Last week, from the 15-17 June 2016, I attended the Icon Conference 2016, titled “Turn and Face the Change: Conservation in the 21st Century”. The conference took place at Aston University in Birmingham. The theme of the conference questioned whether conservation was keeping up with changing trends and what the future of the profession looks like.
Natasa Krsmanovic and I presented during an Emerging Professionals session, giving a talk titled “Promoting Awareness and Understanding of Conservation through Social Media at the Corning Museum of Glass”. We wanted to show that social media can be a powerful tool for conservators, and the case study outlined in our presentation showed we had great success with it in just three months.
The presentation went very well. It was rewarding to be able to contribute to the field by sharing our experience, and the audience seemed very receptive. We had so many great questions following our talk, including: How much time should conservators spend posting to social media? Are websites things of the past? and Which social media platforms are the best?
One of my favourite aspects of the conference was the use of the hashtag that Icon created for the conference, #IconTF16. This was a great way to learn what was going on in other sessions. It was also a great way for social media based discussions to happen, allow us all to network in a new way. The hashtag ended up helping to prove Natasa and I’s point–that social media is powerful. In a recent email Icon sent out, they shared that more than 50 Tweets an hour were posted with the hashtag, and that #IconTF16 was at one point trending in the Top 100.
Overall the conference was a lot of fun. All of the talks I caught were great–they were moving, educational, and inspirational. You can read an overview put together by Icon here.
A big thanks to the team at the Corning Museum of Glass’ Rakow Library and West Lake Conservators for all the encouragement and help. Thank you also to the Anna Plowden Trust for a CPD Grant.