Thanks to the ARLIS/NA Upstate New York conference travel award, I was able to attend the ARLIS/NA + VRA 3rd Joint Conference in Seattle. Before arriving in Seattle, I noted the sessions to attend that were relevant to my position at work and in the chapter, as well as the galleries and museums I was interested in attending. The following are some of the highlights of my conference experience.
I attended the session titled “Connecting the Past to the Present: Promoting Cultural Understanding through Collections and Exhibitions.” The presenters discussed their experiences with academic freedom and the library exhibit, showcasing a war exhibit, digitizing a Japanese American collection, and highlighting an indigenous graphic novel collection. As exhibitions coordinator at my library, their experiences helped me think of the implications of a potentially controversial exhibition or display, as well as the educational rewards as evidenced by the presenters’ experiences.
Another session I attended was “Connecting Social Justice to the Workplace: Issues of Diversity in our Professional Lives.” The presenters discussed their experiences with processing social justice collections, managing the LIS Microagressions website and zine, designing a toolkit for inclusive learning environments, being a token, and developing intergroup relations and intercultural competency. It was great to see how libraries and archives are inclusive of all people, collections, and learning environments, and that the presenters educate the public to be fully inclusive.
Chapter member Beth Hylen moderated and was one of the presenters in “Contemporary Glass: Seattle and Beyond.” The presenters discussed a short history of American studio glass, the Chihuly archives, studio and contemporary glass resources for researchers, the Pilchuck Glass School, and working as a glass artist. Having little prior knowledge of glass and glass making before attending the session, I was not aware of the large glass artist community in the Pacific Northwest and its impact on society. As a result, I have a deeper appreciation for the study and making of glass.
As chapter president, I attended the chapter chairs meeting. The meeting was an opportunity for chapter presidents, vice presidents, and chapter representatives to share recent successful stories from their chapter, learn from other chapters’ successes and challenges, and network with fellow chapter leaders. Listening to what chapters have done allowed other chapters to have additional ideas they may want to try for their chapter. Meeting chapter leaders in person allowed everyone to make contacts for possible future collaborations.
The convocation speaker was Sarah Bergmann, Seattle-based designer and director of the Pollinator Pathway, an ongoing multidisciplinary design project that incorporates urban planning, design, and ecology. The project helps green spaces be an environmentally friendly environment for pollinators such as honeybees. The project has gotten local and national media attention, and has been exhibited at Seattle Art Museum.
In addition to attending the above sessions, I also visited the exhibitors, poster session, Seattle Art Museum, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle Public Library, and the Henry Art Gallery. Additionally, our chapter held two informal meetings at the conference hotel lobby on the same day in the morning and evening. Meeting at different times of the day allowed members to attend when it was more convenient for them. It was also an opportunity to catch up with each other during a busy conference.
My thanks to the conference travel award committee (Beth Hylen, Rose Orcutt, and Marsha Taichman) for selecting me as the recipient of the conference travel award. I am grateful for everything our chapter has done to develop and enrich our members’ and my professional growth.