Art Conservation Initiative

The Tata Trusts Art Conservation Initiative proposes to establish, develop and strengthen art conservation centres in five zonal locations across India, and create a cohort of trained conservators. It also aims at establishing a Master’s degree in Art Conservation at an Indian University.

Currently run across five zonal institutes for a pilot period of four years, the key objectives of the project have been to strengthen each institution by:
  • Establishing and/or furthering development in conservation centres at each zonal institute
  • Hiring and training of conservators
  • Conducting field surveys in collections/museums in the neighbouring states of each zonal institute
  • Conducting at least two material conservation workshops/training courses at each zonal institute
  • With only one Master’s degree in Art Conservation currently being offered at the National Museum Institute in Delhi, the Tata Trusts Art Conservation Initiative will help bridge this gap by establishing another Master’s degree in Art Conservation. With a strong focus on praxis and theory, the modules will offer holistic training that will build a batch of conservators that are not just technically sound, but also adept at handling conservation projects.

    At the end of the four-year pilot period, the Art Conservation Initiative will have trained top-notch conservators, established laboratories around the country, enabled a uniform model of practice in the field, fostered collaboration between institutes, and opened up employment opportunities in the field of art conservation.

    Coverage of the programme

    This initiative aims for a pan-India presence, and therefore the selection and partnership with the five zonal institutes was a crucial initial step in the programme. The following institutes are partnering on the Tata Trusts Art Conservation Initiative:

    1) Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai (Western Zone);
    2) Mehrangarh Museum Trust (MMT), Jodhpur (North-West Zone);
    3) Himalayan Society for Heritage & Art Conservation (HIMSHACO), Nainital (Northern, Mountain Zone);
    4) Anamika Kala Sangam Trust (AKST), Kolkata (Eastern Zone);
    5) Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Bangalore (Southern Zone)
    6) Academic Institution (TBD)

    In addition to the conservation care and management of the parent institute’s collection, they will conduct training courses in conservation of specific materials that will be open for practising conservators across the country to attend. The materials covered in these courses will be Paper (Illustrated Manuscripts & Prints, Drawings, Maps), Metals, Textiles, Oil Paintings, Wall Paintings, Panel Paintings, Stone, Wood and Photography. The materials covered in these courses are Paper (Illustrated Manuscripts & Prints, Drawings, Maps), Metals, Textiles, Oil Paintings, Wall Paintings, Natural History Specimens, Stone, Wood and Photography. The conservators graduating from these courses will add to the network of art conservation professionals in India. The directory of these conservators can be accessed here.

    Through these training courses being conducted across five institutes, as well as through the ongoing work at the conservation centres, data and information was collated pertaining to damages and deteriorations commonly seen in art objects of specific materials to help conservators in charting appropriate treatment plans for their objects. For a conservator understanding the damage or deterioration of the object at hand is a crucial first step in its conservation treatment. With the information and data available through the Art Conservation Initiative, as well as through data generated in previous Trusts-supported projects, a Listing of Damages for reference in Art Conservation was compiled. The chapters of this handbook are specific to certain materials to aid conservators across India and help build documentation on art conservation.

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