Open Day 2022: a series of firsts

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by Joanne Hackett, Lecturer MPhil Textile Conservation

Well, what with one thing and another it had been three years since the Centre for Textile Conservation hosted an open day and so we were delighted to see over 70 guests to Open Day 2022 on the 13th of May.  Our Open Day saw are series of firsts. It was the first time we have welcomed visitors to our new home at the Kelvin Centre for Conservation and Cultural Heritage Research in Kelvin Hall. It was the first time that all three programmes based at Kelvin Hall have been involved so that students from the MPhil Textile Conservation and MLitt Technical Art History: Making and Meaning programmes were joined by students from  MLitt Dress and Textile Histories.  And, it was the first time that Paul Garside and I had been involved as new members of staff. 

We were delighted to see first time visitors Susan Garnett and the Revd Canon Neil Heavisides from The Zibby Garnett Travel Fellowship, especially Susan who travelled all the way from the South coast of England to join us.  The Zibby Garnett Travel Fellowship has allowed many past and present students to take up summer work placements overseas.  This year they are supporting students to go to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

It was lovely to see some old friends of the programme from the world of textile making. Textile artist and designer, Malcolm Lochhead and his partner, artist Johannes van der Grijp, made a welcome return and talked extensively to students about their work.  Another familiar face was Rudi Richardson from Dovecot Studios.

After talking to several different people, one of the first-year students started asking the visitors what they did for a living.  They said they didn’t know if they were talking to a fellow student’s parent, or to a textile conservator with 40 years’ experience and were mortified after explaining silk crepeline to textile conservator Vivian Lochhead.  Vivian has visited open day pretty much every year it has been running and has a long association with the programme as a visiting lecturer, a placement supervisor, and ex-colleague and mentor of Centre staff.  More familiar faces to the students were Helen Hughes, Maggie Dobbie and Harriet Woolmore, the textile conservation team from Glasgow Museums, fresh from the reopening of the Burrell Collection and who had recently hosted a visit by the first-year students to see the newly installed tapestries.

We also hosted visits from colleagues across the University.  The Head of Conservation and Preservation from Glasgow University Library, Louisa Coles, and book conservator, Keira McKee came by, as did Ioulia Kolovou, the postgraduate administrator, aka the woman who knows where everything is and how everything works. We were delighted to see collaborators from Glasgow Caledonian University, Dr. Mahesh Uttamlal and student Rana Salem, who have been working with the textile conservation staff to look at the effects of bleaching on textile fibres. Overall, a successful day and one to build on for the future. Thanks to everyone who took part!

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