The profession of conservator-restorer of cultural heritage is on the brink of an Abyss. An edict has been published in the Official Journal of 31 January 2016 that incorporates conservation-restoration of heritage into the craftsmen-activities thereby misrepresenting this profession.
Our profession does not create new art/craft, but works to systematically and scientifically preserve our common cultural heritage. This edict has been published without agreement from the profession and against all logic of our internationally accepted working practices.
40 years after the creation of higher education to meet the needs of this profession, which is both very demanding and required by the state, the title of conservator-restorer is still neither protected nor is it a permanent function in public cultural heritage institutions.
With a few exceptions, public procurement procedures generally ignores the specific benefits of restricting the care of cultural heritage to competent professional conservation. This undermines an important profession and within the current economic climate is increasingly causing many professionals to leave as government commissions are scarce and when work can be found income does not reflect the work commitment required.
Such issues have long been recognized; two comprehensive reports on the profession in 2003 and 2006 (Daniel Malingre and Christian Kert) cited these problems but have gone unheeded. Even the opinions and recommendations of the French and European professional organizations are ignored. Even in February 22, 2016 an internal memo by the Ministry of Culture the calls for "a necessary action plan for the survival" of the profession.
Without conservation-restoration professionals, there will be no more exhibitions, no more sharing, no more transmission of intellectual works, today or tomorrow. Heritage and its democratization are threatened.
We, the artists, curators, academics, professional in conservation-restoration, demand that the specific skills and recognized qualifications required for access to this profession are fully recognized, and the conditions of exercise adapted.
We demand clarification and immediate action to prevent a new law on the creation of architecture and heritage which makes no reference to the essential role of conservation-restoration professionals in the management of cultural heritage
Help to save our profession of excellence upon which the integrity and sustainability of our cultural heritage relies. We demand that ask that the status of conservation-restoration in protecting this irreplaceable resource be recognized.
Please sign our petition at http://www.petitions24.com/alert__french_conservators-restorers_are_in_danger