Charlotte Marriott talks about the SEAHA Conference 2017

The National Heritage Science Forum (NHSF) provided bursaries to enable three Early Career Researchers to attend the 3rd International Conference on Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology. In this post Charlotte Marriott, a conservator based in London, relates her experience of the conference. She is currently the Collections Care Officer at the Royal Air Force Museum, and is preparing objects for three new exhibitions celebrating 100 years of the RAF.

I was able to attend the 2017 SEAHA conference at the University of Brighton, thanks to an Early Career Researcher grant sponsored by the National Heritage Science Forum.

My research into the conservation of books & works of art on paper has involved multi-spectral imaging and I’m keen to continue exploring how science can work alongside practical conservation. Attending events such as the SEAHA conference help me to keep up to date with developments in heritage science, especially as I’m now working with a greater variety of materials. Having recently been appointed a conservator at the Royal Air Force Museum, attending this conference I found out about research that may help solve issues pertinent within this collection. For instance, it was great to discuss with Hayley Simon her research into iron corrosion and with Rose King her work with plastic degradation.

All the presenters of posters, flash presentations and talks were engaging and provided a fascinating insight into how science is being used to approach issues in conservation, architecture, engineering and the heritage sector from China to Poland, Glasgow to London. The key speakers; Robert van Langh, Katy Lithgow and May Cassar focused on the interdisciplinary nature of heritage science and considered the nuances of this relationship. For instance, should heritage science be considered a discipline of its own, or a holistic approach?

After a busy first day of discussions and presentations, it was off for a tour of the Royal Pavilion. Having never visited before, I was completely stunned by its opulence! Our tour guide Mary provided a great introduction to its history, thoughtfully concentrating on the recent restoration work in the Pavilion. A drinks reception at the Brighton Museum gave us all a chance to chat about the day’s session and explore more of the art collection in Brighton.

Brighton Pavillion[747]
Tour of the Brighton Royal Pavilion, ahead of a reception at the Brighton Museum. Image c/o Charlotte Marriott.
The second day of the conference began with a number of break-out sessions, which included tours of the Royal Pavilion conservation studio and of the SEAHA Mobile Heritage Lab. Delegates were also able to see some of the research methods carried out live, such as white-light scanning and infrared thermography.

I would like to express my thanks to the NHSF for the opportunity to attend the SEAHA conference – I have come away with lots of new ideas for my own research and I hope further collaboration between the RAFM museum and heritage science research can be established by welcoming the SEAHA mobile lab to the RAF museum soon!

H.Simon Research[748]
Hayley Simon is researching marine archaeological iron corrosion, by analysing cannon balls from the Mary Rose. Image c/o Hayley Simon.

The 3rd International SEAHA Conference was held at the University of Brighton, UK from 19-20 June 2017. The Book of Abstracts can be found at: http://www.seaha-cdt.ac.uk/activities/events/seaha17/

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