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RCA/V&A Postgraduate Conservation Programme

Alison Richmond
Deputy Head, RCA/V&A Conservation

Taking stock of a year in the life of RCA/V&A Conservation is always a pleasurable task. Beginning with the latest news, we are delighted to congratulate the following students on the occasion of their graduation:

  • Melissa Gunter, MA Natural History Conservation (with the Natural History Museum)
  • Anna Kagiadaki, MA Sculpture Conservation, V&A (supported by the Friends of the V&A)
  • Katja Tovar (née Gruber), MA Furniture Conservation, V&A
  • Heidrun Gassner, MA Ethnographic Material (with the Horniman Museum)
  • Konstantinos Ntanos, MA Conservation Science (with the British Museum)
  • Charis Theodorakopoulos, PhD Laser-cleaning of organic surfaces (with FORTH-IESL, Crete)
  • Maria Troupkou, MPhil An application of risk analysis for the conservation management of photographic archives

It is always gratifying when our students are offered positions on or even before(!) graduation. Kostas Ntanos has taken up a post in Research at The National Archives.

This year also saw another of our students short-listed for the Pilgrim Trust Student Conservator of the Year Award. Emma Schmueker's submission for the award was based on her research at the Museum of London under the supervision of Rob Payton into the corrosion of iron. This included a survey of approaches taken by metalwork conservators and interviews on public perceptions of metal surfaces.

We are, as always, indebted to all the staff, supervisors and sponsors in all of our collaborating institutions who enabled us to deliver such rich and varied experiences to our students. We would like to take this opportunity to extend a warm thank you to all.

Two of our new students for 2005/2006 are introduced here, but more will appear in the next issue.

New Students


Sandra Joly

Sandra Joly

Sandra Joly. Musical Instruments and Ethnographic Objects (with the Horniman Museum) 2 year MA (click image for larger version)

Originally graduating with a degree in Agriculture my passion for film led me in quite a different direction. I joined the BBC, training and working in film editing for several years before volunteering to work as an Audio-Visual specialist within the Ministry of Education in Grenada. On returning to the UK I studied precious metal jewellery at the Kent Institute of Art and Design and London Guildhall University where I obtained an MA (with distinction) in Applied Art and Visual Culture. My interest in the visual arts and education led me into teaching and after training I taught Art and Design at secondary schools in Botswana and Thailand.  

I completed a Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation and Restoration of Fine Metalwork at West Dean College in July 2005 and was awarded the BADA Harold Davies prize for the student making the most progress.
Specialising in the conservation of ethnographic materials will allow me to extend my practical skills and bring me into contact with new materials combining my interest in science, the visual arts and material cultures. I am excited about the possibilities and challenges of what lies ahead.



Sia Marshall

Sia Marshall

Sia Marshall. Metals and Surface Finishes of Social History Objects (with the Museum of London) 2 year MA (click image for larger version)

My first degree was in Biochemistry after which I taught Chemistry for several years. Always interested in the Arts as well as Sciences I decided that I wanted to work in a field that combined these disciplines. After two very happy years working in the Conservation and Collections Care department of Historic Royal Palaces, first as a volunteer then as a conservation scientist, I am now delighted to be an MA student on the RCA/V&A Conservation course.