We’re joined by Barbadian conservator Nerys Rudder and talk about international studenthood, working in a warm climate, and post-colonial heritage identity. Listen to eight voices from across the world: conservators from Spain, America, Egypt, Germany, Taiwan, Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands answer our questions! Our agony aunt Jane tackles a topical question about studying in the UK and how those qualifications can work for you abroad. Also tune in for an interview with Rosie Cook about working across Asia, and a review of ‘Treasures in Trusted Hands.’
00:00:31 News in brief
00:05:51 Nerys’ journey from art to science
00:09:28 Being the only conservator in Barbados
00:14:22 Working in a different climate
00:22:02 Research, collaboration, and networking
00:31:36 Interview with Rosie Cook
00:46:45 Julia from Spain
00:48:40 Pia from Norway
00:54:27 Abbie from the Netherlands
00:56:14 Sophie from Germany
01:00:07 Abdel from Egypt
01:08:02 Fletcher from America
01:09:31 Erina from Australia
01:19:05 Chi Chun from Taiwan
01:21:02 Review: Treasures in Trusted Hands – Negotiating the Future of Colonial Cultural Objects
01:23:45 Dear Jane
We team up with Lorraine Finch to talk about how to look after your conservator: we cover topics like wellbeing and self-care, while also discussing what employers and managers can do to keep staff in good condition. We talk to Dr Michelle Huws-Thomas about burnout and stress in the workplace, and we interview Sam Jenkins from the Museum Wellness Network. Also tune in for a review of ‘Objective Lessons: Self Care for Museum Workers’ by Seema Rao.
00:01:04 News in brief
00:05:11 Defining ‘wellbeing’ and ‘self care’
00:07:32 What’s wellbeing to us?
00:17:46 Lab pets and yoga practice
00:22:11 The power of body language
00:25:23 Swedish fika and the art of taking a break
00:28:11 Different types of stress
00:35:28 Mindfulness and its place in conservation
00:41:43 Mental health: Lorraine and Jenny’s stories
00:48:45 Tips for improved wellbeing
00:50:17 Interview with Dr Michelle Huws-Thomas
01:05:41 Warning signs and remembering to recharge
01:07:30 Rust out
01:11:45 Interview with Sam Jenkins
01:21:18 Review: Objective Lessons – Self Care for Museum Professions
We’re joined by guest host Janet Berry and get enthused about church architecture, ecclesiastical heritage, and how to look after the treasures we can find in places of worship. Christina interviews James Hales from UCL about his research about bats in churches, and Jenny talks to Rachel Morley from Friends of Friendless Churches and the Churches Conservation Trust about the joy of working with old church buildings.
00:00:46 News in brief
00:01:33 Jenny’s first conservation experience revealed
00:06:45 The canary in the cage
00:08:29 The conservator’s role and the importance of communication
00:10:34 Demystifying the term ‘faculty’
00:15:12 Funding availability for church conservation
00:19:56 Loans and ecclesiastical objects in museums
00:21:31 The joys and headaches of working in-situ
00:26:56 Terriers, logbooks, and quinquennial inspection reports
00:30:18 Documentation and aftercare
00:34:56 Interview with James Hales
00:54:56 Church graffiti and the importance of stories
00:57:23 Interview with Rachel Morley
01:07:26 Spiritual places as intangible experiences
01:09:38 Comments, questions, and corrections: a listener story about working in churches
01:12:14 Call for sound bites: international snippets!
01:13:55 Patreon shout-out!
Today we’re talking about professional bodies: what are they, what do they provide their members with, and what do we think of them? We discuss answers given to us by nine professional bodies from all over the world and have a think about our own experiences. Also tune in for a book review of ‘Authenticity in Transition: Changing Practices in Contemporary Art Making and Conservation.’
00:57 News in brief
02:36 So what’s a professional body?
06:16 The Price is Right – fees and charges
13:35 What do these bodies provide their members with?
24:17 Aims of our professional organisations
29:46 How could these organisations improve?
39:08 What about the non-members?
39:58 What makes your organisation special? What’s your USP?
42:34 Our experiences with membership of professional bodies
48:10 Review: Authenticity in Transition
Join us and our guest host Jenny van Enckevort for an episode about suffragettes, social history, political collections, and tricky object stories. Also tune in for an interview with Helen Antrobus about radical exhibitions and curating at The People’s History Museum. Plus our agony aunt Jane answers a question about frames, and Kloe reviews the first volume of ‘Feminism and Museums.’
00:01:13 Politics in museums?
00:02:58 Queer Britain museum announced
00:04:28 Suffragettes and women’s rights exhibitions
00:05:31 Social history is sexy
00:10:26 Vandalism and graffiti in response to exhibitions
00:15:23 Can we say no to objects that offend us?
00:20:41 Contemporary collecting and difficult topics
00:23:38 Conserving ephemera: protest signs, social media photos, and banners
00:29:40 Parallels between ethnography and political collections
00:33:44 Are object stories important to conservation?
