In keeping with PA’s mission to advance preservation as a diverse field of public and professional endeavors, and in acknowledgement of inherent biases, systemic racism, and white-centeredness within preservation practice, the Anti-racism / Equity Initiative was created by the Board of Preservation Alumni (PA) to promote and support social justice and equity within the PA community, at Columbia’s Historic Preservation (HP) program, and in the field of historic preservation.
The Initiative seeks to:
In an effort to address equity and diversity in our community and profession, in 2020, the Initiative launched a new lecture series: “Pushing Perspectives.” This virtual series seeks to provide thoughtful conversations on the state of the preservation profession and explore methods that can be incorporated into our practice to address inclusivity and equity.
Please join us for our next event in early 2024 when a diverse panel of alumni will discuss how and why their career paths have evolved, with particular focus on expectations versus realities of issues such as work responsibilities and salary. Further details coming soon!
This event was not recorded. You can read the transcript of the event here.
You can also view many of our events on the Pushing Perspectives YouTube channel
The Initiative is currently pursuing several projects to further our mission. These include:
Supporting Avery Library’s efforts to diversify their collection. Previous Pushing Perspectives events and follow up conversations with interested PA members laid the groundwork for our current direct conversations with staff at Avery Library. With them, we are developing a list of actions that the Initiative can take to support the Library’s efforts. As preservation professionals working on related issues every day, we can alert the Library to under-resourced research topics and provide them with ideas for where to acquire a more diverse range of resources.
Using the Plazcek Fund to diversify the Avery Library collection. Each year, Preservation Alumni donates funds for Avery Library to acquire new materials for the collection; PA chooses how the funds will be used. We have communicated to Avery our desire to focus on the purchase of materials that increase the diversity of the collection. Recent acquisitions reflect this goal. We ensure that all new acquisitions are digitized so that they are widely accessible.
Advocating for a fair wage for all internships. Internships that do not offer a living wage are inherently biased towards people of means and are a barrier to many people from institutionally underserved communities. We are encouraging preservation programs in the United States to sign a pledge that they will only advertise and promote internships that offer a living wage. We will make the list of signatories publicly accessible.
Educating Columbia students about career paths that further equity and inclusion within preservation practice. We are in the planning stages of creating an Alumni Speaker Series that will put small groups of students in conversation with alumni who have used preservation as a tool to work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion in their careers. We received a terrific response from our first call to PA members to participate in this series and expect to engage more members in the future.
We welcome new ideas for avenues to pursue as well as participation in our activities from all Preservation Alumni members. Please reach out to us using the Contact Us button at the bottom of the page if you would like to be more involved.