Posted by Marvin Amstey on January 12, 1999 at 14:21:27:
In Reply to: Re: Conferences - Fees posted by Alberto Boralevi on January 11, 1999 at 12:45:08:
: : In slight mitigation of the ICOC I'd like to say that they have extended the $580 deadline to 3/1/99, and that the fee includes transportation from Milan to Florence, though this is far from accounting for the increase from the previous ICOC. Also, they have no reduced admission to exhibits and dealer row for accompanying spouse.
: : Regards, Yon
: Even if I regularly follow this interesting Salon, this is the first time that I send e comment. I have been allways reluctant of doing it, mainly because of my poor English, and also because I feel that it will take too much of my working time (my computer is in my office and not at home).
: This time I must participate and I am happy of doing it. As member of the Organising Committee of the 9th ICOC and Chairman of the Academic Committee, I want first to thank Jerry Siverman for having introduced this topic.
: At any ICOC conference I have participated there has been a lot of criticism on the organisation as well as on the quality of the papers delivered. The fact is that ICOC is really an international general meeting of carpet amateurs and professional. It is mainly a good chance to see the international carpet community and meet interesting people, more than learning something new. Moreover ICOC conferences are known for the presentation of important exhibitions and I hope that this will be tha same also for the Italian one this year.
: Personally I prefer smaller conferences. I have never been to any ACOR or TM conference, but I did participate the first Baku Symposium (1983), the two Istanbul conferences (1984 and 1994), the first Leningrad Conference (1988),the second Kilim Symposium in Basel (1997) and many minor events of this kind. My feeling for the future of ICOC, as an International Association, is that it should mantain the large International Conferences any three or four years, but also promote and sponsor the smaller and more useful local and regional meetings around the world.
: We are trying to rise the quality level of presentation at the next ICOC. It is a hard job to do, and the only way that the Academic Committee has found in this respect is to increase the number of Special Sessions. These are pre-organised sessions on a specific topic. In Milan we hope to be able to organise a session on Carpets of the 15th century in Italian paintings; a session on Felts and felt making in Central Asia and in the Caucasus; a session on kilims and their ethnographical background; a session on Eastern Turkestan carpets and so on. Each of these session will be pre-organised by a member of the committee who will be responsible of the quality and originality of the papers presented.
: On the other hand I think that we should not refuse other presentations on interesting topics, especially if they come from new people previously unknown to the carpet community.
: In four days of discussions there will be about 60 presentations in two parallel sessions, plus the posters. Delegates could see three or four exhibitions in Milan, plus the Tyssen Collection in Lugano. In the following three days they will visit two or three other exhibitions in Florence, and many other important pieces in Venice, wich cannot be seen normally, because they are not regularly exhibited. The Bardini carpets in Florence (an exhibition of which I am personally responsible) have never been exhibited before: these are thirty classical carpets and carpet fragments and they all need cleaning and conservation work.
: There will be also the traditional Dealers' Fair and many private dealers' shows, both in Milan and Florence.
: You must understand that this is not a Carpet Conference, but a real carpet festival, the Academic part of which is sometimes marginal.
: I want to add something also to the problem of the high fees. First I want to thank Yon Bard for having pointed out the fact that the deadline for the cheapest rate has been extended to the beginning of March.
: Then I must say that our prices are higher than in Philadelphia, mainly because the cost of Conference Facilities are much more expensive in Italy than elsewere. Italy is a place where everybody wants to go and there are hundreds of conferences all over the year, especially in turistic towns like Florence. We offer all the transfers (including Lugano and Florence) and several receptions for the exhibition openings. All this will cost.
: Another problem was the fact that our museums do not cohoperate with us for organising the exhibitions. They are all State or Town Museums and have no funds for exhibitions of carpets. We have so much of other kinds of important Art in Italy, that carpets and textiles are usually considered as mere furnishing items. We are looking for sponsors, and we have found some, but the costs of all this organisation is incredibly high. Sometimes we had also to pay museums for organising the special previews of the exhibitions we need for our delegates.
: As it is traditional for ICOC, all the speakers accepted at the Conference will not pay the registration fee, even if they are millionaires. They will have also free housing in Milan (only in tween rooms and in the cheapest hotels).
: In certain cases we should pay also travel expenses and give some money for living three days in Milan, mainly to the speakers coming from certain countries, like Russia, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Iran, and other Asiatic countries. They couldn't come unless we pay and I think that one of the best things in ICOC has allways been the possibility of hearing not only the western scholars, but also those coming from carpet producing countries.
: On the other hand I can assure you that members of the Organising and the Academic Committies have only costs and expenses. Nobody is payng us for travels, telephon calls and all the other costs we have. John Summer, who is the Chairman of ICOC has come four times from California to Italy, just for the Academic Committee meetings. Robert Pinner is allways paying for his travelling and hotels. The same is with me and all the others, with the diffrence that, as a dealer, I can allways find a good piece to buy or make a small deal to help me in my expenses.
: I do not know if ICOC meetings are today useful or not for the advancement of carpet studies, but I know that since few crazy carpet lovers decided in 1976 to organise the first conference in London, many things have changed in the carpet world. Our knowledge of carpets has been enormously widened, hundreds of previously unknown important antique carpets have been discovered and more carpet books and catalogues have been publishe in these 22 years than in 100 years before, since thge beginning of carpet studies.
: This does not means that we should not make changes and try to improve the standard of our conferences, but we should also recognize the value of what has been done in the past.
: I must apologize for my bad English first and for the lenght of this message. I hope to see all of you in Milan and Florence next September. Believe me, it will be grat.
: Alberto Boralevi
Your English is fine, and it is a pleasure having you participate in our discussions. I hope we hear more from you in the future.
I wish to comment on one point in your commentary: the titles of some of the events, 15th c. carpets in paintings and felt production, are examples of things already published in Hali and elsewhere. Unless something new is going to be said, it is rather boring to hear a topic about which one can read before the presentation. For example, in our medical and scientific meetings, we purposefully forbid presentation of previously published material. In other words, it all has to be new information. I hope that is the case with the topics and speakers which your committee is selecting.
I also hope I will be able to go to the conference mostly for the exhibitions and informal meetings that you discuss. Unfortunately, going to Italy for a week is not an inexpensive event. That same money can be used towards a wonderful carpet.
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