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News Teaching the conservation of modern and contemporary art in Peru

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Class of 2010 WUDPAC alumna Sharra Grow leads workshop participants in experimenting with dry cleaning materials and techniques.

​​Support from FAIC and UD's Betty Fiske Award helped Sharra Grow—Project Paintings Conservator at the Brooklyn Museum and a Class of 2010 WUDPAC alumna—travel to Lima, Peru to teach a five-day  workshop at The Yachay Wasi Institute for Conservation. From the February 2017 International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works e-paper News in Conservation: 

As a 2010 graduate of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC) with a specialty in modern and contemporary art and the ability to speak Spanish, I wanted to take on an international service project and was able to do this with the help of the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) Take A Chance Grant and the WUDPAC Betty Fiske Professional Development Award in Contemporary Art Preservation.

In February 2016, I taught a five-day workshop on the conservation of modern and contemporary art at The Yachay Wasi Institute for Conservation in Lima, Peru. I wanted to provide information for the participants regarding conservation, but I also saw this workshop as an opportunity to help create an educational model for the participants to use on their own for teaching in the future. With this in mind, I aimed to not only prepare the information to present, but to also develop and demonstrate a variety of interactive and multi-media teaching methods, keeping in mind that in countries like Peru, professional resources and training programmes in art conservation may be scarce.

All participants at the end of the workshop, standing outside the Yachay Wasi Institute.

The workshop, which I conducted mostly in Spanish, included lectures and activities on topics such as Post-War art history, chemistry, and degradation of common modern materials, preventive conservation, ethical issues in preserving modern and contemporary art, documentation, artist interviews, treatment materials and techniques, and treatment decision-making models. To increase engagement and interactive learning, I broke up the lectures with quick review sessions, several round-table group discussions, small team exercises, an on-site visit to the nearby contemporary art museum, and hands-on activities.

I included two reading seminars. The day before each reading seminar, I gave participants a list of related discussion questions to consider. Paired participants chose one of the assigned readings for which they would lead the group discussion. The readings and discussion questions encouraged debate while keeping the participant-led discussions on point. All participants had the opportunity to lead and have their voices heard. I was pleased with how eagerly the participants took charge of their assignments and at the depth to which we carried discussions on large, important topics.

Workshop participants also learned through small team exercises. After lecturing on environmental conditions, I divided the participants into small groups to discuss a case study in which a colour-sensitive plastic mobile was to be exhibited in a window-filled museum lobby. Each group presented a plan for testing and monitoring the environmental conditions in the proposed exhibition space, devised a method for identifying the artwork materials, recommended parameters for display, and then developed exhibition recommendations for the installation space. While the groups agreed on environmental standards for the installation, each group had a different solution for how to accomplish them.

To read more about the FAIC- and WUDPAC-supported workshop, activities, and participants, read the full IIC e-paper article here

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​Support from FAIC and UD's Betty Fiske Award helped WUDPAC alumna Sharra Grow travel to Lima, Peru to teach a five-day  workshop at The Yachay Wasi Institute for Conservation.

​Support from FAIC and UD's Betty Fiske Award helped WUDPAC alumna Sharra Grow travel to Lima, Peru to teach a five-day  workshop at The Yachay Wasi Institute for Conservation.

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  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489