Last day, Final Thoughts & Thanks

VRA + ARLIS/NA 2011

Sunday morning I headed out to catch the Poster Sessions. There were a lot of interesting topics being explored here, and I when I realized I spent most of an hour and only visited two posters, I picked up my pace to make it all the way around. I had the opportunity to hear about current projects being carried out in the fields of art librarianship and visual resources curatorship.

Poster sessions at VRA + ARLIS/NA 2011

I’m very glad that I made it to the Collaborative Ventures, Collaborative Gains session. I enjoyed hearing from Stacy Brinkman, who described fruitful relationships between librarians and faculty at Miami University. In the model presented, faculty and librarians work very closely on student curricular projects, and emphasize research and writing as key processes for art students to develop their work. Brinkman discussed ways to make writing feel less overwhelming to studio art students. Approaching writing as a similar process to art making, students engage in  free writing (“sketches” as Brinkman called them) to develop their work. Another method used was “graffiti boarding” that allowed students to map written concepts visually and allow other students to also participate in the visual discussion.

Collaborative Ventures, Collaborative Gains

I then headed  to my last meeting of the conference, with ArLiSNAP (Art Library Students and New ARLIS Professionals) and our VRA counterpart. We welcomed ArLiSNAP Coordinator Suzanne Walsh, and bid farewell to Bryan Loar who has put in a lot of work and made tremendous progress for the group in the past two years. Several intriguing ideas were raised,  including the possibility of online tutorials, local or regional “skill shares”, and reverse mentoring.

Saying goodbyes

I left Minneapolis exhausted but invigorated and with a small notebook filled to the brim with new ideas. I’d learned a lot and was ready to go home and let it all soak in. There are concepts, technologies, projects, and programs that I am looking forward to researching and understanding further.

This year’s theme really resonated with me, as I’ve been exploring collaboration and the connections between libraries, archives, and museums in my coursework as a student at University of Maryland. Collaborating with others is such a great way to achieve something that is greater than the sum of its parts. This was my first join conference with VRA and it was really neat to see that so much programming that spoke directly to all of us, and offered opportunities to learn from one another.

I also left the conference feeling supported and encouraged by my colleagues in the field. Through the course of these 5 days I feel that I’ve strengthened or renewed connections with my local chapter members, as well as those I’ve met before at previous conferences or events. I met a host of wonderful people of a variety of backgrounds. Whether they realized it or not, many people I encountered during this conference imparted some form professional wisdom to me.

Goodbye, Minneapolis!

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the ARLIS/DC-MD-VA Chapter membership and the Caroline Backlund Award Committee for supporting this wonderful opportunity. It means a great deal to me and I’m honored to have been able to attend the VRA + ARLIS/NA 2011 conference with this support. I had a wonderful time and learned more than I can possibly express here. Thank you.

-Emily Hunter, 2011 Caroline Backlund Award recipient