The Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property would like to make a public statement in support of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement that began in the United States and has since spread globally. The CAC condemns all forms of racial injustice, including police brutality and the systemic racism that permeates our society. 

Over the past several weeks, the CAC Board members have taken time to listen and to educate ourselves, and we make a commitment to continue our education. We are aware that there is significant under-representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour throughout the conservation field, and we make a commitment herein to do our best to support, and to actively encourage, wider inclusion in any way we are able. 

Furthermore, we acknowledge that conservation, like other allied fields such as museology and archaeology, is a profession founded on a legacy of colonialism. Indeed, specific concerns relating to conservation are often used to justify the continued division of peoples and their cultural heritage, by the denial of access to heritage material and by refusing repatriation requests. This is unacceptable. The CAC Code of Ethics requires that we, as conservators, be governed by informed respect for the integrity of all cultural materials, while also recognizing our limitations. There must follow the recognition that people from different cultures and backgrounds should be taking part in the preservation of their material heritage. Barriers to the conservation profession (including financial, educational, institutional, etc.) create clear deterrents to diversification and to decolonization. CAC must no longer accept this status quo at the expense of Canadians of Colour and promises to engage in activities to increase the diversity and equity of our field. 

CAC is committed to the following actions with the goal of driving positive change in our community: 

  • The financial support of the Reconciliation Working Group and the enactment of its findings and recommendations with the goal of including Indigenous peoples and perspectives in conservation. 
  • The development of financial aid initiatives aimed at supporting conservation students from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • A commitment to support institutions in the creation of paid internships through advocacy initiatives.
  • The development of an awareness campaign of conservation as a profession aimed at student groups from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • The sharing of resources relating to anti-racism and cultural heritage through our website and various social media platforms. 
  • An open invitation to all Canadian conservation professionals to share their experiences of racial injustice anonymously so that CAC might continue to learn and develop initiatives to counter systemic racism within the conservation field.

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Image: Alexander Gabov, 2014

Image: Alexander Gabov, 2014

Promoting the preservation and conservation of Canada’s cultural heritage

The CAC promotes responsible preservation of cultural property that gives Canadians a sense of place, of history and artistic expression.

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Image: Canadian Museum of History, 2017

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CAC publications include Journal of the Canadian Association for Conservation (JCAC) and Conference Preprints. You will also find guidelines for publishing with CAC.

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Image: Canadian Museum of History, 2017

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Image: Jennifer Robertson, Book and Paper Conservation Services, 2017

Image: Jennifer Robertson, Book and Paper Conservation Services, 2017

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