Studio life

Linking past and future

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Maria Jordan, Studio Manager, has written about her time in Copenhagen attending an ICOM-CC conference:

I have just come back from an inspiring, thought-provoking and fun week in Copenhagen where I attended ICOM-CC 18th Triennial and 50th Anniversary conference.  I met so many conservators from across the globe; in fact 58 countries were represented by 1000 delegates.  The organisation of the event by the committee and the 21 working group coordinators was superb so that I could make the most of the 150 papers, 100 posters as well as hear the keynote lectures.

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ICOM-CC 18th Triennial in Copenhagen

What did I learn?

First of all, that over the last 50 years, the Conservation Committee has grown from 100 members to 2800 and is the largest and most active of the ICOM’s  committees as the President of ICOM mentioned in her speech

Secondly, as a textile conservator, I wanted to hear the papers in my working group which covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from investigations in the impact of dyes on the long term preservation of silk and wool to hand weaving silk in Japan and the use of gels in removing aged adhesive from a 16th carpet.  Each paper offered new information which will help in our work and allowed me to meet those who had undertaken the work and discuss their papers further.
I and my ex-colleague from Historic Royal Palaces contributed a paper on removing aged adhesive from silk damask, wool and a sized linen buckram and equally we were available to discuss our work, stimulating more ideas and options.

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Maria Jordan presenting her paper

I learnt more about preventive, science, natural history and ethics through topics ranging from the use of micro-fading testing on light sensitive objects to the re-display of a historic blue whale skeleton in the Hintze Hall at the Natural History Museum in London.

From all these papers I learnt a great deal. For example that science can help us understand a lot but is rarely able to be definitive, that we will be able to use sustainable materials in conservation in the coming years to replace petroleum-based polymeric materials and that 1.3 kg of dust can accumulate over 10 years in London (and it takes four conservators a week to remove it all!).

I have a spring in my step: I met many new and fascinating colleagues from across the world, saw old friends and renewed acquaintances from previous projects or institutions.  We ate, drank and partied in the evenings, visited many of Copenhagen’s wonderful museums but got soaked in the autumn rain as we walked across this beautiful city!  We were warmly welcomed and look after by our Danish hosts and I have come back to the Studio enriched and enthused to use and share the knowledge I gained in the last week.

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Reception in Radhus

None of this would have been possible without bursaries from the Clothworkers’ Foundation and Anna Plowden Trust and ICOM UK and I am extremely grateful for their support.

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