Call for Submissions

AIC's 46th Annual Meeting will take place in Houston, May 29–June 2, 2017, at the Marriott Marquis Houston. Registration will open soon, so be sure to check back to take advantage of early bird rates!

Annual Meeting Theme

Material Matters 2018

How does a better understanding and appreciation of the properties of materials change their treatment, interpretation, and preservation? Papers are solicited that demonstrate the impact of material studies – or studies of materials – on the conservation profession, including the emergence of innovative treatments, new ways of “looking” and “seeing,” shifts in decision-making and desired outcomes, and changes in collection care strategies. Also welcome are explorations of the impact of trending “materiality” studies on related disciplines including archaeology, museum and curatorial fields, and art history among others. Topics can include, but are not limited to: cutting-edge imaging and analysis techniques of materials, new materials having conservation applications, revelations about the meaning and significance of materials within an artist’s work, and improved methods of authentication.

As one part of the General Session, we are also offering four topic-focused sessions suggested by members who responded to the previous call for session proposals. Authors may submit abstracts for the General Session directly to these sessions or for the open general session call. Additional sessions will be formed based on the abstracts submitted.  Any abstract submitted for either the open General Session or for one of these topic-focused sessions will be considered for all General Session openings. You should only have one General Session in your three choices.

Imaging Techniques that Change Our Understanding of Materials

This session is focused on technical imaging’s contributions to materials studies. Suggested topics include multispectral imaging's evolution from revelation to examination; reflectance transformation imaging's impact on treatment discussions; hyperspectral imaging for material analysis; and photogrammetry as a method of creating digital surrogates.

Preventive Conservation for Problematic Materials

This session focuses on storage and preventive care solutions for objects containing materials which are problematic due to their nature, history, or treatment. Examples could include (but are not limited to) objects with: mercury mirrors, sulfur inlay, arsenic/pesticides, PEG, unstable glass, and radioactive materials. We are especially interested in practical case studies.

Materials in Natural History Collections – Care and Conservation

Natural history collections encompass almost every kind of material, from floral and faunal specimens, to field notebooks, taxidermy animals, and gems and minerals. For this session, we welcome papers focusing on the care and conservation of materials which fall outside typical fine art material norms.

Material Transfers and Translations

This session focuses on conservation decision making when artworks are transferred or translated from one medium to another. The goal is to investigate how conservation's aims are met when the original material is not preserved, or is severely distorted from its original form. Topics could include: the digitization or reformatting of electronic media; disbound or rebound volumes; paintings transferred from one substrate to another; mosaics lifted and transformed into moveable heritage; re-fabrications of artworks; replacement parts and facsimiles; and archaeological pseudomorphs or impressions.

                                                                       Pre-session Theme

                                       Whose Cultural Heritage? Whose Conservation Strategy? 

The 2018 Annual Meeting pre-session will take place May 29-30 and will feature the usual lineup of workshops and tours. In addition, we will be offering sessions centered around a pre-session theme -  Whose Cultural Heritage? Whose Conservation Strategy? Papers are solicited on the following topics To what degree should conservation treatments, collection management policies, and collection care programs be customized for diverse cultures and audiences? What are the barriers to promoting a more diverse workforce in cultural heritage conservation and how can they be overcome?  Papers are solicited that discuss these and other issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and access in cultural heritage preservation. Topics can include, but are not limited to, approaches to the appropriate treatment and contextual display of cultural artifacts, preservation in public and private spaces including monuments or sacred sites, the dismantling of Confederate monuments, participation of stakeholder communities, training for allied professionals and other supporters, and the challenge and impacts of achieving diversity and equity on our field, including related funding needs.

                                                                     Workshop proposals

Whether you have an expertise to share or want to bring experts together to explore a favorite topic, please consider proposing a workshop for the Annual Meeting. Workshops may take place over a couple of hours, a half or full day, or span over two days (on May 29th and/or May 30th).

Preference will be given to topics that have clear learning outcomes for conservation professionals, and that involve practical, discussions, demonstrations, and other interactions appropriate to achieve those outcomes.

Workshops at the Annual Meeting need to be self-supporting, meaning that registration fees must cover at least the direct costs of the event (speaker costs, handouts, audio-visual rentals, refreshment breaks, etc.). Most programs must work within the confines of a hotel or conference center meeting room with no access to sinks, fume exhaust units, etc.

Visit the online portal to submit a proposal, which should include a brief description, learning objectives, and instructors. Proposals are due August 15 - late submissions will be considered until the schedule is full. A phone conversation with FAIC staff will take place within a month of submitting a proposal to discuss further details of the workshop.

Three Separate Calls for Submissions

You can use the online portal to submit materials for 3 separate calls for Annual Meeting programming:

  • Main Conference - May 31 -June 2 . Types of Programing: General, Specialty, Joint Speciality, Interest Session, or Poster presentation
  • A Pre-session presentation - May 29-30
  • A Workshop - May 29-30 
  • What is the difference between the three calls for submissions?

