Attending this year’s ARLIS/NA annual conference in Fort Worth, Texas, surpassed my already high expectations and it was an absolute privilege to be a part of the event. As one of the lucky recipients of the generous Celine Palatsky Travel Awards, I benefited both financially as well as socially since suddenly I was on the radar of many friendly and accomplished art librarians. This was most appreciated since ARLIS/NA 2015 happened to be my first conference, which as an expat New Zealander and recent MLIS graduate meant a sea of new faces.
The well attended conference created a fun, nurturing, and informative environment, hence from the moment I received my official tote bag filled with goodies, on to the reunions with classmates and colleagues, welcoming and closing receptions with delicious Tex-mex food and refreshments, exhibits, and last but not least the fascinating sessions and open meetings, I knew I could never miss another ARLIS/NA conference again.
Immediately impressive was the sheer variety of topics covered at the conference, with my session highlights including: “What can I do with this image?” an encouraging discussion of developments in image rights and the ways in which institutions can leverage fees with user needs; “Future of art bibliography: sustaining collaboration in an evolving landscape,” which raised interesting questions about the changing culture of research and the necessary levels of aggregation and uniqueness; “How the web was won: collaborative approaches to web archiving,” an instructive look into born-digital ephemera; “Telling stories: regional artists and their art,” an intimate look into the practicalities of documenting living artists; and finally the “Known unknowns and unknown knowns: privacy, secrets, and the limitations of archives,” which included a subject interest of mine by Heather Ahtone “Cultural protocol vs. academic privilege: researching indigenous cultures.” These fascinating talks were presented by passionate individuals on topics related to specific case studies, yet their findings can be applied to the diverse contexts found amongst art libraries.
In addition to the inspiring presentations at the conference, ARLIS provided well-researched extracurricular activities in the charming historic city of Fort Worth, Texas. Looking around Philip Johnson’s Water Park, the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum, the fabulous art at the Modern, particularly the breathtaking works by Anslem Kiefer, and of course the Kimbell Art Museum, was a dream come true.
Thank you so much to the wonderful ARLIS/NY chapter team for selecting me to be one of the Celine Palatsky Travel Award recipients, it was gratefully received and such an honor. I am already counting down the days to ARLIS/NA 2016 in Seattle, Washington!
Millicent Fullmer, 2015 Recipient of the Celine Palatsky Travel Award
Image: (left to right) Big Texas Hat, Walter Schlect, and Millicent Fullmer.