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Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Image credit Bob Leitch, Winterthur).
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The Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC) is pleased to highlight the accomplishments of our incoming first-year students, the Class of 2024. We value the skill and expertise they will bring to the Program and our profession. The students of the Class of 2023 recognize that their paths to admission at WUDPAC relied heavily on volunteer-based internships, minimally paid jobs, and relocations without financial support. WUDPAC is reviewing many internal practices, including the admissions process, and is committed to creating a more inclusive and equitable conservation education and training program. We encourage our cultural heritage sector to continue and strengthen their efforts to move away from unpaid labor and under-paid labor as prerequisites to work in the field. These barriers discourage diversity in the cultural heritage sector, the kind of diversity that our communities and cultural collections deserve.
Members of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC) Class of 2024 have lived and worked in locations across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The ten fellows have completed pre-program experiences around the world at over forty institutions, including museums, private practices, and libraries. Their diverse backgrounds and experiences in the cultural heritage field have allowed them to develop well-rounded skill sets and a variety of research interests. They are committed to conserving cultural heritage by prioritizing critical and collaborative thinking and action.
The fellows have worked with a wide range of artifacts and media. They have treated photographs, textiles, objects, books, prints, paintings, wallpaper, glass, outdoor sculptures, furniture, frames, murals, and time-based media artworks. Highlights include participation in the Hurricane Irma disaster response and the treatments of a Moai on Easter Island and a Peruvian fly whisk of human hair. In addition to their involvement in conservation projects, the incoming class brings an array of academic experiences including studies in art history, studio art, art conservation, languages, chemistry, and anthropology. The fellows have conducted research on artists' materials, varnished wall maps, a 12th-century Khmer Cambodian ceremonial vase, and drawings by Rembrandt. The incoming class is passionate about the care of tangible artifacts and is also invested in conservation advocacy, public outreach, and engagement with historically overlooked communities and narratives. To increase diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) in the field, some fellows have collaborated with Indigenous communities and worked to foster safe and brave spaces for BIPOC professionals. They have expanded awareness of the field to the general public through professional presentations, public conservation treatments, lab tours, and social media. The fellows are actively contributing to the conservation field at large through presentations in the American Institute for Conservation's (AIC) Annual Meetings and are involved within AIC as Regional Liaisons and Board Members to the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network. In addition to AIC, they are active in various professional organizations, including the American Alliance of Museums, the Chicago Area Conservation Group, the Midwest Regional Conservation Guild, the Virginia Conservation Association, and the Washington Conservation Guild. The pandemic has brought many challenges to these emerging conservators as they juggled changes to pre-program internships and their personal lives. During the past year, they remained active in the field through on-site work (when possible), book clubs, science projects, mock treatments, and reproducing artistic processes. While the difficulties of the past year have been challenging, they have also provided the fellows with opportunities to explore the responsibilities of cultural heritage conservation beyond treatment by engaging in imaginative forms of virtual outreach and education.
Apart from conservation work, these fellows are passionate about the arts—many are practicing artists themselves and have exhibited their work in ceramic, painting, and photography shows. In their spare time, they can be found listening to podcasts, traveling, playing video games, cooking, playing sports, eating pizza, and drinking bubble tea.
As WUDPAC fellows, the Class of 2024 will continue to bridge the gaps between art history, art, and science by expanding their knowledge of practical conservation and ethical considerations. They look forward to learning from the diverse experiences of the faculty and broader network of professionals in order to conserve and promote the importance of cultural heritage. Over the next three years and beyond, the fellows will contribute to the evolution of the field through their commitment to making conservation more accessible, inclusive, and sustainable. Please join us in welcoming the incoming WUDPAC Class of 2024: Adriana Benavides (Towson University), Brianna Bosley (University of Arizona), Daniella Briceno Villamil (Appalachian State University), Mackenzie Fairchild (Marist College), Tammy Hong (Syracuse University), Johanna Pinney (University of Delaware), Miriam-Helene Rudd (University of Delaware), Caroline Shaver (University of Michigan - Ann Arbor), Ashley Stanford (University of Texas at Austin), and Katarina Stiller (California State University - Long Beach). The class of 2024 looks forward to learning from the WUDPAC faculty and visiting professors, and to collaborating with fellow students in order to preserve cultural heritage for years to come!
Class of 2021 Download PDF
Class of 2022 Download PDF
Class of 2023 Download PDF (in Spanish)
Class of 2024 bios will be posted once the students arrive in Delaware to begin their studies.