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Subject: Studentship at University of Leeds and British Museum--addendum

Studentship at University of Leeds and British Museum--addendum

From: Catherine Higgitt <chiggitt<-a>
Date: Thursday, October 9, 2014
PhD studentship
"Breaking the cycle of self-destruction: developing remedial
    conservation treatments for iron-tannate dyed museum objects"
Department of Conservation and Scientific Research
School of Design
The University of Leeds
and the British Museum

The deadline for applications has been extended to Monday 3 November

Applications are invited for an 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. Muriel Rigout from the
University of Leeds and Dr. Marei Hacke from the British Museum with
advice and support from British Museum conservators (Pippa
Cruickshank and Monique Pullan) and Emeritus Scientist Dr. Vincent
Daniels.  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 January/February

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

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 at the UK Research Council minimum
level (UKP13,863 for 2014/15) for each of the three years of study.
Collaborative Research Student award holders also receive an
additional payment of UKP550 per annum.  The British Museum will
provide up to UKP1000 a year for three years to cover travel and
other costs the student incurs traveling to carry out research at
the Museum and other locations.

Both partners will provide opportunities for training and career
development.  Including through a new joint training programme for
all CDA students supported by London based National Museums, the
British Library and the National Archives.

Eligibility: Applicants must have a good first degree (usually a
minimum 2:1) and a Masters postgraduate degree (or other equivalent
experience) in chemistry, materials science, conservation or a
related discipline.  Students must also meet the eligibility
requirements of the Art and Humanities Research Council for graduate
students (see


Further Information and application:

For informal enquiries, please contact Chris Carr
<c.carr<-a t->leeds< . >ac< . >uk> or Marei Hacke <marei.hacke<-a t->gmail< . >com>.
Application is by covering letter and CV and should be sent to
c.carr<-a t->leeds< . >ac< . >uk


The deadline for applications is Monday 3 November 2014

Dr Catherine Higgitt
Head of Science
Department of Conservation and Scientific Research
The British Museum
Great Russell Street
London, WC1B 3DG
+44 20 7323 8679
Fax: +44 20 7323 8276
Mobile: +44 781 4472 586
BB: +44 7812 677 091

                  Conservation DistList Instance 28:19
                Distributed: Saturday, October 11, 2014
                       Message Id: cdl-28-19-026
Received on Thursday, 9 October, 2014

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