NCS Conference Series – ‘Passive Aggressive?’

The National Conservation Service (NCS) is very pleased to announce the third of four conferences called ‘Passive Aggressive? – Changing the Climate in Archival and Museum Storage’.  The first two events in July, one hosted at The National Archives (UK) and the second at National Library of Wales hosted by CyMAL, were very well attended and well received.  All four are being generously sponsored by Bruynzeel Storage Systems Ltd, in order to make the conferences free to delegates.

We are delighted that The National Galleries of Scotland and the Icon Scotland Group have offered to partner with us to provide the third of these conferences, to be held at the Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh on the 20th of September 2018 from 10:00 until 17:00.

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Parchment Conservation Workshop

Location: National Library of Scotland, 33 Salisbury Place, Edinburgh EH9 1SL

Date: 22-23 November 2018

Time: 09:00-17:00 each day

Tickets: Icon Members £150, Non-Icon Members £180

Booking through Eventbrite

This course will be delivered by Lara Artemis ACR and Mariluz Beltran de Guevara ACR, and will involve a mixture of taught and practical sessions.

Introduction to the history of materials and techniques in parchment conservation

This session will include an overview of the early history of parchment conservation and will give participants an opportunity to try out the range of techniques and the materials applied through the years up to the present day. The session will also encourage discourse on the various preservation issues that may have since been created through the use of some of the materials and techniques. This will then take the practical session towards current theory into practice, which will include the evolution of more appropriate materials and techniques, especially in view of our greater understanding of the preservation needs of parchment.

Parchment conservation and preservation in the 21st Century

This session will include an overview of some of the current practices in parchment conservation, with specific focus on practical analysis and remoistenable techniques and materials. You will also have the chance to undertake parchment mounting techniques.  Again, the session will encourage discussion on future thinking and the challenges that may be ahead of us as specialist conservators.

There are 15 places available and tickets cost £150 for Icon members and £180 for non-members.  Ticket price includes lunch and refreshments. Sales go live on 2 July and close on 20 November at 17:00 or whenever the event sells out.

Refund policy: Refunds will be given up to 30 days before the event

Questions about this event can be emailed to Isobel Griffin (i.griffin@nls.uk)

3-Day Practical Gilding Course

Location: Centre for Textile Conservation, The Robertson Building, Level 3, 56 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow G11 6AQ

Date: 3rd – 5th September 2018 (10:00 – 16:00 each day)

Tickets: Student – £150, Icon member – £250, Non-Icon member – £300

Booking through Eventbrite

This course aims to  familiarise  the  students  with materials,  methods  and  techniques  of  both  water  and  oil gilding.    The  course  will  give  participants  the  opportunity to  learn  a  variety  of  skills  relating  to  gilding  using traditional materials  and  techniques.    Participants will take away with them a gilded frame.

This practical course will cover some information about gilding conservation, making it particularly useful to newly qualified conservators; however it is also suited to anyone with an interest in gilding – beginner, refresher or someone with experience.

To quote the Tutor, Tim Ritson, “Gilding skills are very transferable and even as an experienced gilder I’m always interested in picking up new techniques.”

All tools and materials are included in the cost.  Lunch, tea and coffee will be provided.

 Tutor: Tim Ritson

Head of Frames Conservation at the Royal Museums Greenwich

Tim first discovered the skills and techniques of gilding and frame making while working at the Queensland Art Gallery, Australia. Since then, Tim has developed his passion, gaining specialist knowledge, skills and experience in the art of gilding, carving and frame making. After working in a private conservation studio in Venice, Tim moved to The Royal Collection Trust where he spent 5 years conserving frames throughout the Royal Palaces. Tim is passionate about teaching and sharing his knowledge to promote the continuance of traditional craft skill.

