About the Workshop

Does your organization have or seek to build a collection of time-based media works in need of a long-term preservation plan? Are you uncertain where or how to get started? 

VoCA’s Time-based Media (TBM) Stewardship Workshops, developed with the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, aim to provide arts professionals at all stages of their careers with a greater understanding of the methods and skills needed to collect, present, and preserve media art. Held in-person over the course of three days, the Workshops will combine lectures with interactive sessions, roundtable discussions, and small group exercises that address many of the challenges of TBM collection management and stewardship. Participants will leave the program armed with the knowledge and tools to design and implement an action plan for ensuring the current and future care of TBM works in their collections.

Caring for time-based media works is broadly acknowledged as a collaborative endeavor requiring both teamwork across internal departments and access to a wider network of resources. In order to foster this type of community-building, we encourage pairs or small groups of colleagues from the same organization to apply*, and emphasize that preference will be given to applicants that are local to each specific Workshop region. Priority will also be given to those with pressing or significant collection needs, a critical need for staff training, and demonstrable institutional desire to take action. *Please note: each applicant must still complete their own individual application.

Each Workshop is limited to 24 participants and will require everyone’s active participation, so it is important that participants be able to attend all three sessions of their chosen program. We welcome applications from all interested parties; you do not need any prior training or experience with conservation to apply. There is also no cost to register or attend; we are pleased to be able to offer the Workshops to selected participants free of charge. 

The inaugural Time-based Media Stewardship Workshops were held at the Denver Art Museum on September 13-15, 2023 and at the Seattle Art Museum on November 1-3, 2023. If you would like to be informed of future Workshop opportunities, please subscribe to our mailing list, or reach out to our Program Consultant Pablo Quiros Garcia at pablo@voca.network with further questions.

Time-based Media (TBM) artworks are characterized by having a durational element, such as sound, performance, light, or movement, which unfolds to the viewer over time via slide, film, video, software, or the internet. Preserving them presents particular challenges, given their conceptual nature and use of components that extend well beyond traditional categories of art materials.

– Dr. Hannelore Roemich and Christine Frohnert1



As stewards of contemporary art collections and artist’s estates, many of us are expected to present and preserve time-based media artwork without any targeted or technical training, and are left feeling uncertain about how to approach the task. VoCA’s Workshop curriculum not only provides a basic knowledge of caring for a wide range of TBM artwork, but also addresses topics including exhibition and display, digital and physical storage, working with artists, advocacy, and knowing your resources.


The Workshop module is tailored to each group of chosen applicants to accommodate their individual experiences and concerns. Using a carefully crafted yet flexible framework as our foundation, we aim to create a Workshop agenda that addresses the questions and topics that are of greatest interest and relevance to the chosen participants.


These Workshops provide an open, collaborative space where arts professionals can come together to find common ground, and dig deep into the questions of legacy, materiality, and meaning that drive our work. We at VoCA have learned a great deal from engaging in dialogue with our peers, and fostering relationships between arts practitioners across cultural backgrounds, disciplines, geographies, and institutional contexts. It is our goal to spark conversation in those communities that are eager to join in.


In every instance, we feel that the Workshop is just a beginning. It is our distinct goal that the relationships and conversations continue beyond the Workshop itself and empower participants to feel able to steward for the media collections under their care. We also endeavor to connect these local cohorts with the larger, international VoCA network.


With an existing network of artists and arts professionals 5000+ strong, and an excellent track record of running impeccable programs, VoCA is in a unique position to bring these Workshops to the communities and collections that need them the most. Through this initiative, we look forward to growing VoCA’s network and offering our services to new colleagues in cities across the US.

Exhibitions AV Technician Levi Smith speaks in front of Jennifer Steinkamp’s Rock Formation (2006) during the first Time-based Media Stewardship Workshop, held at the Denver Art Museum in September 2023. Photo by Meghan Shaw.


This project was initially conceived and developed by Jill Sterrett, Emeritus VoCA Board member and independent arts and cultural heritage advisor, and Jim Coddington, retired Chief Conservator of The Museum of Modern Art in close consultation with a group of time-based media experts including Francesca Casadio and Martina Haidvogl.

The members of the planning committee were chosen because of their deep involvement in the field and other current programs, namely the workshops in Time-based Media Art Conservation at NYU, the Media Conservation Initiative at MoMA, and the Time-Based Media Initiative at the Art Institute of Chicago, all funded by the Mellon Foundation. The VoCA curriculum was built to complement these other programs and fill a gap in TBM training for small to mid-sized institutions and collecting organizations.

2023 program partners




Planning Committee


Kate Lewis, Agnes Gund Chief Conservator, The Museum of Modern Art, and VoCA Board Member

Gloria Sutton, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History and New Media, Northeastern University, and VoCA Board Member

Colleagues from 2023 Partner Organizations

Sarah Melching, Director of Conservation, Denver Art Museum

Kate Moomaw, Senior Conservator for Modern and Contemporary Art, Denver Art Museum

Nick Dorman, Chief Conservator, Seattle Art Museum

Rachel Harris, Asian Art Conservation Center Associate, Seattle Art Museum

Liz Brown, Objects Conservator, Seattle Art Museum

Invited Experts

Chelsea Spengemann, Director, Stan VanDerBeek Archive

Howie Chen, Curator

VoCA Staff

Lauren Shadford, Executive Director

Margaret Graham, Program Director

Pablo Quiros Garcia, Program Consultant


Contact: For any questions or further information, reach out to our Program Consultant at pablo@voca.network.


VoCA’s Time-Based Media Stewardship Workshops were developed with the support of the Mellon Foundation, and are supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Mellon Foundation logo