Promote the status of visual resources curators
Highlight the importance of image collections within education
Mutual support and the exchange of information and ideas
Establish standards for the proper management of visual resources collections in art and design education
Investigate current training available to visual resources curators and encourage greater provision
ACADI began life in the spring of 1993 when Ann Adams hosted the first meeting at Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education (now University of Gloucester, Pittville campus). It had been Ann’s idea that it would be useful for art & design slide librarians in the South West and Wales to meet up regularly and discuss matters of mutual interest and share ideas with the aim of supporting and advising one another.
A major impetus bringing us together was to discuss ways we could be taken seriously as professionals by the managers and paymasters of our respective institutions. Slide libraries had progressed from being a couple of filing cabinets in the corner of the art historians’ office to large managed collections that were being used by staff and students across courses. Our collections had developed but slide librarians were still being paid on the lowest rung of the pay scale as unqualified clerical or technical staff. Opportunities for staff development and career progression were limited. ACADI helped us define ourselves, our collections and our roles as professionals within Art and Design Higher Education.
So I think five of us met that first time, from Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Newport. I say I think because there are no minutes available – we wanted to keep our meetings informal. However, by the time we gathered for a second time in Bath in June we’d realised that unless someone wrote something down, we’d never remember it, but we have never, I think, lost that original informality.
Since then, ACADI has steadily expanded so that we now have members of universities from Teeside to Falmouth, and over 90 subscribers to our mailing list, which is a valuable source of information and generates many lively discussions on matters relating to our field. Recently, we compiled an online petition encouraging DACS to accelerate their progress towards a digital licence, a matter of great topicality to image collection curators.
Interestingly, our main discussion point at that second meeting in 1993 was copyright, and how slide borrowing was dramatically declining, academic staff were amassing their own private image collections, and DACS were hoping to launch a scheme by the autumn…