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Subject: Unpaid positions

Unpaid positions

From: Victoria Bunting <cbunting>
Date: Wednesday, December 2, 1998
Becky Cameron <cameronr [at] srv4__lib__ed__ac__uk> writes

>It strikes me as being rather cheeky to hope to take advantage of
>the fact that there probably are people in the field of preservation
>without paid work, who may feel that a voluntary project is better
>than nothing.  Or am I just over reacting--what does anyone else
>think?

Thank you for your response to the posting for volunteer work at
Oxford.  I heartily agree.  I have long felt that many people in
this field are grossly underpaid.  It bothers me even more that
there are people who are willing or able (because of outside funding
from family) to work on a volunteer basis in conservation positions.
Institutions that seek volunteer conservators show a lack of respect
for the individual's skills and knowledge. By continuing to promote
underpaid and non-paid conservation positions we are undermining the
profession as a whole, and creating a profession of elite,
independently-wealthy conservators.

In the same vein, I question the curricula of conservation training
programs in the current economic climate.  There are not many new
jobs being created in this field, and those that are in existence
could be filled by the currently qualified conservators for the next
20-30 years, or longer.

Museums and other institutions seem to be moving toward
out-sourcing, hiring all types of museum professionals on a
temporary basis, with no benefits.

Maybe the best thing conservation training programs can do at this
point is reduce their class sizes, and offer courses on grant
writing and marketing yourself.  (This does not apply as much to
Library/Archive conservation training, as there seem to be  numerous
jobs posted in this specialty.)

Victoria Bunting
Paper Conservator
Boston, MA

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                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:49
                Distributed: Wednesday, December 2, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-49-012
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Received on Wednesday, 2 December, 1998

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