Author: Mariana Escamilla
On the 23rd of March 2018, the European Network of Conservation-Restoration Education (ENCoRE) held a conference called “The Impact of Conservation-Restoration Education on the Development of the Profession” in Turin, Italy.
This conference was the 15th held by ENCoRE, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of its founding this year. The 2018 conference attracted attendees from various European countries including Germany, the UK, France, and Belgium. It was hosted at Venaria Reale, a part of the CCR (Centro Conservazione Restauro Venaria Reale), which showed terrific installations with superb analytical instrumentation.
ENCoRE, which was founded in 1997, is an organisation made up of higher education institutions in the field of conservation-restoration. Based on the directions and recommendations of E.C.C.O. (European Confederation of Conservation-Restorers Organisation) and the Pavia document of October 1997, it aims to enhance research and education in the field.
The conference was one day long and was followed by the general assembly of ENCoRE. Talks were given by experienced speakers from various institutions around Europe, including IIC (Graham Voce presented on the Student and Emerging Conservator Conferences, which are held biennially), INP (presenting their program’s curricula) and CICS (Adrian Heritage spoke about the importance of creative formation in conservator-restorers) amongst others.
In the subsequent student poster session, exciting projects submitted by the students of international institutions were displayed.
A talk by the Sustainability in Conservation (SiC) team took place during the conference. The speaker, Mariana Escamilla-Martínez, gave a presentation co-authored by SiC’s founder Caitlin Southwick entitled “The Sustainability Trend in Higher Education”. It began with a short reminder about global warming and the general contamination of the planet, intended to raise awareness of sustainability’s relevance in the conservation field and the importance of the topic being included in educational programs worldwide. Examples of various institutions around the world with sustainability-related programs were given to show possible methods that others might implement and to encourage change. Some of the results from SiC’s ‘Materials in Conservation’ survey, launched in November 2017, were highlighted to show the necessity of sustainable practices in CR.
Suggestions on how to enhance sustainability in educational institutions were mentioned, as well as an introduction to SiC’s Student Ambassador Program.
The feedback received by the conference participants was encouraging and positive.
One of the follow-up questions received during the Q&A session after SiC’s presentation was: What can conservation do to enhance sustainability?
What are your thoughts on this question?
The speaker and author of this post would like to use this opportunity to respond more thoroughly:
The conservation of cultural assets should be taken as a role model and motivation to raise awareness and encourage the change of the society towards more sustainable practices. As conservators, we aim to protect the past and preserve the beauty of what once was in such a way that it will remain stable for the longest period of time possible. In this way, we are enabling future research and passing knowledge on to future generations.
Although we have made many mistakes and we have a lot more to learn and discover, our work shows that we have managed to preserve various assets from the past successfully. The drawing of parallels between both environmental and cultural conservation cannot be denied. Due to the nature of our profession, we should think about the impact of our treatments both on the environment and on our health. Let the footprint we leave be one of culture and knowledge and science, and let us show the world our approach. In order for this to be more widely recognized as an encouraging example for the preservation of the environment, the acknowledgement of sustainability-related issues in our profession and the diffusion of this information is needed.
SiC’s team would like to thank the conference participants, hosts, and organisers for this exciting experience.