Wednesday, November 10, 2010
TCC Back in Action
Frieze from Botanic Gardens Park, Glasgow
I have the pleasure and privilege of introducing the ECPN to the new incarnation of the Textile Conservation Centre! The TCC has had a long history of scholarship and practice in the conservation of historic and artistic textiles in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately the program closed at the University of Southampton in 2009, much to the chagrin of aspiring textile conservators like myself. I was so excited to see a notice on the TCC website this past spring, that the Centre would be getting a new life in Glasgow, Scotland.
From the TCC website:
"The TCC was founded by Karen Finch OBE in 1975 and was based at Hampton Court Palace. In 1998 it became part of the University of Southampton, in a purpose-designed building on its Winchester campus, but was closed by the University on 31st October 2009. Glasgow University, working with the TCC Foundation, is creating a new centre using all of the assets of the former TCC including equipment, the TCC library and intellectual property. "
Please see the TCC website for the official press release and photos!
The inaugural class is comprised of seven students - five from the UK, one from Canada, and myself from the United States. We have come from diverse academic and professional backgrounds and are now candidates for the two-year MPhil in Textile Conservation. Speaking for myself, it is a bit challenging - but mostly exciting - to be a part of this "guinea pig" first year. All of us scrambled to submit our applications when the course was approved in June, not knowing whether or not we'd be in Scotland in the fall. The TCC foundation has provided amazing support for the program - many many thanks to them!
This semester our courses are being accomodated within the History of Art building as we wait for a brand-spanking new lab to be completed for next semester. Without our "bespoke" (I have learned that's the British word for "custom-built!") facilities available this semester, we have had the opportunity to do practical labs and workshops at the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre - an amazing storehouse for the collections of the major Glasgow Museums. (Their institutional philosophy is one of more open access to collections for the community - so the facility strikes a very delicate balance between controlled store and exhibition space. Check out Glasgow Life for more information on Glasgow museums.)
Instructor Sarah Foskett (right)demonstrating the fine points of acid-free tissue to student Charlotte Gamper at Glasgow Museums Resource Centre.
The semester has already flown by. Visits to Glasgow Museums' Burrell Collection, the Hunterian Gallery and the Hunterian Museum on the Glasgow University campus, and the National Museums of Scotland conservation labs in Edinburgh have kept us busy along with our coursework. In the next couple of weeks we will be in chemistry exams, submitting sample object documentation, and writing final essays for our Material Cultures course, as well as preparing a literature review of research we would like to undertake on a topic of our choosing, perhaps to be used in our course-culminating dissertations at the end of the second year.
Students (from left to right) Nikki Chard, Hayley Rimington, and Beatrice Farmer show off a "cracking" packing job.
Meanwhile, the city of Glasgow beckons with its killer music scene, arts events, Indian and Pakistani restaurants to die for, and charming citizenry to meet out at the pub! City life isn't the only thing that Scotland has to offer, obviously - both the Scottish Isles and the Highlands are a train or bus ride away, offering the most inspiring beauty on those much-needed study breaks.
The author (Julie Benner) visits the Isle of Arran, off the southwest coast of Scotland
I really look forward to keeping the ECPN abreast of the developments here at the TCC and welcome any comments or inquiries about TCC or Glasgow!
St. George's Square, Glasgow
Edited 06 December 2010 to add University of Glasgow link to the program: