This week, from the 13th to the 17th of July, the Honours in Curatorship students have been participating in a workshop on Contemporary Issues in Art Conservation. Arranged and held at the Iziko South African National Gallery, this workshop has been instructed by Sanchita Balachandran, Curator/Conservator of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum and Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

The students, together with Balachandran, have collaborated in creating a Tumblr blog, The Thinking Conservator, in order to develop an interactive and lasting archive of this workshop.

The workshop has been introducing students to contemporary issues concerning art conservation theory and practice; and exploring questions such as: How does conservation change the meaning and interpretation of objects and sites? Whose values are considered when conserving an artifact or site? Do objects live, die or have spiritual needs, and how does contemporary conservation practice cope with this? What role does conservation play in restoring memory, human relationships and national identity in the wake of political conflict?

View the students’ and Balachandran’s collaborative site based on the workshop here.