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Course content

Textile Conservation is a multidisciplinary subject which combines academic knowledge with cultural awareness, aesthetic sensitivity and technical skill. This MPhil is both an academic programme and professional training; it will give you a framework of theoretical knowledge and a range of practical experience which will enable you to contribute to the understanding and preservation of culturally significant textile artefacts.

Why this programme

◾If you are looking to enter a career in textile conservation practice in a museum or other institution, or to pursue doctoral-level research in this field, this programme is designed for you.
◾You will take part in a project-based work placement, where you can explore a possible future career while meeting professional practitioners and developing your skills and experience.
◾You will be based in our specialist conservation laboratories. The facilities include workrooms, a wet lab, dye lab, chemistry lab and well-equipped analytical lab.
◾You will benefit from our close links with Glasgow Museums, as well as the University’s own Hunterian Museum. Glasgow’s civic and university collections are some of the richest and most diverse in Europe and are of international standing. You will have the opportunity to draw on the museums’ rich and varied textile collections.

◾This is the only programme of its kind in the UK, and one of only a few specialist textile conservation programmes in the world.

Programme structure

You will take core courses over two semesters in each year, with a work placement in the summer between the first and second years. You will write up your dissertation over the second summer and submit it at the end of August.

The core courses will develop an understanding of
◾the practical skills used in textile conservation
◾related practical skills including dyeing and photography
◾the science underpinning textile deterioration and conservation treatments
◾preventive conservation techniques
◾the technological, cultural, historic and aesthetic contexts of textile artefacts
◾the place of conservation in the wider cultural sector.

Core courses

Year 1
◾Research methods in practice
◾Principles and practice: core skills and ethics
◾Understanding textiles: technology
◾Principles and practice: developing skills
◾Preventive conservation
◾Material cultures
◾Placement

Year 2
◾Principles and practice: advanced skills
◾Conservation in practice
◾Deconstructing the artefact
◾Principles and practice: conservation projects
◾Professional development
◾Research management
◾Dissertation

Career prospects

The programme is at career-entry level and graduates are qualified to go on to a post-training internship or directly into the workplace as a textile conservator in a museum or other institution around the world, as well as to undertake further study at PhD level.

The great majority of graduates of this programme and if its predecessor, the Textile Conservation Centre’s MA Textile Conservation programme, now work in museums and other institutions. Graduates of the two programmes have an outstanding record of employment on graduation and of remaining in the sector. They now work in nearly 30 countries and are in senior positions worldwide.

MPhil graduates have been awarded Mellon Fellowships at Denver Art Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, in the USA, while others now work for National Museums Scotland, Historic Royal Palaces and the National Maritime Museum in the UK and Heritage Conservation Center, Singapore, among others.

However, it is worth noting that many graduates go on to short-term contract posts initially. It is easier to find a textile conservation post if you are able to be flexible in terms of location.

Further information:
◾Institute of Conservation (ICON)
◾American Institute for Conservation

Visit the Textile Conservation - MPhil page on the University of Glasgow website for more details!

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