Monday, December 15, 2008

Description of the project

After producing the first questionnaires and analyzing the project scope, it was decided that the interviews would only include North American Conservators (conservators working in US). After presenting the project at the George Eastman House in December 2008, the project description had evolved to the following:

Current Status of Treatment Practices in Photograph Conservation

Statement of Purpose
This research will create a basic reference resource (interviews-based) that describes and addresses the current status of treatment within the profession, its philosophies, history; and the criteria and methodologies used for its evaluation. The objective of this resource is to gather and make accessible the knowledge and experience of a group of key individuals in the field, answering fundamental questions that relate to our work.

Treatment is one of the activities that characterize and differentiate a photograph conservator from other closely related specialists. The possibilities for treating photographic materials depend on a series of complex case-based variables (not only considering the materiality of the object but its present and future context and use) and international accepted standards of practice. Therefore it is important to understand, document and communicate the way in which treatment is approached, conducted and evaluated, both within institutions and in private practice. As it is important to explain the factors that have influenced in the history and development of treatment practices and try to identify the future challenges for the field in the subject.

The general history of the field of photograph conservation has been synthesized in some articles and orally compiled by a series of interviews conducted by Pau Mayn├ęs in 2001. However, the emphasis of these previous researches was not treatment practices, its status or history.

Interviews with conservators will be conducted and video recorded, to describe the following:
-Definition of treatment
-Criteria/Need for treatment
-Type and Aim of treatment
-Treatments performed and frequencies
-Degree/Extent of intervention
-Evaluation of treatment
-Transformation of treatment practices
-External influences
-History of treatment practices
-Training and education
-Future challenges

The interviews will be video-recorded, and a complete transcript and abstract produced.
To increase the accessibility of the resource, the creation of a web-based application containing sections of the videos and transcripts will be assessed.
A set of interviews and transcripts will be delivered to the principal schools of Photograph Conservation.

List of interviewees: Conservators working in US, practicing conservators or current head of conservation departments or research/educational institutions.

Grant Romer