University Postgraduate Curricula for Conservation Scientists
Bologna, 26-27 November 1999
“Aula Prodi” Piazza San Giovanni in Monte, 2
Both the results of the survey carried out by ICCROM and the opinion expressed by the seminar participants stress that, considering the increasing number of initiatives in the field of conservation and preservation of cultural heritage, there is a growing need for participation of Conservation Scientists (CS) in various activities.
A Conservation Scientist today can be defined as a scientist with a degree in one of the natural, physical and/or applied scientific disciplines and with further knowledge in conservation (ethics, history, cultural values, historical technologies, past and present conservation technologies and practice, specific scientific aspects, etc.) which enables him/her to contribute to the study and conservation of cultural heritage within an interdisciplinary team.
1. Today what are the functions that describe the role of a Conservation Scientist?
- Study, investigate and monitor cultural heritage and its environment with respect to conservation and preservation.
- Define, develop and evaluate conservation concepts, materials, measures, methods and techniques and develop standards and guidelines.
- Provide diagnosis before, during and after conservation interventions.
- Conduct research on causes and mechanisms of deterioration and interpret scientific results for the benefit of the conservation of cultural heritage.
- Communicate the scientific principles of conservation and promote scientific research in conservation.
- Co-operate with other disciplines.
2. What basic knowledge and skills does a Conservation Scientist need today to perform his/her functions?
- A CS must have a university degree (preferably 4-5 years) in one of the natural, physical and applied scientific disciplines (such as: physics, chemistry, biology, geology, engineering, etc.) and a basic knowledge of conservation theory and practice, other relevant scientific disciplines, (art) history, (ancient) technology, legislation.
The skills needed by a Conservation Scientist are:
- To be conversant with the phenomenological approach to problem solving
- ability to formulate and carry out research
- ability to turn theory into practical solutions
- ability to work in an interdisciplinary team
- ability to communicate effectively.
- ability to teach
- ability to manage human and financial resources.
Additional skills might include the:
3. How can a scientist be educated in order to acquire this knowledge and these skills, should it be at national/regional/international level?
There are two possible routes to becoming a Conservation Scientist:
- A postgraduate course in conservation science (preferably two years) including training, practice and research. Close collaboration with practising conservator-restorers and conservation scientists is essential. (An international co-operation in curriculum development facilitated by ICCROM is desirable)
- On the job training as part of a conservation science team and continuous professional development (CPD) by attendance at relevant short courses.
Bologna, 27 November 1999