Joelle D. J. Wickens is a 54-year old, cisgendered female, from a long line of northern european people, who identifies as a daughter, sibling, wife, parent, educator, mentor, student, facilitator, organizer, preventive conservator…. Others identify her as disabled. She prefers phrases like, uses a wheelchair to navigate when outside of her home. Joelle currently lives on land that was violently stolen from the Lenni-Lenape centuries ago, and relies on systems and structures developed on the backs of enslaved people. She is only beginning to truly understand the harmful and unjust legacy of those actions. She knows that self-reflection, self-education, empathy, communication, vulnerability, courage, and action are required to build an equitable world and she is committed to continually taking these steps. Professionally, she is currently an Assistant Professor of preventive conservation in the Department of Art Conservation at the University of Delaware, and the Associate Director of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.
Natalya Swanson is a 31-year old white, cisgendered, queer woman (she/they) who resides in the Bay Area of California. She self-identifies as a heritage conservator, community organizer, and educator. She acknowledges that colonizing systems, from land theft to linguistic classifications, are embedded in all Western frameworks and is learning how to subvert these systems in her every decision. Natalya believes that dialogue and discussion are the most basic and important tools of collective resistance, that we all have agency to undermine capitalist and corporatist rule by leveraging our positions as consumers, and that we have a shared moral responsibility to practice intersectional environmentalism. Natalya currently works as the Assistant Conservator of Objects at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (her salary is $75,500). Previously, she has worked in universities, museums, artist-endowed foundations, and private businesses across the east coast and midwest of the United States and in Amsterdam, NL. She has lectured on ethical relativism, value-based decision making, sustainability as a moral construct, and care of plastics; she co-hosted two seasons of the podcast Conservators Combating Climate Change, where she discusses what it means to do inclusive, compassionate, and empathetic sustainability work, and will soon launch a new podcast, The Ethics of Caring, which explores heritage work through the lens of social justice values and feminist philosophy.