Dr. Qinglin Ma

19th ICOM-CC Triennial Conference, May 2021

Dr. Qinglin Ma

ICOM-CC Directory Board member

In May 2021, the 19th ICOM-CC Triennial Conference was held in Beijing by Chinese Museums Association (CMA). The hybrid conference presenting 158 videos and peer reviewed papers, as well as 99 posters, has been regarded as a successful practice to bridge east and west not only in terms of conservation study, but also cultural understanding, and social networking.

The conference is in various aspects, a record breaker, especially in the national academic area. Among all the admitted preprints, 18 papers, and 26 posters were created by Chinese scholars. In the separate meetings of the 21 working groups, 3 experts from China participated as moderators, apart from Chinese keynote speakers.

Shortly after the event, CMA produced an ICOM-CC special issue of its national-wide renown journal Chinese Museums. The publication presented a selection of 40 papers and 5 posters abstracts from the Conference preprints, and mostly importantly, all translated into Chinese. CMA, as the largest professional organization in Chinese museum community, has over 2000 institutional members and 15000 individual members. The preprints selection was distributed in such wide scale that reaches much further than merely bilingual scholars which are scarce in Chinese traditional museum and conservation sectors. It was no doubt the first time such a large Chinese community ever had the chance to learn about ICOM-CC, its missions, and efforts.

As a result, in 2022 when ICOM-CC started to promote the 20th Triennial Conference in Valencia, it has become a rather familiar idea for many Chinese conservators to participate in the conference. CMA then posted a Chinese version of Call for Paper on its official website and social network account. Approximately 75 Chinese professionals submitted their abstracts. In the end, 11 works have been accepted, covering diverse domains including the conservation of different materials, new science and technology, objects and architectures, etc. More than ever, Chinese professionals are also active in joining the ICOM-CC board members and working group coordinators application. Some of them used to make contribution to the last Triennial in Beijing in one way or another. Increasing number of new applicants who join ICOM are conservators selecting ICOM-CC as their first choice International Committee. Many of them were introduced or encouraged by their colleagues in the same institution who once participated in the Triennial Conference. Only before 2021, professionals who are frequent to international organizations, activities, or publications are more likely to be in communication or international exhibition related positions.

To encourage further global communication in conservation area, and even enlarge the potential group of participants, CMA initiated special supporting program. Those whose papers or posters have been selected by Valencia conference will gain the opportunity to a certain level of financial grant. Apart from that, a series of actions have been (or will be) taken to help local conservators obtain access to more information and resources of the event.

ICOM-CC Triennial Conference always serves as a new threshold for the host nation. The influence can be profound that runs so much further than a five-day assembly.