Conservation embraces many kinds of materials and types of artefact - including paintings conservation, book and paper conservation, stone and building conservation, archaeological conservation, museum conservation, and furniture conservation. In addition there are textile conservators, picture frame restores, clock and watch restorers and conservators of scientific instruments. Private sector ceramics restorers form a sub-set of the conservation community with a tradition of restoration to a higher level of perfection than is usual in the museum world.
The school offers both Bachelor's and Master's programs*. At Bachelor's level students may specialise in conservation of portable cultural heritage after their second year. At master degree level students can specialise directly on entry.
*Update - In September 2016 the teaching program will be expanded to include a two-year Master of Arts in Conservation taught in English.
The teaching of Conservation-Restoration broadly follows similar programs in Europe, North America and Australia. The curriculum is similar to that advocated by the European Network for Conservation-Restoration Education (ENCoRE) and the European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers’ Organisations (E.C.C.O.).Theoretical training and education includes the following subjects:
There is a strong emphasis on practical work at both Bachelor's and Master's level. This practical work can be anything that is not sitting in a lecture theatre or reading a book, but where a student engages in supervised activities either individually or as part of a group. Such activities may include:
There are two semesters per academic year - running from September until late January (Chinese New Year) and from late February until the end of June. Bachelor's students are required to undertake one internship between the second and third semesters of their study. Master's students are required to undertake two placements with a recognised conservation studio in each of their summer vacations.
Several of our Master's students have gone on to pursue successful careers in the conservation of museum objects - either in national museums, regional conservation laboratories or in private practice. Currently, one of our Bachelor graduates is studying for an MA in the Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects at Durham University (UK).