Gilding Course

Fosshape Workshop

Today’s blog was written by Gwen Thomas, Collections Care Officer for The City of Edinburgh Council. It describes a recent training event at the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre…

On Friday April 20th I was fortunate to be part of a group of 8 conservators attending the ICON Scotland Fosshape workshop at Glasgow Museums Resource Centre. The workshop was led by Glasgow Museums Textile Conservator Maggie Dobbie, who aimed to show us how flexible and versatile a material Fosshape can be in making temporary costume mounts.  She has used it with success in the past for making multiple costume mounts quickly and inexpensively, as well as being able to fashion it in a way that works for unusual objects that can’t be mounted on a standard form, such as bathing costumes.

 

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Paper Conservators in Scotland: News and Ideas Exchange 2018

When: 12.45pm for 1pm start, Thursday 10th May 2018
Where: Centre for Research Collections, 5th Floor, University of Edinburgh Library, 30 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LJ
Cost: Free! Refreshments included. Thanks to Icon Scotland Group for financial support.

This now annual event is an opportunity for us to get together to share news and information about our current work. We are looking for 5 minute presentations about a topic that you think your paper colleagues would be interested to hear about. We invite paper people in (and near) Scotland of all levels of experience to contribute, and are hoping to have a very supportive and non-judgemental afternoon. Read about previous news and idea exchanges here and here!

There will be tea, coffee and cake at the start, at the end, and the in the middle, giving plenty of opportunity to chat with colleagues.

Your topic might be about

  • An interesting treatment you are or have recently been involved with
  • A detail of a treatment that threw up challenges
  • A conservation problem you are faced that you would like colleagues’ ideas on
  • A new technique or piece of equipment that you have been using

Last year some of the many interesting topics included ethics, water quality, and crowd sourcing; treatment of papyrus, 3D models, and tracing paper; and working as a trainee, and in isolation.

Presentations will be strictly limited to 5 minutes. To help on the technical side we would like people to send digital submissions for their presentations in advance to Emily Hick who is hosting the event (email to emily.hick@ed.ac.uk ).

The space is limited to about 30 people. We are hoping that up to 20 presentations will be given.

Please send requests to present / attend to helencreasy@gmail.com

Don’t be shy! There are lots of us paper conservators in Scotland and we meet up all too rarely. We hope that this event, like the previous three years, will connect us better so we can support and help each other in the future.

Paper Conservators Event at the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

Paper Conservators Event at the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh in 2015

Events Questionnaire

This questionnaire is now closed. Many thanks to all who responded.

To help us plan for next year’s event schedule, we have put together a questionnaire to find out what kind of conservation training and events you want to see in Scotland.

Please fill out the following survey to help us get the courses and training you need in Scotland. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ZTNTBLM

It will take no more than 2 minutes and no personal details are taken.

Thank you for your time!

Emerging professionals event in January 2017 at Edinburgh Castle

Attending the Icon Conference 2016: Scotland Tour

This week’s blog comes from Holly Sanderson, Conservation Volunteer at the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh, and aspiring book and paper conservator. It describes her experience of going to Icon Scotland’s most recent event in Edinburgh…

I am writing this blog shortly after attending my first conservation conference (of many, I’m sure!). Due to popular demand, the Scotland Group and the Care of Collections group hosted a one-day event in which they returned to some of the key themes and presentations of last year’s Icon Conference in Birmingham. It proved to be a stimulating day full of interesting and informative talks that provoked many questions about how a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach can enhance and improve not only individual treatment strategies, but the field of conservation as a whole.

Question and answer panel session

Question and answer panel session

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The Plenderleith Lecture 2017: Conservation+ with Helen Shenton

Details of this year’s Plenderleith Memorial lecture have been announced! Please see below for more information. Before the event, we have also organised a tour of National Museums Conservation Collections Centre Granton, and as always, members are invited to attend the Icon Scotland Group’s AGM which precedes the lecture. 

