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Textile objects exist in countless forms and have diverse properties. They may be very old and come from archeological excavations, appear in contemporary visual arts, or everything in between. Costumes can tell us about the past, such as the fashions and tastes of the ruling elite. They bring you close to persons from different eras.
Textile Conservation
Textile conservation. Photo: Emmy de Groot

Preserving heritage

Flags and banners were – and still are - important symbols of power, solidarity and faith. Curtains, carpets and other furnishing elements largely determined the character of historical interiors. The fact that historical textiles have been preserved is not as self-evident as you might think. Owing to the vulnerable nature of the material, poor conditions and lack of proper care can cause textiles to suddenly crumble away: all the more reason to take good care of them. Today’s conservators however, can also be confronted with degrading modern materials. In textile objects many combinations with non-textile materials can be found.

The aim of the textiles Master’s programme at the UvA is to contribute to the preservation of this unique heritage. Initially, the focus is on understanding and handling textiles, the identification of damage and its prevention.

 In the first part of the programme also manufacturing techniques are explored and basic conservation techniques are trained. Applying these skills to objects, both flat and 3D, like costumes and costume accessories, feature later in the programme. For a textile conservator, knowledge of the world’s textile history is indispensable for dating objects and gaining insight in the development of techniques and forms, but also for understanding and interpreting the complex history of deterioration and loss. Together with material-technical research, this is essential knowledge for making informed conservation decisions.

The majority of the practicals and lectures will take place in the Studio building, but projects on location or excursions will be part of the training.