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
Together with guest host Sophie Rowe we try to get to grips with modern materials: plastics of all sorts, technology, and sticky tape. Christina has a quick chat with conservator Abby Moore about plastics in particular, our agony aunt answers another listener question in Dear Jane, and Kloe reviews ‘PUR Facts: Conservation of Polyurethane Foam in Art and Design.’
00:00:25 Our experiences of modern materials
00:03:53 The trouble of identification
00:05:26 Training courses and books about plastics
00:09:34 Destructive testing and setting stuff on fire
00:11:05 What can we learn from just looking at plastics?
00:13:56 Do we just need to do more testing and sharing?
00:15:53 The tricky question of tape – wanted or unwanted?
00:20:14 Fatbergs on display and the oddities of modern art
00:23:09 Let’s not forget about retro technology
00:25:46 Obsolete technology and do we need ’working’ tech objects?
00:27:41 Jenny’s nerdy interest in tech history and amateur restoration
00:30:33 Back to plastics: what about cleaning and treatment?
00:34:31 How does this impact how we collect modern materials long-term?
00:40:21 Kloe’s Correx horror story
00:46:13 Interview with Abby Moore
00:56:16 Dear Jane
01:00:34 Review: PUR Facts – Conservation of Polyurethane Foam in Art and Design
01:05:51 Patreon shout-out!
We revisit the topic of emerging professionals and ponder when a conservator is a conservator. We talk to Julie Dawson and Edward Cheese from the Fitzwilliam Museum about hiring, interview tips, and what employers really want. Our agony aunt addresses a student question in Dear Jane, and we air some issues around acknowledging conservators in exhibitions, the role of directors, and the job market in the comments section.
00:00:44 News in brief
00:01:39 Revisiting the topic
00:02:21 How quickly we forget!
00:07:11 The trouble with staying flexible later in your career
00:09:40 Maternity and being working mothers
00:10:58 Imposter syndrome
00:13:09 When is a conservator no longer a conservator?
00:17:15 Training, CPD, and the emerging conservator
00:26:33 Networking doesn’t have to be frightening
00:32:43 Interview with Julie Dawson and Edward Cheese
01:00:48 Dear Jane: What should a student bring to university?
01:03:43 Comments, questions, corrections: credits, directors, and jobs
01:10:36 Marie’s stats on job hunting
01:15:46 Patreon shout-out!
We take a closer look at freelancing in conservation: being a scalpel for hire! We cover topics such as clever tool hacks, the pros and cons of going solo, and how the types of clients affect the work you do. We share our own experiences and chat about how you can brush up on your business skills. Also tune in for interviews with two other freelance conservators: Nigel Larkin and Sally Woodcock.
00:00:30 Conservation perfumes – can it be?!
00:05:55 What would a scent called ‘The Conservator’ smell like?
00:06:35 Jenny’s been to a wax conference
00:09:45 Kloe and the Manchester suffragette banner
00:11:45 Our experiences of freelancing
00:20:30 Are specialists more likely to be freelancers?
00:23:34 Conservation companies: employees vs. one-man-bands
00:25:40 Sub-contracting and working together
00:26:30 Workload and pace of commercial jobs
00:29:10 Freelancer, consultant, or independent conservator?
00:31:16 Benefits of working with other freelancers
00:33:25 Tool hacks!
00:36:15 Do freelancers feel isolated?
00:38:20 How do people get started as freelancers?
00:39:00 What are the perks? And the big challenges?
00:47:14 Health and safety, insurance, and accounting
00:50:20 Pricing your work and charging for your time
00:53:20 How do you keep up with your CPD and training? Can you brush up on your business skills?
00:56:00 Advice from freelancers
01:00:57 Interview with Nigel Larkin (natural history and geology conservator)
01:12:32 Interview with Sally Woodcock (paintings conservator)
01:29:30 Comments, questions, and corrections: controlled drugs in collections and asbestos training
01:34:20 Patreon shoutout!