00:41:52 Unions and Museums Are Not Neutral
00:43:14 Jenny’s can of worms
00:45:21 Contentious objects and how to display them
00:47:21 Interview with Helen Antrobus
01:01:25 Dear Jane
01:08:00 Review: Feminism and Museums
01:12:50 Comments, questions, and corrections: peripheral job markets
01:16:14 Patreon shout out!
Ho ho ho! We pull some Christmas crackers, talk about Christmas objects in collections, make some predictions for the year ahead, and sing a special conservation carol. 🙂 We also talk to Diana McCormack, the Antarctic Conservation Trust’s first Conservation Ambassador!
00:00:33 Christmas crackers! (plus terrible jokes)
00:06:23 Seasonal objects in collections
00:14:34 Christmas in museums
00:18:58 Predictions for 2018
00:27:32 Looking back on 2017
00:30:15 Interview with Diana McCormack straight from Antarctica!
00:49:39 Twelve Days of a Conservator’s Christmas
00:54:22 The Big Christmas Giveaway!
Our carol The Twelve Days of a Conservator’s Christmas is based on a traditional British carol in a musical arrangement by John Rutter. The singers and musicians (all of them!) were Tom Sutch and Christina Rozeik. The words were adapted by Kloe Rumsey, Christina Rozeik, and Jenny Mathiasson:
1 a tube of B72
2 purple gloves
3 fresh finds
4 crawling furs
5 old rings
6 hats a-fraying
7 pots for packing
8 books for binding
9 rugs unravelling
10 jars a-seeping
11 paintings peeling
12 coins corroding
How do you get the most out of a conference? Jenny shares her survival log from a recent conference, Christina talks about her experiences of organising this type of event, and Kloe asks us tonnes of questions. We also unpack and discuss cleaning sponges and erasers from Preservation Equipment Ltd (PEL), and our conservation agony aunt muses about which skills are most useful to conservators.
00:00:30 News in brief
00:09:44 What makes a good conference?
00:21:31 Survival log #1
00:24:22 The virtues of buddying up and how to survive
00:28:15 Are conferences more expensive now?
00:31:12 Survival log #2
00:34:09 Networking can be OK!
00:36:43 Top conference tips
00:38:16 Survival log #3
00:45:10 Continued top conference tips
00:48:23 What should you bring to a conference?
00:49:21 How do you organise a conference?
00:53:39 Pet peeves
00:56:10 Dear Jane
00:58:26 Review: Kloe and Jenny unpack erasers and sponges from PEL!
01:21:20 Comments, questions, corrections: food x2!
We sample the topic of food: what we find in museum collections, how we can look after it, and what to look out for. We also talk wedding cake traditions, food heritage, museum cafés, and our own eating habits as museum professionals. Jenny reviews not one but TWO books on the topic and Dear Jane addresses a question about specialisms and portfolios.
00:25 Call for papers
02:14 Food we’ve seen in collections
06:47 Wedding cake traditions
10:05 Smelly finds, accessioned catastrophes, and mummy wheat
18:13 Potential resources to consult
20:18 So what is food anyway? How can we preserve (hah!) it?
27:15 Pests, mould, and why we might want to keep food
29:07 Working Victorian kitchen ranges and how food can be living history
30:50 Museum cafés and eating in museums
40:42 Staff eating habits and surveys
50:02 Review: Food and Museums
53:27 Dear Jane
57:26 Review: Modern Art Desserts – Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art
59:59 Comments, questions, corrections: food policies
We have a chat about ways of communicating conservation: to the media, to the public, and to each other. We talk to conservator Muirne Lydon from National Gallery of Ireland about media training for conservators and clever tools for social media use. Our agony aunt addresses someone’s fear about being too normal for a career in conservation, and Jenny reviews ‘The Interactive Past – Archaeology, Heritage, and Video Games.’
00:00:24 News in brief
00:09:57 Our experiences with media, news, and PR
00:27:49 Interview with Muirne Lydon
00:41:30 The need for an elevator pitch in conservation
00:43:45 Ways of communicating with conservators
00:47:35 Talking to the public via signs
00:56:46 Review: The Interactive Past – Archaeology, Heritage, and Video Games
01:00:10 Dear Jane
01:03:42 Comments, questions, corrections: tape, sunshine stories & bellydance
We philosophise around the topics of replicas, surrogates, and digitisation. When is a copy a copy? When is a replica a fake? We have a brief chat with Dan Pemberton from the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences about chocolate replicas for a museum bake-off, we interview Jessica Pollard from the British Library about digitisation, and talk to Susanne Turner from the Museum of Classical Archaeology about having a collection full of replicas.
00:00:29 Why copy anything at all?
00:01:49 Collections of replicas
00:03:03 Philosophy time! When is a copy a copy? And a replica a fake?
00:05:47 When is it OK to display copies instead of originals?
00:09:37 The value of displaying real things
00:16:15 Museum shops and replicas
00:18:45 Interview with Dan Pemberton
00:22:08 Museum bake-off and our love of cake
00:24:06 What’s the difference between a replica and a surrogate?
00:26:48 Sometimes only replicas survive
00:29:05 So what about digitisation – where does it fit in?
00:38:34 Interview with Jessica Pollard
00:51:26 Interview with Susanne Turner
01:10:20 Comments, questions, corrections: freelancing and another podcast