    A topic submitted as an abstract for the main conference for either a general, specialty/network, or joint specialty session should conform to AIC's standard arrangement of no more than 2 speakers presenting in a 30 minute time slot. You can also submit for a panel presentation for 3-6 panelists in a 90 minute time slot. If you want your abstract to be considered for a poster presentation, you must select poster as one, if not all of your choices in the abstract form. A poster topic should lend itself to being easily understood without additional materials or interpretation when on display. You may submit multiple abstracts, however, please only submit one abstract for consideration on a topic.

    Workshops at the Annual Meeting are an opportunity to provide hands-on training and education for conservators and allied professionals. Workshops may focus on new techniques or skills useful to AIC members, or act as a refresher course on processes useful to the care of cultural materials. Workshops are almost always ticketed and have a cost for participants beyond the base meeting registration. Workshops will take place on the two pre-conference days of May 29-30.

    Pre-session abstracts should relate to the pre-session theme. Talks of 30 minutes or panels of 60 to 90 minutes are the standard format. However the program committee is open to considering other formats. Pre-sessions will take place on the two pre-conference days of May 29-30.

    The online portal will be open until 11:59 pm EDT on September 15th, 2017.

    The online submission portal is now open:

  • Submit an abstract for a General, Specialty, Joint Specialty, Interest Session, or Poster presentation
  • Submit a proposal for a Pre-session presentation
  • Submit a proposal for a Workshop
  • If you have questions about how to log in and submit your materials, please see our section below, "How to Submit Materials in the Online Portal."

    Be Part of the Main Conference Materials Matter 2018

    Session Types

    Abstracts will be considered for the following session types. You can submit your abstract for up to three choices of sessions with 1 being your first choice of session type. 

    General Sessions - General Session papers must specifically address the meeting theme.  Recent efforts to provide a variety of session formats will continue and authors accepted for general session presentations may receive requests to participate in lightning rounds or concurrent general sessions. You may submit for one of the four described sessions or to the generic General Session. Please note that any abstract submitted to any General Session topic will be reviewed for all General Sessions including the Opening General Session. If you are applying for the General Session you need to select it as your first choice. Please note selecting General Session as a first choice will not your chances of being selected by a specialty session should your abstract not be selected by the General Session Program Committee.  

    Specialty Sessions - Specialty Session papers are encouraged to address the meeting theme but may also explore other topics relevant to that specialty. Specialty sessions will include: Architecture, Book and Paper, Collection Care,Electronic Media, Objects, Photographic Materials, Paintings, Research and Technical Studies, Textiles, and Wooden Artifacts. For more information on topics in the Specialty Sessions, see the Specialty Session calls for papers below.

    Joint Sessions - Joint Sessions create opportunities to explore the intersection of specialty topics. While they may address the meeting theme, they will also contain discussion of both the specialty topics involved. Please stay tuned for information regarding Joint Sessions.

    Poster Session - Posters may address the meeting theme, but presenters can also address their current research interests. Posters are presented in the Exhibit Hall. If you are presenting an abstract for consideration for a talk, but also for a poster should the abstract not be selected as a talk. Please select poster as the third choice.

    Specialty Session Calls for Papers

    The following groups will be soliciting papers:

    Book and Paper
    Conservators in Private Practice
    Electronic Media
    Photographic Materials
    Research and Technical Studies
    Wooden Artifacts

    Continue to check this space for for more information!

    Joint Session Call for Papers

    The following joint sessions will take place at the meeting: 

    Research & Technical Studies/Wooden Artifacts Joint Session

    Check back here later, there will be more sessions and information forthcoming!

    How to Submit Materials in the Online Portal

    When you enter the online portal, you need to submit login information. If you have an email address in our system (i.e., if you are an AIC member or have logged into the AIC site before), you will be asked to enter your password (the same password you use to log in to the site). If you do not have an account in our system, you will be asked to set one up before you begin your application.  As you add content to your submission, use the “Save” function as you work. Only use the “Save and Finalize” option when you are completely finished with your abstract. Once you have finalized your work, you should receive an automated email confirming your submission. If you do not receive this email within 24 hours, review your abstract and make sure you are no longer seeing an option to edit your work. You can track your submitted abstract(s) under the “My Submissions” option in the left menu. 

    If you have any technical issues or if you have questions about the abstract selection process, please contact us at

    Selecting Sessions in the Online Portal:
  • You may submit an abstract for a combination of the three session types: General Sessions, Specialty/Joint Specialty Sessions, or Poster Session. If you feel that your presentation would only be applicable to certain sessions, you may submit your presentation to only those sessions. You may select the same session for all three choices if you are only interested in presenting in one session. If you are only submitting the abstract for consideration in two sessions, indicate one of the two sessions twice.
  • When listing your three session choices, please remember that if you are interested in a joint session, choose the option that lists both groups. For example: if you want your second choice to be the Book and Paper and Photographic Materials Joint Session, don’t select "Book and Paper Session" AND "Photographic Materials Session" but select the "Book and Paper and Photographic Materials" Joint Session.
  • To be considered for the Poster session, you must indicate "Poster" as either your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice. If you mark "Poster" for all three choices, you are indicating you would only like your abstract to be considered for the poster session.

    Abstracts are due by 11:59 EDT on September 15, 2017. Abstracts are not to exceed 500 words, not including title or biographical information. All abstracts should be submitted in English.