, p. 16-18. As BONUS CONTENT for IIC Members, the article is available on the IIC Community Platform, in English and Portuguese. (https://iiconservation-community.org/themes/leadership/best-practice/b-o...)