Ceramics and glass conference review

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Rachel Swift has spent the last 12 month on an internship at the National Conservation Centre (NCC) in the Ceramics and Glass section. This is a review of her final major activity - a conference in Slovenia.


a woman standing in front of a mounted poster

Rachel Swift with her poster entitled 'Interned?'

The 4 September was my last day at NCC as part of a 12 month training partnership between National Museums Liverpool (NML) and Icon (Institute of Conservation) funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund Training Bursary Scheme.  Having just spent all of last week, 27–31 August at a fantastic conference I am now all inspired and eager to share my experiences. The conference was an ICOM-CC (International Council of Museums – Conservation Committee) Ceramics and Glass Working Group Interim Meeting, held in Nova Gorica, Slovenia which is on the border with Italy. The last working group meeting was six years ago in Finland so it was a great opportunity for a range of professionals involved with ceramics and glass conservation to get together once again and take part in this information sharing forum made up of sixty five delegates from twenty one countries.  In particular it was an opportunity to meet conservators and museum professionals from Eastern Europe who may normally find it difficult to attend such events. 

Twenty three speakers provided a broad range of interesting presentations on technical, practical, scientific and education related topics.  Complementing these presentations were a display of five posters about specific ceramic and glass conservation projects or related work, which provided a colourful and interesting backdrop to the proceedings.   One of these posters (shown) was about the work I have been carrying out in the Ceramics and Glass Conservation section with Lynne Edge over the last 12 months.  My overall aim was to highlight the benefits of work based training by displaying the range of opportunities availed whilst at NCC in terms of bench-based experience, scientific research and internal and external collaborative projects.  The poster was well received with an hour set aside on the Wednesday afternoon to enable authors to answer questions and discuss the projects displayed. 

The hospitality and the welcome we received from the Slovenian people was astonishing with organised receptions virtually every evening at museums across Slovenia with traditional food and locally produced wine.  The museum hosting the event in Nova Gorica, Goriski Musej, had even re-displayed an entire gallery especially for the event.  From a professional point of view attending conferences such as this one is a highly valuable opportunity to learn, to network and to get to know peers in more sociable surroundings.  I would also highly recommend visiting Slovenia.  As a country the size of Wales with a population of 2million everywhere within Slovenia is easily accessible and from what I saw mainly remains truly beautiful and unspoilt. 

Grateful acknowledgements to: Lynne Edge, Dave Flower, NML design department for assistance with production of the poster and The Zibby Garnett Travelling Fellowship, Icon, and the North West Federation of Museums and Art Galleries for funding the visit.