It’s all about the crate!

One of the key themes that ran throughout the 12th European Registrars Conference ERC) in Strasbourg (3rd to 5th November 2022) was that of Sustainability.

Overall points, that I took home, were that you need to incorporate sustainability into your planning, whether it be transporting domestically or internationally, so build it into your estimates and quotes or if it is storage build it into your plan. Better still, and like the Pompidou in Paris, have a Sustainable Development Policy or the Guggenheim in Bilbao have a Sustainability Framework built within your Strategic Plan.

I attended a few workshops and sessions that covered this topic, but a couple stood out for me.

Specifically, on Day 1, 4th November 2022 – The environmental role of the crate in the transportation of works of art Nicolas Berger, University Institute of Technology in Bordeaux & Stephane Pompidou, University of Bordeaux and on day 2, 5th November 2022 – How an estimate is built? Sylvie Michel, LPArt, Paris, Vanessa Vierkens, Kunsttrans Spedition GmbH, Austria, Patrick LaQuagila, Masterpiece International, USA & Ben Adams, Constantine, UK

It seemed to be all about the crate for me throughout the conference and I was fascinated by the “environmental role of the crate” talk. Although I was aware and had been thinking about the crate as an issue to be addressed, where sustainability was concerned, I had not considered the complexities and different elements that Stephan Pompidou explored. For example, analysing the construction of the crate, the materials used, its lifecycle, the environmental impact all this has and how we can mitigate this impact. Stephan’s diagrams were easy to follow (for a non-scientific mind like mine) which broke down each element and how we can limit the environmental impacts by:

  • Avoiding over quality (including materials, paint, over-packing etc)
  • Extending its life – reuse, repurpose, recondition
  • Recycling – shredded
  • Store for the future
  • For energy recovery

As I have already mentioned, the crate was a big feature at the Conference – with some fitting examples in the Exhibition area. All giving alternative, safer, more sustainable and flexible options, in transporting our objects, for us to consider in reducing our carbon footprint. Examples were on display and demonstrated by Turtle (with a 20-year life span!) and the newly developed Arca transport system by Hasenkamp.

The session on building estimates did divert slightly from the brief but covered the attendees’ queries which the panel addressed well. Issues raised included sustainability and how to make runs more efficient with the panel advocating the following:

  • Consolidated runs
  • Hire crates
  • Trackers in crates
  • Digital couriering

Notice the recurring theme – the Crate!

By Alison Mitchelson, Registrar, National Trust