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Title: How conservation has changed from 1975 to 2005
Author: McBride, Patrick
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 0947
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2015
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The aim of this thesis is to examine the nature of the changes that took place within paper conservation, a section of the practice/occupation of material conservation, in the United Kingdom during the period from 1975 to 2005. In the 1970s, conservation emerged as a distinct practice within the museum sector from two sources: semi-skilled cleaners and movers of art objects, and the traditional restorers of cultural objects. From then until the end of the century, it continued to grow and mature. The nature of this growth and the changes that took place within it will be modelled with the objective of enabling future changes within conservation to be evaluated. The evaluation of conservation in this manner will determine its definition as an industry. The changes will be assessed by highlighting their effect on one section of conservation practice, namely paper conservation. This practice concentrates on the conservation of cultural material created using paper, including such categories of artefacts as watercolours, fine art prints, drawings, ephemera, archival materials, books and all paper-based sculpture. During the period between 1970 and 2000, paper conservation developed from being a fledgling practice to becoming an accepted standard within the museum sector. In becoming so, it placed great emphasis on professionalism. This provided paper conservation with a template for change, a process through which it could develop and grow. Paper conservation embraced this process as a means of providing a set of standards to which it could adhere, but also as a means of garnering greater acceptability for its approach within the wider museum sector. Issues relating to the development of a profession and professionalism will be further explored as part of the literature review. Organisational change was also considered to have a relevance to the development of paper conservation, and this, too, will be explored within the literature review. Steps to professionalise conservation and subsequent changes in the wider museum sector were seen to have had the most impact on the structure of conservation. They may also have had relevance for the practice itself. Paper conservation was successful in having its occupational aims accepted throughout the museum sector, and this has further implications for those interested in researching by occupations of the professionalisation process. An understanding of the nature of this change, and how paper conservation reached its goal of acceptance for its values, is indispensable for those involved in decision-making within conservation today, and in the future. The thesis is based on an analysis of documents from the period directly relating to change within the field of conservation. It also includes interviews with personnel who were practising conservators, the providers of conservation education, and officers of the different agencies representing conservation. Research questions were formed from this analysis, and multiple case studies were undertaken to analyse these questions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fine Art Conservation ; Conservation