Greener Solvents Project

Conceived by SiC (Sustainability in Conservation), this project aims to provide an online and open access for information about applying a greener solvent approach in cultural heritage conservation through the creation of resources, facilitation of research, dedicated conferences and publications.

Conservators will utilize solvents for certain treatments in a range of settings throughout their careers. In selecting appropriate solvents, a conservator must consider not only how they will affect the conservation materials and potentially those in the original substrate, but also their impact on human health and the environment. Since any one of these aspects can be a complex issue in itself, incorporating greener solvent approaches in practice can be difficult. The Greener Solvents Project aims in its first phase to establish a digital platform and an expert-reviewed handbook to provide an overview of green chemistry, clarify the identification of greener solvents, and provide insights into how they may be safely applied within the conservation field. It will combine background information with some practical guidelines to help conservators eradicate their use of the worst solvent offenders with regards to safety, health and environment ratings. The digital platform will house open access research, information, and exchange - providing a focused opportunity for publishing sustainability-related research. It will thus help ensure the correctly considered application of appropriate replacement (where necessary) solvents novel to conservation. The planned secondary phase of the project will provide a yearly conference with proceeding publications, alongside potentially further content and dissemination methods.

This project therefore aims to provide the first resource on greener solvents created specifically for the field of art and artefact conservation.

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Greener Solvents Team

Gwendoline Fife (Director), Rosie Grayburn (Research Coordinater), Melissa Lewis (contributing author), Justine Wuebold (contributing author)

Annabelle Camp (SiC Team Coordinator), Karoline Sofie Hennum (SiC Team Coordinator), Aline Assumpcao, Izabella Gill-Brown, Lucile Pourret, and Marie Desrochers

Editors and Advisory Committee

Professor Thomas Welton, Dr Bronwyn Ormsby, Dr Fergal Byrne, Shayne Rivers MA FIIC, 

Dr Rosie Grayburn, Gwendoline Fife BSc PGDIP

Confirmed Partnering Institutions (to date)

UCLA/Getty Interdepartmental Program in the Conservation of Heritage

Winterthur/University of Delaware

The Getty, Los Angeles

La Cambre, Brussels

Tate, London

If you would like further information please contact