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Saturday, May 31 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
(Electronic Media Session) Establishing Time Based Media Conservation at the National Galleries of Scotland; Creating More in Times of Less

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The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) houses a collection dating from the Renaissance to the modern day over three main sites in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. Six conservators working across paper, paintings and frame conservation care for over 85,000 objects including 20 time based media works in the core collection. In 2012 the opportunity arose for one of the paper conservators to begin to establish time based media within the disciplines covered by the department. This paper will look at the approach taken and the aims, challenges and solutions proposed and addressed along the way.
With no history of this discipline at NGS, the initial challenges were for the conservator involved to gain the specialist knowledge required to enable rapid yet sustainable decision making and to create an effective conservation role where one previously did not exist as this area of the collection was being actively acquired and displayed by curatorial colleagues. In times of financial constraint, economically viable choices and solutions needed to be found within the boundaries of existing work programs to address not only the backlog of documentation and preservation decisions but to deal with new acquisitions and loans into the collection. Documentation formats needed to be developed alongside correct NGS procedures and these processes needed to be integrated into core working practices across all departments involved. An organic, rolling program of development was created and a multi-disciplinary working group established, chaired by the conservator, to bring together key staff with the aim of establishing the necessary lines of communication essential to the success of the project. The conservators’ role has often been to ensure that all parties involved are communicating effectively and making the best ethical decisions possible.
The Media Matters in Art project website was used as a key source of guidance and from this documentation templates and draft processes were evolved to meet the NGS specific context. Trials of the documentation and procedures are being undertaken using the loan and exhibition program and the related opportunities are being used as training for the conservator involved. Creative solutions have been found for the necessary professional development and next steps include creating a preservation management plan.
This paper will describe the process to date and present several models currently being considered for further development including use of a shared services scheme with the National Library of Scotland, access to further professional development through a shared collection with Tate, an Equipment Sharing Network currently being piloted at NGS and the use of a professional freelance register.

avatar for Kirsten Dunne

Kirsten Dunne

Paper Conservator, National Galleries of Scotland
Kirsten Dunne graduated from Edinburgh University in 1998 with a first class MA degree in History of Art. She then went on to study an MA in Conservation of Fine Art, specialising in works of art on paper at Northumbria University, graduating with a distinction in 2002. Her first... Read More →

Saturday May 31, 2014 3:00pm - 3:30pm PDT
Seacliff C-D