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Conservation Ethics

The Contemporary Art Network

From: Tuesday 16.04.19
at 1:00pm
To: Tuesday 16.04.19
at 5:30pm

Jeremy Bentham Room, UCL, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT   



Students £15

Event type: 
Event language: 

Reviewing the context and use through the lens of Contemporary Art. 

Event description: 

The Icon Contemporary Art Network in collaboration with UCL Culture invite you to join us for an afternoon of talks and discussion framing the current history of conservation ethics and opening up a debate on current guidance and asking ‘What is the role of the individual in determining what is ethical practice?’

The afternoon will comprise of three facilitated talks, Q&A and break out discussion groups to discuss the use of ethical guidance, with feedback gathered at the end of the day.

With Icon creating a working group to draft ethical guidelines, this is your chance to get your ideas, opinions and suggestions into the wider debate.


Simon Cane – Chair and facilitator for the afternoon of talks and discussions

Simon leads UCL Culture, a multifaceted department that uses cultural assets in the form of historic and contemporary collections, performance spaces, public art and knowhow to engage and connect UCL research with the world. He previously developed a career in the museums sector starting out as a conservator before diversifying into other roles across a range of institutions and locations including museums in York and Manchester, culminating as a Director of Birmingham Museums Trust before moving to UCL in 2015. He studied at Lincoln and Southampton and retains active research interests in conservation practice, ethics and iconoclasm. Whilst his background is rooted in material culture and its preservation he is equally interested in the power of knowledge and culture, their production, their sharing and their impact. He says of UCL Culture ‘We believe in the power of open and that creativity is at the heart of learning and knowledge.’

Jonathan Ashley Smith - ‘The development of conservation guidance’

Jonathan Ashley-Smith trained as a chemist and carried out post-doctoral research at Cambridge University. He then worked as a conservation apprentice studying metalwork at the V&A museum in London. After four years he became head of the conservation department, a post he held from 1977 to 2002. He is author of the book Risk Assessment for Object Conservation published in 1999. In 2000 he was awarded the Plowden medal for his contribution to the conservation profession. He was visiting professor at the Royal College of Art, 2000 to 2010 and Secretary General of the International Institute for Conservation 2003 to 2006. These days he describes himself as a freelance teacher, researcher and consultant in the field of risks to cultural heritage. In addition to papers on methods of predicting environmental damage to collections, his recent publications have dealt with the threats to practical skills and the failure of conservation ethics to provide a focus for the profession.

Helia Marcel – ‘On the expanding realm of conservation: revisiting ethics on the 21st century’

Hélia Marçal is the Conservation fellow in Contemporary Art Conservation and Research for the research project “Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum” at Tate. Helia is an embedded practicing conservator within the Time-based Media Conservation Team. Helia has more than eight years’ experience as a contemporary art conservator working with performance art and art with performative features.  She has recently been awarded an European PhD from NOVA University (2018) with a project that looked into the ways performance art and conservation practices are co-constitutive. She has published about conservation theory and ethics, embodied memories and the body-archive, and public policies of participation and stewardship of cultural heritage, having also co-edited two books and a Special Issue in a peer-reviewed journal about Portuguese performance art (2017). She has occasionally lectured in NOVA University of Lisbon on themes such as conservation ethics, performance art, and transmission of the body of the Portuguese revolution.  She is the Coordinator of the Theory, History, and Ethics of Conservation Working Group from the International Council of Museums – Committee for Conservation since 2016.

Brian Castriota – ‘Reframing Authenticity in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage’

Brian Castriota is a conservator specialised in the conservation of time-based media artworks and archaeological materials. He holds a Master's degree in Art History and a Certificate in Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU where he graduated in 2014. He has worked as a contract conservator for time-based media artworks at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and was a Samuel H. Kress Fellow in Time-Based Media Conservation at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. He is currently completing a doctoral degree at the University of Glasgow within the Horizon 2020 research program “New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art”.  He also currently works as a freelance conservator for time-based media artworks at both the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and as a Supervising Conservator with the Harvard-Cornell Archaeological Exploration of Sardis in Turkey. 


Simon Cane

Jonathan Ashley Smith

Helia Marcel

Brian Castriota