Professional Conservators in Practice,
Preventative Conservation Course,
10-13 November 2014
Course tutors: Linda Bullock and Helen Lloyd
As a freelance ceramics and glass conservator, operating from my own conservation studio in Devon, my practice mainly deals with interactive conservation treatments and I wanted to expand my knowledge of preventative conservation methods in order to be able to offer a wider service to my clients and have a better understanding of procedures that are employed by museums and heritage institutions which have been tried and tested.
I really enjoyed the course and meeting colleagues from a wide range of different backgrounds. The challenges faced by others in their various institutions made me more aware of issues such as storage , coping with large visitor numbers and working in front of the public.
As well as benefitting from the wealth of experience from our two tutors , Linda Bullock and Helen Lloyd , we also had expert advice and lectures from consultants such as Bob Child, Dr Jane Nicklin, Frances Halahan and Helen Moody.
The course is an intense three days which comprehensively covers all aspects of the agents of deterioration and strategies to prevent further damage or decay. We were introduced to various instruments to monitor temperature, humidity, light and shown ways to change these conditions when necessary.
The balance between displaying objects in the best environment for their preservation against the optimum temperature and lighting conditions for human comfort was a factor that I had not fully appreciated before the course.
The skills I have learnt in risk assessment, environmental monitoring, protecting objects during construction work, employing correct handling and storage techniques and calculating costs are skills that will be useful not only in my professional life as a conservator, but also in general while planning any event or exhibition. I now feel more confident in offering advice to my clients about displaying and cleaning their collections.
West Dean College is a lovely setting and I can recommend the facilities and excellent canteen. The only downside was the fire alarm which went off at 4.15 am one morning. Thankfully it turned out to be a false alarm and it did raise some learning issues about handling a potential disaster.
I would like to thank Icon and Tru Vue for the funding. Receiving a grant towards the cost of the course was a huge benefit, as I have already funded one course and a conference myself this year, at a considerable cost to my small business. I would recommend applying for a training grant to my colleagues in a similar position, as the CPD benefits are worthwhile.