  • Title: Conservation+ personal reflections on a journey from conservator to director.
  • Speaker: Helen Shenton
  • Date: Thursday 30 November 2017
  • Time: 6.15pm – 7.15pm
  • Location: National Galleries of Scotland, The Mound (entrance off Princes Street Gardens), Edinburgh, EH2 2EL
  • Cost: Student £6, Icon Member £12, Non-Icon Member £13

Booking through Eventbrite.

Helen Shenton

The Scottish Conservation sector’s keynote annual Plenderleith lecture for 2017 will explore changes in the heritage sector and the potential for conservation professionals to influence those changes, with reference to the career of Helen Shenton. Helen has travelled from the V&A to the British Library to Harvard to Trinity College Dublin, and journeyed from being a bench conservator to her current directorial role of Librarian and College Archivist at Trinity College Dublin. She will reflect on conservation, cultural heritage and management from her perspective of having worked in different roles across different sectors in the UK, Australia, America and Ireland, and will develop some ideas about ‘going broad and deep’ to other disciplines, professions, media and technologies beyond conservation.

The lecture will last from 6.15 – 7.15pm and will be preceded by the Icon Scotland Group’s AGM (to which all members are invited) from 5.30 – 6.00pm, and followed by a drinks reception.

A CPD visit to the National Museums Conservation Collections Centre in Granton will run in the afternoon from 2.30 – 4.30pm, and is bookable separately through Eventbrite

For a sneak preview of this year’s speaker, please see below the TEDx talk she gave in 2014 entitled ‘Collaboratories and bubbles of shush – how libraries are transforming’.

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. On the 5th of July 2009, Helen Shenton was one of only three people alive who had seen the entire Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest complete copy of the New Testament and one of the most important books in the world. The next day, a digital version of the book went online and within 24 hours 20 million people had seen it. Helen explains how the digital shift will transform libraries of the future.

Helen Shenton is Librarian and College Archivist at Trinity College Dublin. Before that, Helen was Executive Director of Harvard Library in the US where 73 individual libraries make up Harvard’s 378-year old library system. Helen understand the impact new technologies are having on libraries, and has been involved in projects such as the virtual re-unification of the earliest New Testament.

Icon Conference 2016: Scotland Tour

Due to popular demand, we are hosting a one-day event in which we return to some of the themes and presentations given in the Scotland Group, and Care of Collections Group sessions at last year’s Icon conference.

The day will consist of ten presentations from speakers from all over the UK on a wide range of subjects, and plenty of time for networking. Refreshments and lunch are also provided. Join us for what will surely be a popular event!

  • Date: Friday, 27 October 2017
  • Time: 9.00 – 16.30
  • Location: Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL
  • Costs: Icon Member £45, Student £30, Non-Icon Member £70

Book HERE now!

Timetable

9.00 – 9.30: Arrival, tea and coffee provided

9.30 – 9.40: Introductions and welcome

9.40 – 10.00: Emily Hick, Special Collections Conservator, Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh – Crowdsourcing Conservation

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) at the University of Edinburgh, is developing innovative ways to carry out conservation work and engage with the student population. This paper will outline a two-day crowdsourcing event, the first of its kind ever held at the CRC, in which 30 students aim to rehouse section II of the Laing manuscripts – the University’s most important written collection.

The presentation will describe the event, provide an evaluation of it, and discuss the challenges faced and ethical points considered. It will also give useful tips and advice for other institutions who are considering holding a similar event. It is hoped that this paper will spark discussion and information sharing about how to help non-conservators engage with conservation treatment in a meaningful way whilst still meeting the need for an ethical approach.

10.00 – 10.20: Claire Thomson, Book and Paper Conservator, National Library of Scotland – The Conservation of the ‘Chimney Map’

A rare antique map that was found stuffed up a chimney in Aberdeen to stop draughts has been saved following intricate conservation work at the National Library of Scotland. It has been revealed to be a late 17th century wall map of the world produced by the Dutch engraver Gerald Valck and there are only two other known copies in existence.

This talk will discuss the work to clean and restore the map, which proved to be one of the most complex yet undertaken by the Library’s conservation department.

10.20 – 10.40: Lizzie Miller, Object Conservator Birmingham Museums Trust – Keeping up with Contemporary Collecting – How conservators at Birmingham Museums Trust are adapting to working with complex modern artworks.

As is the current trend in many museums, Birmingham Museums Trust (BMT)’s five year collecting policy focusses on contemporary sculpture, including installation artworks containing moving elements and time-based media. Yet with no specialist conservator in this discipline, how can the department ensure the preservation of these complex new acquisitions?

A key example is the recently acquired modern art installation, ARTicle 14, Débrouille-toi, toi-même! By Romuald Hazoumè, comprising over 711 individual items, 300 of which are plastic, including mobile phones, trainers and toys. With no budget to employ specialist conservators the BMT conservation team have had to change and adapt to work with such complex pieces, with unstable modern materials, whilst honouring the Artist’s original intent. This paper will explore how conservation are learning to adapt to changing collections policies, by collaborating with external experts and taking on new training and research, to ensure the long-term preservation of these challenging works.

10.40 – 11.00: Questions and answers

11.00 – 11.30: Morning break, tea and coffee provided

11.30 – 11.50: Dr. Cordelia Rogerson, Head of Conservation, British Library – Increasing the Profile and Influence of Conservation – An Unexpected Benefit of Risk Assessments

Risk assessment prior to treatments, exhibitions or loans is vital to conservation, allowing potential problems to be identified and mitigated. After recent work on British Library ‘Treasures’, including Magna Carta, the Lindisfarne Gospels and Shakespeare’s mortgage deed, it became apparent that these assessments also served to significantly raise the profile and influence of the Conservation Department within the institution. By presenting risks in a clear, impartial and unambiguous manner, concerns held by conservators can be readily explained to other stakeholders, and this proved invaluable when promoting outcomes not in accordance with their initial aims or requirements. Furthermore, this approach allows complex arguments based on specialist knowledge and experience to be clearly conveyed to non-specialists, emphasising the importance of the conservator’s expertise. The risk assessment models developed as a result are now used widely across the Library, cementing the role of conservation as central to the functioning of the institution.

11.50 – 12.10: Sarah VanSnick, Senior Conservation Manager, National Archives – Taking on mould in a multidisciplinary team.

The National Archives, UK has recently reviewed how it treats and manages existing mould in the collection to mitigate against further outbreaks or reinfection. Mould is a complex issue for any cultural heritage institution to deal with and requires a multidisciplinary and evidence based approach. This paper will present how the conservation team critically evaluated practices within the sector, advice and guidance from external bodies and newly commissioned evidence. It will examine the skills required and challenges to be faced in starting discussions that lead to changes in policy and practice that are relevant to the rest of the sector.

12.10 – 12.30: Dr Isobel Griffin, Collections Care Manager, National Library of Scotland – Collections environment standards: useful or obstructive?

How can collections environment standards such as PAS 198 and PD 5454 practically help us in informing decisionmaking? This paper will discuss whether standards are too prescriptive, or too vague, and will use experiences from the National Library of Scotland to focus on two particular areas: the world of exhibition loans, where requirements still vary between organisations despite the 2014 IIC and ICOM-CC Declaration and the guidelines issued by various groups; and the preservation of film, which is informed by detailed research predicting the effect of the environment upon the lifetime of film collections. Finally, with ambitious targets for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions lying ahead, the paper will ask where we go from here. Is there room for further relaxation of target temperature and Relative Humidity values? And if the rate of change is just as important as the absolute values, how can we measure and control it?

12.30 – 12.50: Questions and answers

12.50 – 13.50: Lunch break. Lunch provided at the venue

13.50 – 14.10: Helen Murdina Hughes, Textile Conservator, Glasgow Life – ‘Unity is Strength’ – Rediscovering Glasgow’s Union and Community Banners at Maryhill Stores: a Cross-disciplinary Documentation and Engagement project.

