A new core module on media art conservation is being developed as part of a new learning path for the contemporary art specialisation of the Master’s programme Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage.
This new path will take shape within an enriching learning environment where education, research and practice come together through the actual treatment of media-based artworks in a professional museum setting. One of the biggest challenges in the conservation of new media installations is the rapid obsolescence of the technological components and clear insight into which parts are crucial to the work's identity.
Whereas media art collections are growing, both in museums and private collections, they rarely engage a professionally trained conservator to take care of these complex technology-based artworks. For this reason, the Contemporary Art specialisation at the UvA has included new media art as part of the curriculum since the beginning. However, a core module was never formalized as part of the MA-phase, which meant that in theory students who would only complete the first phase of the four-year training programme to earn their MA-certificate – and thereby not qualifying themselves as conservators – would lack a basic expertise in media art conservation.
To set up a media conservation lab and design the programme we are closely collaborating with Video Projects, Lima and Dutch art museums with media art collections. The current Contemporary Art MA students will be following the new core module at the beginning of the academic year of 2018–2019. Prospective students who would like to enter the new MA-programme starting, having to apply by 1 February 2019, can indicate whether they want to specialise in time-based media arts. This will then be catered throughout the entire four-year curriculum in the specialisation of contemporary art as a special learning path, inclduing work placements.
Project leader Sanneke Stigter works closely together with fellow researchers in contemporary art conservation Ellen Jansen and Evelyne Snijders, both of whom are specialist conservators of contemporary art and lecturers at the Conservation and Restoration programme at the UvA.
The project has been made possible with a Teaching Fellows grant within the NWO Comenius programme.