At City & Guilds of London Art School the BA (Hons) Conservation Studies degree course positions Conservation at the meeting-point of science and art – a fascinating blend of state-of-the-art forensics, aesthetics and traditional craft skills. During this intensive, demanding course you will work on a challenging variety of complex live projects, using objects lent by leading public and private institutions. We teach you to manage all phases of conservation practice, from examination, state-of-the-art analysis, proposal and documentation to the treatment itself and future care recommendations.
Our specialism is on the conservation and restoration of 3D cultural objects in stone, wood, plaster and terracotta. Decorative surfaces such as gilding, polychromy, lacquer and japanning and the conservation of ornate frames are integral to the course.
This three-year full time course is validated by Birmingham City University’s School of Art; regular checks by the Quality Assurance Agency confirm the standard of our provision and our external examiners attest to our consistently high standards and results.
First year modules include the study of stone and wood decoration, ornamental forms, gilding, and japanning techniques, lime modelling and plaster casting. You will participate in Drawing Studio workshops involving studies from life and architectural sculpture and you are introduced to conservation ethics, the history and philosophy of conservation, preventive conservation approaches, health and safety and legislation. Stone conservation, chemistry and materials science are integrated in the Conservation Science Module. In conjunction with conservation practice training on specific projects, you will study the history of art and decorative styles with an emphasis on the history of sculpture and architecture. At the successful conclusion of the first year you will have developed manual and observational skills, knowledge of conservation science, preventive conservation and an understanding of historical conservation techniques.
The second year introduces you to modern conservation techniques (including laser cleaning) for stone, wood and decorative surfaces with extensive training in frame conservation. Materials science, the theory of colour and electro-magnetic radiation, microscopy of cross-sections and analytical techniques using IR spectroscopy and mass-spectrometry are also integral to this level of study. The chemistry of cleaning and study of the behavior of materials and mechanisms of their deterioration is complimented by work on site and with artifacts loaned by museums and from private collections. On completing the second year you will have further developed your conservation practice skills and theoretical knowledge and acquired an understanding of conservation project management, including contingency planning, the significance of different approaches to conservation and restoration work, and your own responsibility as a practitioner.
The Art School’s extensive links and partnerships with institutions provide many opportunities for summer work placements and projects and recent successful student placements have included: the V&A Museum; British Museum; Tate Gallery; Conservation Centre of the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside (Liverpool); National Gallery of Art Washington DC; National Museum in Iceland; Science Museum, London; Museum of London; Royal Palaces Collection; Natural History Museum; Watts Gallery, Smithsonian Conservation Institute, and the Wallace Collection. Where a summer placement is not possible you will be advised on alternative summer project work.
In the third year you will undertake up to three remedial conservation projects with objects provided either by institutions such as English Heritage, St Paul’s Cathedral, National Trust, Royal Collections Trust, Westminster Abbey, Wallace Collection or by private collectors. You will study the historical and social backgrounds of the objects in your care, to ensure that your approach to their conservation is appropriate and fully informed. Your portfolio of independent research projects will be supported by our team of experts, tutors who work as professionals across the range of specialisms relevant to your studies. (see Conservation Team)
Alongside your practical projects and conservation reports for each project you will write a dissertation that relates to practical conservation issues that you have encountered and researched. By the successful conclusion of the course you will have a substantial portfolio demonstrating your fitness to work as a conservation practitioner.
Applicants for BA (Hons) Conservation Studies are normally expected to have achieved, or be expected to achieve, the equivalent to 280 UCAS points, for example:
A pass in 3 GCE A levels with one at grade A
A pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and 2 passes in GCE A levels
This educational level may also be demonstrated by possession of a combination of other qualifications for example the International Baccalaureat or High School Diploma. Applicants who can demonstrate equivalent prior professional experience will also be considered through a process called Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning (AP(E)L), which involves a judgment of various work-life and formal educational experiences against the selection criteria.
Applicants who do not speak English as a first language will be required to provide evidence of achieving the equivalent of the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) score of 6.0 or above, with a minimum of 5.0 in all four areas.
WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR IN AN APPLICATION, AND AT INTERVIEW
This course has up to 9 places available each year. We are looking for highly motivated individuals who can demonstrate:
a rational and informed approach to problem solving;
a curiosity about objects, materials and their behaviour;
patience and attention to detail;
an appetite for learning and an ability to focus.
We select applicants according to their potential and current ability to:
fulfil the entry requirements;
gather, research and synthesise information;
critically evaluate their own achievements and recognise areas for development;
evidence an interest in and knowledge of cultural objects and their historical context ;
demonstrate a range of hand skills and technical abilities*
demonstrate commitment and motivation to the subject and the course
plan and prioritise their own time and set achievable goals
*this could be evidenced through craft and/or artwork that you have made
For more information, please visit our website.