Statement of Goals

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:

  • Amplify non-white and underrepresented voices and histories within the PA community.
  • Support and highlight members’ professional endeavors that use preservation as a tool for social justice and to empower historically marginalized communities.
  • Provide resources to members to help them remain informed about the role of historic preservation in promoting social justice and equity.
  • Facilitate connections between current students and alumni to strengthen historic preservation’s role in overcoming implicit bias and to support students’ contributions towards shaping a more just and equitable profession.
  • Support and encourage the HP program’s goals in achieving equity and diversity, through actions such as support for the program’s recruitment outreach efforts and assistance with providing opportunities to students from diverse backgrounds.

Pushing Perspectives

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.

Upcoming Events

No events planned at this time. Please contact us if there is a theme you would like to see addressed in these forums!

Previous Events

Can We Make Preservation Relevant in Advancing Social Justice?

Exploring Equity in Preservation Trade Careers

Confronting Biases in Historic Building Materials Research

Closing the Gap: Increasing Diversity in Library Collections

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

Have comments, questions, or an idea for another panel? Please contact and we will be in touch soon.

Other Activities

The Initiative is currently pursuing several projects to further our mission. These include:

NEW in 2024! We created a compilation of profiles of alumni, to highlight the wide variety of career paths – and salary ranges –  that can include preservation, with a particular focus on jobs that support underserved communities. The Career Paths compilation is directed largely at our members who are emerging professionals; however it will be a useful tool for students as well as professionals at any stage of their careers. The current compilation was made available to all PA members. The compilation may be expanded at a future date, and is available here (requires login).

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, and using the results of a survey that was answered by 55 of our members (thank you!) 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 will alert the Library to under-resourced research topics and provide them with ideas for where to acquire a more diverse range of resources. A report on the findings of the survey is available here.

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.

Interested in Supporting These Efforts?

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.

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