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Tru Vue Blog: AICCM Frames Symposium, 'Concept, History and Conservation'

Yukiko Barrow is a Frames and Furniture Conservator at the V&A. She was invited to speak at the AICCM Frames Symposium which took place in Sydney in April. Her attendance was made possibly through he support of the Icon Tru Vue CPD grants programme, read on to hear about her experiences and reflections on the symposium.


I presented two talks on behalf of myself and co-writer Zoe Allen, Head of Furniture Conservation V&A at the AICCM Frames: Concept, History and Conservation symposium 2 in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (AGNSW) in 3-5 April 2019. 

Many thanks to Tru Vue for the generous grant which allowed me to attend this special event.

The main talk was about a display (in the V&A British Galleries) which shows the stages of conservation involved in the frame for A view in Sherwood Forest by MacCallum and a replica frame section showing how the frame was made. During this project we collaborated with the Tate to learn polyester resin mould making techniques. The Tate Frame Conservator, Adrian Moore referred to this in his presentation which followed mine. This was a good example of collaborative conservation in the UK.

frame_symposium_2019-_participants.jpg​​​AICCM © 

My second short ‘lightning talk’ presented an easy method of calculation to make slips and spacers. This was very well received.

This was my first experience of presenting at an international conference. The atmosphere of the conference was very pleasant and friendly and organiser Barbara Dabrowa, Senior Frame Conservator AGNSW, was extremely warm and supportive helping me to build confidence for the talk.

am_and_yb.jpg​​Adrian Moore (left) & Yukiko Barrow (left) at the Symposium Dinner, Alhol Hall © A Moore

Over 3 days, there were 31 presentations and 6 lightning talks covering a wide variety of topics grouped into 9 sessions with different themes. It was a great opportunity to meet frame specialists from across the world. We spent breaks and a special organised dinner together having many passionate conversations about frames, our favourite subject! I felt that I shared and gained a lot of new knowledge, not only through listening to presentations but also through discussions with other specialists.

I was particularly interested in Dr Malgorzata Sawicki’s, Head of Frames Conservation, AGNSW, new research on gels and emulsions in cleaning gilded surfaces. She is a pioneer and leading researcher in frame conservation and the presentation was fantastic.

I also enjoyed the two presentations from Dr Jennifer Booth from the Tru Vue. The case studies were interesting and gave me greater insight and understanding about glazing. It was lovely to meet her in person.

The highlight was the 3rd day, organisers arranged for us to visit the State Library of New South Wales. We had guided tours and visited the 3 newly opened beautiful galleries which included 300 framed paintings.  After, we headed back to the conference and listened to 3 presentations relating to this massive re-hang project from the executive director, conservation manager and frame conservator. They came from different perspectives but worked hard to achieve a shared goal within an extremely limited time period. It was a very inspirational story.  I learned a lot from their well-planned prioritisation, teamwork and time management as well as enjoying the stunning conservation skills demonstrated.


The latest round of Tru Vue funding is now open to applicants, please visit the Icon Grants pages for further information. 

Lead image, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (AGNSW) © Y. Barrow


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