We are now accepting applications for the 2016 MRCG Emerging Professional Scholarship. More information and the application can be found here. For more information about what it’s like to be a scholarship recipient, here’s a reflection from Amber Kehoe, one of the 2015 recipients:
MRCG Scholarship: Empowering Emerging Professionals
Being awarded an MRCG Scholarship to attend and speak at the 22nd annual conference was a turbo boost for my preprogram career to say the least. I returned to Minneapolis feeling full – full of ambition, excitement, curiosity, and full from all of the great food I consumed! The support and camaraderie between members was enough to make that weekend unforgettable, but it wasn’t the only thing that resounded with me.
I began each morning waking up in the beautiful, historic Bell Tower Hotel that was only a short walk away from the Kelsey Museum where the event took place. I was the first speaker, which was quite an honor for this year’s lineup. There were many interesting papers shared by a diverse group of conservators. Opening the conference allowed me to introduce myself to the entire group and learn from those who presented after me.
I attended the conference in 2014 in Minneapolis, but at that time, I didn’t feel as connected to the group as I did in Ann Arbor. My presentation was a conversation starter and I met many conservators in the group because of it. The things I learned during this experience positively influenced my approach to giving presentations.
Preparing for my first professional talk to a conservation audience was challenging. I drew from prior presentations at graduate school interviews and lecturing for undergraduate art history courses. To gain further insight on speaking in front of a conservation audience, I utilized AIC’s Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) webinar “Presenting Talks and Papers”. The atmosphere at the symposium was professional yet comfortable, so I think the webinar (and lots of encouragement from supervisors) prepared me will for that situation.
With my strong background in science, it was fitting that I spoke about XRF. What I found most difficult was discussing the chemistry behind the limitations of the technique. It is never easy describing the science behind an analytical technique, especially in a couple of minutes, but the audience was very receptive. I learned later at the reception that some conservators had experience with XRF or were interested in acquiring handheld units for their labs. I enjoyed casually discussing the technique with others and felt like my opinion mattered. The feedback I received was positive and encouraging. Many of the conservators were surprised that I had done this research as a pre-program student and wished me luck for applying tot he graduate programs.
After the symposium, I was invited to present this research to a public audience at the Midwest Art Conservation Center’s Annual Open Lab event. I also included it in my graduate school interviews at Buffalo, Winterthur, and NYU. Presenting at the 22nd annual conference was the beginning of what I hope will be a career filled with professional talks and workshop trainings.
Amber has been accepted into the Class of 2019 at the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation and intends to specialize in photograph conservation.