Glasgow Museums provides a home for a wonderful but little-documented collection of banners, dating from early precursors of trade union groups to modern disputes and peace protests, charting the history of the City’s social conscience. Many of these banners have been kept at Maryhill Stores: a series of old industrial units with basic climatic controls, a skeleton staff and limited access. The arrival of a new ‘decant and inventory’ project team offered an opportunity to change this. The banners project became an invaluable opportunity for crossdisciplinary working, with Conservators, Documentation, Photographers and Students collaborating to create integrated inventories and condition assessments. The work also helped facilitate another concurrent project, ‘Banner Tales’, which took event-specific banners back into the communities that created them, inspiring collection engagement around Glasgow.

14.10 – 14.30: Lynsey Haworth, Regional Collections Manager, Historic Environment Scotland – Hanging out: strain monitoring of tapestries.

Tapestry conservation research has tended to focus on chemical degradation. But what impact does the physical structure of a tapestry have on its eventual decay? In early 2015 a collaborative research project was initiated between the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Textile Conservation and Historic Environment Scotland. The project is capturing high quality images of the newly completed Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn tapestry from Stirling Castle, using time lapse photography. The images are fed through a software program turning them into ‘strain maps’, highlighting areas where deformation has taken place. This will show how much strain the tapestry is under and how this changes over time, and highlight areas where damage is likely to occur.

This project is part of wider research into tapestry conservation techniques. Strain data and computer modelling are being used to investigate the effects of different treatment and display methods.

14.30 – 14.50: Sarah Foskett, Lecturer, MPhil Textile Conservation, University of Glasgow – Monitoring Costume on Display: a collaborative project between University of Glasgow and Glasgow Museums

Collaborative work between conservation students, established conservation professionals and museum institutions offers a valuable opportunity for all concerned, especially for students for whom it provides a platform to gain real world experience and contribute to the profession. Second year students at the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History joined forces with Glasgow Museums to undertake environmental monitoring of a major temporary exhibition held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, A Century of Style: Costume and Colour 1800-1899. The exhibition showcased some rarely seen examples of European costume, much of which was on open display. Students focused on dust monitoring, using low-cost and low-technology methods of collecting, analyzing and quantifying the levels of dust within the exhibition. This paper aims to outline, examine, and evaluate the efficacy and limitations of the methods used and will discuss the student conservator’s role and responsibility within this project.

14.50 – 15.10: Ioannis Vasallos, Photographic Collections Conservator, National Library of Scotland – The Preservation of Black and White Polaroid prints: Research based on three albums from the Stanley Kubrick Archive.

The Stanley Kubrick Archive has a unique set of albums with Polaroid prints made during the filming of ‘’The Shining’’; these objects are an important source for the study of the work of the acclaimed director. Research was carried out in 2012 in order to determine the cause of fading in a large number of prints from these albums. Over the course of the research, both the materials of the photographs and the albums were examined. The study and the identification of the Polaroid prints yielded interesting results that helped the decision-making process for subsequent treatments on the objects, in order to ensure their preservation and accessibility. Furthermore, issues are raised on the complexity of the nature and preservation of Polaroid prints and the need for further research on the topic. Finally, the importance of keeping the integrity of the albums is discussed.

15.10 – 15.30: Questions and answers

15.30 – 15.40: Final remarks and close

15.40 – 16.30: Refreshments and networking

16.30: Close

 

ISG Committee Away Day

Hazel Neill, the newest member of the Icon Scotland Group Committee, describes the group’s recent away day to Kelvin Hall in this week’s blog post….

A Glasgow institution, Kelvin Hall has been the setting for every conceivable cultural and sporting event since it first opened in 1927. It is entirely fitting therefore [its former purpose having been usurped by new facilities across the city] that it should be re-developed as a repository for collections from the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow, Glasgow Museums and the National Library of Scotland, as well as retaining its services as a sporting centre.

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