Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Studentship at University of Leeds and British Museum

Studentship at University of Leeds and British Museum

From: Marei Hacke <marei.hacke<-at->
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2013
PhD Studentship in Conservation Science

PhD Studentship in Conservation Science at the University of Leeds
(School of Design) and the British Museum (Department of
Conservation and Scientific Research)

Breaking the cycle of self-destruction: developing remedial
conservation treatments for iron-tannate dyed museum objects

Applications are invited for an Arts and Humanities Research Council
(AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD studentship, to be
undertaken at the University of Leeds (School of Design) and the
British Museum (Department of Conservation and Scientific Research).
The project will be jointly supervised by Professor Chris Carr and
Dr. Richard Blackburn from the University of Leeds and Dr. Marei
Hacke from the British Museum with advice and support from other
British Museum scientists and conservators. The studentship is for a
three-year (full-time) or five-year (part time) project entitled
'Breaking the cycle of self-destruction: developing remedial
conservation treatments for iron-tannate dyed museum objects', to
commence in October 2013, subject to final approval by the AHRC.

Summary of Project: The combination of tannins (from galls, bark,
leaves or fruits) with iron (from vitriol, mud or iron filings)
yields rich black dyes that have been used worldwide possibly since
prehistoric times, and are still used in parts of the world today.
Unfortunately iron-tannate dyes are inherently self-destructive and
can seriously damage the materials to which they are applied. Such
materials are widespread in any museum containing ethnographic
and/or textile collections, their preservation presents a major
challenge and deterioration can lead to the total loss of affected
areas. This project endeavours to develop and adapt chemical
stabilisation methods into practical conservation treatments which
could effectively halt the autocatalytic deterioration by arresting
the metal ion redox cycle using antioxidants and deacidification
agents. This project builds on existing research including a
previous PhD project during which large numbers of model textiles
were produced, characterised and investigated. The model textiles of
silk, cotton and abaca are now available for treatment applications
and accelerated ageing studies for the assessment of the
effectiveness of selected protective chemicals. Several promising
antioxidants and deacidifiers were identified in the first PhD
project; these and additional approaches drawn from the textiles
industry will be further researched and adapted into practical
treatments working in close communication with experienced
conservators. The usefulness of the treatments and application
methods for a range of object types (drawn from the collections of
the British Museum) will be assessed using established scientific
tools. Particular attention will be paid to potential issues with
treatments such as fibre swelling, dissolution and physical
distortion. Changes in colour, morphology, acidity, fibre strength,
brittleness, polymer mass and breakdown, iron content, oxidation
state and presence of radicals will be assessed. If appropriate, as
part of the project it is intended to apply and assess the newly
developed method(s) on selected museum objects.

Funding: This studentship covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and
provides a maintenance stipend of UKP14,276 for each of the three
years of study or pro-rata equivalent if part-time. The British
Museum will cover up to UKP3,500 towards appropriate travel and
research expenses over the studentship. Both partners will provide
opportunities for training and career development, including a new
joint training programme for all Collaborative Doctoral Award
students supported by London-based National Museums, the British
Library and the National Archives.

Eligibility: Applicants must have a Master's level degree (MA, MSc,
MChem, MEng, etc.), or other equivalent experience (e.g. year in
industry, employment after first degree), in chemistry, materials
science, conservation or a related discipline. Students must also
meet residency eligibility requirements for the Arts and Humanities
Research Council Postgraduate Studentships.  See


For informal enquiries, please contact Chris Carr
<c.carr<-at->leeds<.>ac<.>uk>, Richard Blackburn <ccdrsb<-at->leeds<.>ac<.>uk> and
Marei Hacke <mhacke<-at->thebritishmuseum<.>ac<.>uk>. Application is by
Curriculum Vitae and covering letter including a statement
concerning the applicant's eligibility for this studentship and
contact details for two referees. Applications should be submitted
to designphd<-at->leeds<.>ac<.>uk by 30 June 2013; interviews will be held in
July/August 2013.

Marei Hacke PhD
Department of Conservation and Scientific Research
The British Museum
Great Russell Street
London, WC1B 3DG, UK
+44 2073238953

                  Conservation DistList Instance 26:51
                   Distributed: Tuesday, May 28, 2013
                       Message Id: cdl-26-51-028
Received on Thursday, 23 May, 2013

[Search all CoOL documents]

URL: http://