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VRA Foundation Announces 2013 Professional Development Grant Winners

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Board of Directors of the Visual Resources Association Foundation is pleased to present its 2013 VRAF Professional Development Grants to Vicky Brown of the University of Oxford, and Sara Piasecki of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.  The amount of each award is $850.00.

Vicky Brown, recipient of the grant for Established Career Professional, is Curator of the Visual Resources Centre in the History of Art Department, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.  She will use the award to support her participation at the Visual Resources Association Annual Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  She plans to attend workshops, sessions, and other meetings so that she can bring back to her institution current information about space planning, budget challenges, embedded metadata, social media, new visual technologies, and the digital humanities.  As Chair of the VRA’s International Task Force, and in conjunction with the VRA’s Intellectual Property Rights Committee, Vicky has submitted a conference proposal focused on international copyright, with an emphasis on the review and modernization of copyright law in the UK.  As Co-Chair of the Travel Awards Committee, Vicky has encouraged many colleagues to attend the annual conference although, as Co-Chair of the committee, she is ineligible to apply for a VRA Travel Award.  As she stated in her proposal, “There is no real equivalent organization to the Visual Resources Association outside of North America. . . The learning benefits of attending are therefore unparalleled.”  This is the first time a VRAF Grant has been awarded to an international recipient.

Sara Piasecki, recipient of the grant in the Emerging Professional category, serves as Photo Archivist in the Bob and Evangeline Atwood Alaska Resource Center, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, in Alaska.  Ms. Piasecki will use the award to support her participation in Gawain Weaver’s course, Care and Identification of Photographs in Los Angeles, to learn more about the history, identification, and preservation of photographic materials.  The Anchorage Museum houses a growing collection of images, now over 500,000, in various film and print formats dating from circa 1860 to the present.  Sara anticipates that the course will help advance her work at the museum, which has the state’s second-largest collection of historic photographs, many of them rare, and attracts more than 180,000 visitors annually.  The extended impact of this training opportunity will also be great in a state with few conservators or specialized training opportunities, but with a very rich history and culture to be documented.  Sara expects that after the course she “will be better equipped to assist the state’s smaller museums and historical societies with their [image] needs,” and that she can “offer workshops for local heritage preservation custodians who are unable to travel out of state.”

The purpose of the VRAF Professional Development Grant is to support professional development in the field of visual resources and image management.  In recognition of the differing professional development needs for an emerging professional and an established career professional, two awards are funded annually. 

The mission of the VRA Foundation is to advance knowledge in the field of visual resources and image management and to provide educational and training opportunities in support of broad access to cultural information in the digital age. The Foundation advances awareness of important issues for digital information management; encourages the application of professional standards, innovative technology, and metadata cataloging protocols; facilitates workplace training; and promotes awareness of intellectual property rights and copyright issues. The VRA Foundation supports a range of educational offerings to help ensure that such information reaches a diverse and global audience.

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