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Sandra Smith
Head of Conservation

Sandra Smith, Head of Conservation

Sandra Smith, Head of Conservation

I was delighted that over the last year, since the launch of Journal 50 on the Web, the electronic version of the Journal has been received with such enthusiasm by our readership. Clearly the decision to move to this format and to retain full colour throughout was correct.  We are now reviewing the long-term implications of this modernisation. For the foreseeable future we are committed to retaining both a printed and electronic version of the Journal, but in reviewing the resources and cost implications of this we need to make some hard decisions relating to the format and scale of the Journal. Whilst we have yet to finalise our approach, reducing the number of editions of the Journal to two per year is one option that we are considering for 2007 onwards, together with a move to an A4 format to reduce printing costs. Whether in so doing we will be able to retain the overall volume of content is not yet clear.  The final decisions will be reported in the Journal 55. 

The success of the Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art (highlighted in the previous Journal) and the excellent reviews of the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries have been a source of considerable pride for the Department this year, and spurs us on to the next projects. The Jewellery Gallery (sponsored by William & Judith Bollinger), which will open in July 2008 (Viegas), and the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries due to open in 2009 (Borges, Marques), are now being worked on alongside exhibitions. Away from the spotlight, equally important conservation projects are underway, through the generous support of external funding. This work will make valuable areas of the collections previously in too poor a condition to view, once more accessible (Kelly) and as a direct result of the conservation work, there are now suggestions being made for a short exhibition of this material. Education and research (Richmond, Richardson) remain a key focus for the Department. Our congratulations are extended to Naomi Luxford and Barbara Schertel, the latest graduates from the RCA/V&A Course, and we wish them well for the future. The Department has also hosted work placements for 'A'-level students, through the Global Graduates scheme and in association with Imperial College, and continues to offer placements and internships to training and practicing conservators and scientists.

Finally, we say goodbye to our Production Editor, Michelle Murray, who is to return to education to undertake a teacher training course. Having spent the last two years brilliantly organising an unruly Journal Editorial Board, I am sure that teaching sixth-formers Art will be a breeze. We wish her well and thank her for all that she has contributed to the success of the Journal.