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New students for the academic year 1993/ 94

Lynne Humphries

Sculpture Conservation (3 year MA Course)

Aged 28, British (English)

HND conservation and Restoration Studies, Lincolnshire College of Art & Design (1992); Postgrad. Diploma in Architectural Stonework Conservation, Weymouth College (1993)

On returning from living and travelling in Asia, where she had many opportunities to observe the necessity and practices of conservation of buildings and sculpture, Lynne studied conservation and restoration at Lincoln College of Art and Design. During her second year there, she had a work placement with Cliveden Statuary Workshop which confirmed her desire to specialise in the conservation of sculpture. Lynne went on to complete the course on the conservation of architectural stonework at Weymouth.

She has a particular interest in sculptural detail of stone materials and feels that the RCA/ V&A Course will allow her to make considerable progress in this area. Lynne looks forward also to being able to develop her skills in the conservation of polychromed stone.

Rachel Oliver

Ceramics & Glass Conservation (3 year MA Course)

Aged 24, British (English)

BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences, Durham University (1990)

Rachel comes to the Course with a scientific academic background, a strong interest in the arts and a year of archaeological conservation during her university course. She considers a career in conservation as tailor-made for her and has pursued these ambitions in her work-experience since graduation - first at the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere and then as Assistant Conservation Officer (Applied Art) at the National Museum in Wales. Here she had her first real taste of ceramic conservation working on the new Welsh Earthenware and Porcelain Gallery.

On completion of that project, she was given the opportunity to change hats, and take on the role of the Museum's sculpture conservator. After a period of training with John Larson in Liverpool, she prepared the Museum's collection of sculpture for display in the new galleries opening in October 1993.

Sonja Muller

Textiles Conservation (3 year MA Course)

Aged 25, British /German

BA English/Drama, Hull University (1992)

By the time she left her English and Drama course at Hull, Sonja had already decided that a career in the theatre - which for her meant in costume design - was not for her. She had begun to look into the idea of textile conservation because she felt that working with textiles in their own historical and artistic right might be more satisfying than using them for the world of theatrical illusion. She was then fortunate to be offered a one year contract with a freelance textile conservation studio in Hamburg, where she discovered her interest to be a passion. Here she learned much about ethics and techniques and met conservators from all over Germany. She also learned how much a textiles conservator needs to learn! She now looks forward to both the opportunity to develop as a conservator in the Museum and to a new life in London.

Stephen Copestake

Furniture Conservation (3 year MA Course)

Aged 22, British (Welsh)

BSc (Hons), ARCS, Chemistry, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (1992)

Although Stephen has no formal training in conservation, he has been interested in furniture restoration for many years. During his A levels he worked part-time with a local furniture restorer and had to consider seriously the options of apprenticeship or university!

While committed to a degree in chemistry, he soon realised that the pharmaceuticals industry would do little to develop his craft skills and interests and, in 1991, set his aims on a career in conservation. His third year at Imperial College gave the opportunity for research relevant to his intended career and he chose to study the photo-degradation and stabilisation of natural resins. This provided a useful introduction to conservation literature, institutions and London-based conservators and scientists. Having concentrated on science for the last eight years, Stephen now looks forward to three years in an environment where he can extend his knowledge of furniture, art, craft and design history and his practical experience of the applied arts.

Merete Winness

Furniture Conservation (3 year MA Course)

Aged 26, Norwegian

BTec Certificate in Design (Crafts), Rycotewood College (1991); BADA Diploma in Furniture Restoration, West Dean College (1992)

Merete's long term interest in furniture brought her to England because Norway cannot offer any professional training in conservation. Having completed a one year course in furniture making at Rycotewood to learn traditional handskills, Merete went to West Dean as the first step in her training as a conservator. During her final term, she was offered an internship in the Furniture Section of the V&A Conservation Department. She in fact stayed in the studio for ten months working under the guidance of John Kitchin, Head of the Section. This gave her a clear insight into the workings of the Department and confirmed her wish to train further in the museum environment with access to collections of great quality.

Merete is highly committed to conservation and determined to master not only the practical and historical aspects of conservation but also the scientific principles which her early education dealt with less thoroughly. Eager to learn, she completed the four month correspondence course, Chemistry for Conservators, organised by International Academic Projects. For the new academic year, Merete returns to a now familiar studio to be supervised by senior conservator, Nick Umney.

Vivi Tornari

Optical Techniques in Conservation (MPhil Degree by Research)
Aged 30, Hellenic
Graduated from the Department of Optics, Technological Educational Institution of Athens (1991); Dissertation on Optical Holography, TEI Department of Physics (1992)

Following Vivi's initial studies at TEI in Athens, which included physics, optics, optical instrumentation and vision physiology, she worked in industry for a year. Here, her work was concerned with the development of optical technologies 'for the human environment' and particularly with optical-acoustical transformations. This in turn led to her interest in optical holography and a further year at TEI to complete her dissertation on that subject. During 1991 she was involved in a number of research projects and collaborations, notably preparing Denisyuk, transmission and reflection holograms of ancient coins, gemstones and sculpture. In 1992 she participated in a Panhellenic conference on lasers and their applications, contributed to an exhibition of holograms and presented a lecture at TEl on applications of optical holography. In October 1992 she began a post-experience placement at the Royal College of Art, working with high technology advanced holographic techniques. Her research will involve the development of holographic interferometry, using both pulse and continuous wave lasers, as a means of recording and investigating dimensional changes in museum objects as they respond to the environment.

As a footnote, since no such people are included in the list above, it is worth saying how much we would welcome the idea of mid-career conservation professionals undertaking serious research or advanced training towards a higher degree in association with the Course. For some subject areas, a very flexible approach to study can be adopted by both student and academic institution (providing, of course, that appropriate resources can be offered throughout the proposed period of study and we can be confident of the quality of the eventual thesis). The experience and knowledge an established conservator can bring to research is surely worth every encouragement and facilitation.