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India Carpenter, 2015/16

BA Conservation, City and Guilds

The past year has been an enormously enriching and exciting year for me, made possible by the Trust's generous scholarship. It has been undeniably hard work, but the variety of work, the superb teaching and the excitement of delving further into a subject I love has made it a very pleasurable challenge indeed. Furthermore, the knowledge I have gained and the skills I have learned have, I feel, put me in an excellent position as I look forward to my third and final year of university.

The year began with more advanced conservation science studies, including lectures and practicals exploring the use of lasers for cleaning.  Study of pigments, a study of an area of deteriorated stone in Southwark Cathedral and a study trip to Venice followed.

Another project was the conservation of a severely deteriorated neo-classical marble funerary urn from Kensal Green Cemetery. This proved a very complex and challenging project, which I thoroughly enjoyed as it gave me the opportunity to experiment with a wide range of processes and techniques such as poulticing with agar agar and consolidating with Nano lime.  A module on wood conservation followed, again with lectures and a practical project - the conservation of a neo-classical frame.

Although the course at City and Guilds is predominantly focused on historical conservation, my real love and interest is in the conservation and restoration of modern and contemporary art. I am particularly fascinated by the conservation of modern materials and I was extremely fortunate to be sponsored by the Drake Trust to attend a 4-day residential course on the conservation of concrete at West Dean College. The course was truly superb.

During the summer I conserved a monument to Wilkie Collins at Kensal Green Cemetery and followed this with a placement in the sculpture conservation department of the V&A. All of which has set me up well for my final year.