June Baker Trust

The deadline for applications to the June Baker Grants for conservators in Scotland is next Wednesday. To find out more about this amazing resource, we asked Helen and Eric Robinson, two members of the June Baker Trust, to tell us more about the person in whose name the fund was set up…

It is now almost 30 years since the June Baker Trust was established to offer support to conservators and crafts people in Scotland. It was set up with the generous support of her son and a wide range of friends wanting to commemorate her life. Today it is overseen by nine Trustees who meet twice a year – some conservators, some not, and some who knew June.

During those years, the Trust has given grants totalling over £30,000 to 115 individuals of all ages and many nationalities, living, studying, working in Scotland. The grants range from £50-300 and have been used for a range of purposes, such as to purchase of equipment, books or tools attend conferences and courses, and travel to visit conservators or crafts people in the UK and abroad.

Michelle Hunter presenting a paper at the Icon Conference 2016: Turn and Face the Change: Conservation in the 21st Century.

Three years ago, the Trustees were inspired to create a new fund to support conservators in the very early stages of their careers. They managed to secure additional funding, and the Grants for Emerging Conservators were born.

Emily Hick, recipient of a June Baker Emerging Professionals grant, 2015.

It is perhaps useful to be reminded of June, who in her final months discussed and endorsed the idea of a Trust.

June was a quirky and stylish individual who lived in the “colonies” at Haymarket, Edinburgh in a small flat full of decorative items bought in junk shops and auctions, displayed with flair and often repaired and restored by herself. She was an inspiration to many friends setting up house. One might even talk of a “June Baker style” – mixing periods, shapes, styles – and a refusing to dust mantra on the basis that it would all only need doing a week later!

Her visual sophistication and craft skills were also reflected in the calligraphy she did for the Phonetics Department at the University; the costumes she made for the newly founded Scottish Opera; the wide range of friends from Edinburgh’s art and architectural community; the immense pleasure she got from visiting exhibitions and museums.

Quiet, tolerant, full of fun, never judgemental, she nevertheless had firm views on war and conflict and on animal rights. Reproach was seldom more than an inflection, but friends knew it meant firm opinion. The message was… ‘one does not need to shout to be heard!’

She would now be in her nineties and surely delighted at her Trust’s positive and practical contribution to the conservation of precious artefacts for the enjoyment of all and to the help given to professional formation. Her bohemian streak would take pleasure in the unusual nature of some projects such as the cost of attending a historic bonnet making course, or a request for a contribution towards a tour of paper making villages in China and in the lively feedback from recipients.

Elizabeth Hepher at the International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper, 2014.

Thank you June Baker… one looks forward to the next 30 years!

Applications are now invited for the 2017 round of June Baker Trust Grants for Conservators in Scotland awards

The application form can be downloaded from the ICON website: https://icon.org.uk/groups/scotland/june-baker-trust

Closing date for applications: 31st May.
Successful applicants will be notified in early July.

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