NACCA’s fourth training event

Conflict resolution session with Taylor Clarke. Photo: Marta Garcia Celma
Photo: Aga Wielocha
Group photo with some of the conference participants. Photo: Aga Wielocha
The fourth NACCA meeting was organised by Glasgow University and was hosted by the Centre of Contemporary Arts and the Glasgow School of Art. It was the second summer school, and concentrated on the work in progress. During an intense and successful three day programme PhD researchers and supervisors met to evaluate the process and outcomes thus far.

To start off the programme, the ESRs presented their research projects to the EU representatives. The next day the representatives recapped the conditions of funding and evaluated the process. This was followed by a session on data management and a highly entertaining course on conflict resolution skills with Taylor Clarke, which granted new insights into communication and social behaviour. The day closed with a lecture by Ranald McInnes (Head of Special Projects, Historic Environment Scotland) on the rebuilding of the Mackintosh Building after its destruction in a fire in 2014, which concluded with a presentation by artist and reader Dr Ross Birrell and culminated in a screening of A Beautiful Living Thing (2015), Birrell’s moving film prompted by the calamity. The final day was marked by great intellectual activity. The feedback sessions resulted in a vivid exchange amongst supervisors and ESR’s on the research, stimulating new thoughts and confirming approaches. The summer school was rounded off with an invitation to ESRs to re-think and discuss the reconstruction of the Lichtballett “Hommage à New York” by Otto Piene along with Tiziana Caianielle (ZERO foundation, Düsseldorf).

Artemis Rüstau

NACCA’s third training event

Hosted by Tate Modern, NACCA’s fifteen PhD researchers met for their third training event which focused on the theme ‘professional skills for museums & the heritage sector’ from January 16th to 20th 2017.

The winterschool’s programme was tailored to introduce the researchers to the complexities of professional communication and collaboration. Designed to encourage reflection on perceptions of museum practices, all week the group considered how these are changed or still need to change. A focal point of the programme was the question whether the way in which conservation is perceived and communicated within a contemporary art museum needs to be changed and how this can be accomplished.

The group, on the very first day of the training event, had their first chance to present their work in progress to the public in a flash presentation followed by a poster presentation. A sold out event held at Tate Exchange, the presentation day provided an exciting opportunity for the NACCA researchers to mingle with and discuss their research ideas with professionals and members of the public.

The programme of the following days, curated by Tate’s Head of Collection Care Research, Pip Laurenson, introduced the group to an overview of the various avenues of communication within a museum. In a most thoughtful way, Tate’s staff members Anna Cutler, Judith Comyn, Jennifer Mundy, Christopher Griffin, Susanna Worth, Chloe Julius, Rachel Barker, Bronwyn Orsmby, Maria Kennedy and Matthew Gale all shared their expertise with the researchers. They devised interactive workshops on writing on contemporary art, tools for raising the profile of their research, object-based research, and transdisciplinary communication and collaboration. Other instructors lectured on exhibiting conservation (Sanneke Stigter, UVA and Ella Hendriks, Van Gogh Museum), analysing the professional force-fields in research (Julia Noordegraaf, UVA, with Pip Laurenson and Haidy Geismar, UCL), the parallels between the restoration of architecture and contemporary art (Maria Margarita Segarra Lagunes, Università degli Studi Roma Tre), and what it means to be a collector and keeper in the 21st century (Jill Sterrett, SFMOMA). Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, Director of the Maxxi Arte in Rome, lectured on documentation versus re-enactment in performance art. NYU’s Glenn Wharton granted NACCA’s researchers and supervisors a preview and a discussion of his upcoming Reader for Contemporary Art Conservation.

Also, the group was privileged to a partake in a unique experience, the performance Tony Conrad: Fifty Five Years On the Infinite Plain at The Tanks, Tate Modern, and a follow-up discussion with Tate’s team exploring ways to transition this piece into the collection.
This exciting programme, set in the stunning Switch House, provided the PhD researchers with great opportunities to exchange ideas with experienced colleagues and imminent scholars of the field.

Nina Quabeck

NACCA’s second training event

Photo courtesy of Sanneke Stigter
Photo courtesy of Sanneke Stigter

From 11-15 July 2016, the fifteen PhD researchers involved in the NACCA (New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art) project met for their second training event hosted by the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

As with each of the scheduled events, the week’s teaching content was curated to complement the students’ current position in their research trajectories. In line with the diverse backgrounds and focus of the PhD candidates, the training programme covered a medley of topics, including an introduction to UM’s model of Problem Based Learning; the process of artist’s interviews; research ethics; and various insights into documentation methods. The group was able to attend behind-the-scene tours of the conservation studios at the Stedelijk Museum and Rijksmuseum as well as the Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency laboratories. Moreover, they were privileged to receive guest lectures from a number of experts in the field, including Maarten van Bommel, UVA; Gunnar Heydenreich of Cologne University of the Arts and Joanna Philips from the Guggenheim Museum in New York; Gaby Wijers of LiMA; and Erma Hermens and Robert van Langh of the Rijksmuseum, to name just a few.

The week concluded with a presentation by Dušan Barok and Julia Noordegraaf, UvA, in which they announced the launch of the NACCA project database and website, part of Dušan’s own PhD project.

For more information about NACCA, contact the project manager Sarah Melker.

Iona Goldie-Scot

Successful training event for NACCA

Photo courtesy of Charlotte van Emstede
Photo courtesy of Charlotte van Emstede

From 25-29 January, Maastricht University hosted the first Winter School for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network ‘New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art‘ (NACCA). Fifteen doctoral students and their supervisors gathered at FASoS for a tailor-made, five-day training event.

At the Winter School, the NACCA PhDs attended lectures and seminars on the history, theory and concepts of contemporary art and art conservation. They were trained in general academic skills, research methodology, ethics, and data management. In addition to attending lectures and seminars, the participants visited the Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht and Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg, a leading insititute specialised in the conservation and restoration of paintings, sculptures, and modern and contemporary artworks.

The NACCA programme is coordinated by Maastricht University and funded by the European Union. The 15 PhD projects that are part of the programme will each investigate a different, as yet under-explored aspect of contemporary art conservation.

For more information about NACCA , please contact the project manager Sarah Melker.

Charlotte van Emstede