Professional Development Grant


The purpose of the VRAF Professional Development grant is to support professional development in the field of visual resources and image management. The grant can be used to attend a visual resources-related professional development opportunity of the grantee's choosing (such as an association conference, symposium or workshop), or to enroll in relevant research activities (such as hands-on field work). In recognition of the differing professional development needs for an emerging professional versus the established career professional, two awards will be funded. One grant will be awarded to a student or new professional with up to five years of experience in the field, and the other grant will be designated for a career professional with six or more years of experience. At the discretion of the VRAF Board and with approval of the applicant, an application may be moved to a different category that better fits the experience criteria.

The VRAF Professional Development Grant advances the VRAF mission to raise awareness of critical issues for effective digital information management (including intellectual property and copyright); to encourage the application of professional standards, innovative technology, and metadata cataloging protocols; and to facilitate workplace training. The VRA Foundation supports a range of educational offerings to help ensure that such information reaches a diverse, global audience.

Award Amount:

Each of the two 2015-2016 awards wil provide a grant of $850. The grant is for use between October 2, 2015 and October 1, 2016. 


Applicants should be in the field of visual resources and image management, and may include retirees, the currently unemployed, or students seeking educational and training opportunities in support of broad access to cultural information. Membership in the Visual Resources Association is not required. Statements of financial need will be strongly considered.

Acceptable Uses of Award Money:

  • Transportation costs to and from the event venue
  • Registration fees or tuition
  • Required course materials (e.g., work books, DVDs)
  • Lodging
  • Meals - including meals in transit to and from the educational event
  • Research expenses

Grant monies may not be used to cover indirect costs at institutions.

Application Deadline and Decision Announcement:

Applications for the 2015-2016 VRAF Professional Development Grants are due Friday, September 18, 2015.
A public announcement of the award recipients will be made by Friday, October 2, 2015. 

Guidelines and Application Form:

Word Document

Professional Development Award Recipients

Emerging Professional Grant

Lauren Paustian
Associate Librarian for Technical Services, Leo Baeck Institute
Lauren will use the grant to attend the 2016 ARLIS/NA-VRA Joint Conference

Established Professional Grant
Kanako Iwase
Visual Resources Librarian
University of Hawaii, Manoa
Kanako will use the grant to attend the 2016 ARLIS/NA-VRA Joint Conference

Emerging Professional Award:
Courtney Baron, Visual Resources Curator, Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA.
To attend and participate at the 2015 Visual Resources Association Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Established Career Professional Award:
Mark Pompelia, Visual + Material Resource Librarian, Fleet Library, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.
To support his participation at the October 2014 conference of the Art Libraries Society of Australia and New Zealand in Auckland, NZ.

Emerging Professional Award:
Sara Piasecki, Photo Archivist, Bob and Evangeline Atwood Alaska Resource Center, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Anchorage, Alaska
To attend Gawain Weaver’s course, Care and Identification of Photographs in Los Angeles, CA.

Established Career Professional Award:
Vicky Brown, Curator of the Visual Resources Centre in the History of Art Department, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
To attend the 2014 Visual Resources Association Annual Meeting in Milwaukee, WI.

Emerging Professional Award:
Heather Lowe, Visual Resources Specialist for the Department of Art, Cal State San Bernardino
To attend the 2013 Visual Resources Association Annual Meeting in Providence, RI.

Established Career Professional Award: Anne Young, Manager of Rights and Reproductions for the Indianapolis Museum of Art
To attend the American Law Institute-Continuing Legal Education’s (ALI-CLE) Legal Issues in Museum Administration Conference.

“The receipt of the Visual Resource Association Professional Development Grant in the fall of 2012 was central to my in-person attendance at the American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education (ALI CLE) 2013 Legal Issues in Museum Administration (LIMA) course. The Grant funded a portion of my course tuition and associated travel costs to attend the program. It is my belief that this Grant was also a contributing factor to my receiving a partial-scholarship, half of the course tuition, from ALI CLE that further supported my attendance. While I have taken part in several webinar segments of the LIMA course, the additional sessions and networking opportunities that are not available in the virtual webinars have been pivotal to my current professional projects. Notably, several individuals I was able to connect with in-person at LIMA are now collaborating with me on the upcoming publication Rights & Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions, for which I am both the editor and a contributing author. Without my attendance at ALI CLE’s LIMA and the VRAF’s Grant support, I would not have been able to make the vital connections to make the Handbook contributors and legal review panelists as robust as they are today. More information about the Handbook can be found here and the online Preview, which includes biographies of the contributors and legal review panelists, is available now here (the full publication will be released in Summer 2015).”  -Anne Young, February 2015

Emerging Professional Award:
Amy Bowman, Photographs Archivist, Briscoe Center for American History,
University of Texas at Austin.
To attend Gawain Weaver’s “Care and Identification of Photographs” workshop

Established Career Professional Award:
Karen Kessel, Visual Resources Specialist at Sonoma State University
To attend the 2012 VRA Conference and present a workshop on cataloging images of the Art of the Americas

Carrie Salazar, Art Institute of Boston
To attend the 2010 ACRL Conference

Natalie Milbrodt, Queen's College Library Studies Program
To attend the 2010 VRA Conference in Atlanta, GA

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