To celebrate the new phase of APOYOnline, represented by the logo change, this month’s #HangoutWithAPOYOnline is with our volunteer Executive Director, Beatriz Haspo!
1) I believe that a professional so consolidated and so well known in the field of preservation as you does not need introduction, but, please, comment briefly about you and your trajectory from your own perspective and experience:
My trajectory is very diverse, starting with training in classical music, then going through training as a translator and simultaneous interpreter in German-Portuguese-Spanish, and later as a conservator-restorator. In the latter, I first received training in bookbinding and restoration of easel painting, moving later to works on paper, and culminating as a collections manager at one of the largest cultural institutions in the world, which is the Library of Congress in the United States, where I have been working for over 22 years.
2) How would you define the current moment of the Latin American conservation field in a nutshell?
Preservation has evolved in recent decades, from being an area exclusively focused on the restoration of a piece, to a more comprehensive and inclusive field, prioritizing preventive conservation, risk management, digitization, among others, and also working collaboratively with other areas. All this has contributed so that preservation has become a field of knowledge, with a concrete impact on the identity of each country and region.
3) I will ask you the same question I asked Amparo, because I consider important the different views on the question : What was your objective when you joined Amparo and APOYOnline long ago? And how do you analyze the more than 30 years of institution? Do you feel that your journey with APOYOnline was and is what you wanted?
The objective of APOYOnline (formerly APOYO) was to create communication bridges between Portuguese and Spanish-speaking professionals so that they could connect and receive technical information in Portuguese and Spanish. It was primarily a dream, because there was nothing in this direction being done at the regional level. We work step by step, year by year, with newsletters, translations, training and connecting people. For that, we had the collaboration of hundreds of volunteers during all these years. We form an immense network that today has more than 6,000 members from 31 countries, and that continues to grow.
APOYOnline has increasingly consolidated itself as a network of connections, through which our members connect, receive training, discover new possibilities, and continue to evolve in their careers at a regional level. Our activities have transformed lives and contributed concretely to the preservation of our cultural heritage in the region. We are a true “incubator” of talent and wonderful stories of resilience, collaboration, and success. This is very gratifying and inspiring for us to continue our work. Our mission remains relevant.
4) This month is very special for APOYOnline, as we have launched our organization’s new logo. How do you evaluate the change of this visual identity for the future of APOYOnline?
The new logo is the result of the natural evolution of our history, reflecting our vision of connecting, empowering, and transforming people. This process happened very naturally, involving dozens of employees from 3 different generations, who are part of APOYOnline’s main team. It was an absolutely inspiring and rewarding process.
5) In your doctorate, you are currently developing research that relates the Latin American performance of APOYOnline, and consequently, your research deals with decoloniality. Do you understand APOYOnline’s actions over the last 30 years as an in situ decolonial practice?
APOYOnline’s actions are a practical example of inclusion, diversity and equity since our origins, when these terms were not even in vogue. Our structure is completely horizontal and participatory, in which every voice is important and appreciated. And all our activities have always been carried out as a result of the participation of our community, with people and for them.This way, APOYOnline is really at the service of the community involved in the preservation of cultural heritage.
6) In your article “Networks of Sharing, Education and Heritage Preservation: 30 years building bridges and opening paths of integration in the Americas”, published in Cadernos de Sociomuseologia 2020, volume 60, you point out the importance of sharing networks and how APOYOnline has been doing an excellent job in this regard. In addition, heritage and museum education, also commented on in your article, is also a key point of action for APOYOnline. What are APOYOnline’s future plans to promote a heritage education that would be even more inclusive, equitable and caring for the economically and socially vulnerable Latin American and US population?
APOYOnline has sought to listen to the needs of professionals in the region. As a result, we are carrying out training in a master class format in requested areas, including topics not necessarily only on preservation, such as leadership. Our training has evolved to provide more accessibility through the use of artificial intelligence technologies. At the same time, we are expanding technical translations to bring essential health and safety information to the preservation community, such as translating the results of the REALM project, which studied the survival of the Corona . This virus in library, archive and museum materials. Our social media has expanded greatly in recent years, with initiatives such as this “hangout” that share diverse and inspiring stories.
7) What message would you like to leave for young people working in the field of preservation?
I personally believe that everyone can preserve heritage. Each person is an agent of preservation. And it doesn’t matter if the action is big or small, every action matters. This way, I believe that the culture of preservation, which is embedded in each of us, along with our attitude, are the main ingredients to protect and give access to the riches of our cultural heritage. I hope that emerging professionals and those who have not yet defined their careers, as well as everyone who is reading this interview, will join APOYOnline to participate with their ideas and also enjoy our network of connections. We wait for you; we count on you!