This innovative programme, the first of its kind in the English-speaking world, offers an integrated study of stained glass and its conservation, meeting a perceived need internationally for a qualification in this field. Our graduates are now leading figures in the discipline in the UK, Germany, Belgium and the USA.
The programme is taught in partnership with the Department of Archaeology.
Our aim is to offer training for a variety of employment in stained glass conservation, but also in cultural heritage management, arts administration, museums, and the administration of historic buildings.
The programme may also be preparation for higher research degrees.
This is a two-year programme, including four terms of taught courses, with two modules per term, a sixteen-week placement, and a five-month dissertation. Modules are devoted to basic and advanced techniques of glass conservation. Other fields of study include the history, ethics and the philosophy of conservation, international issues in conservation, art and architectural history, archaeology, conservation and the impact of climate change, and heritage and business administration. There will be a free choice of art-historical or archaeological modules in the spring term of the second year. In each taught term a masterclass addressing current issues and new research will be conducted by a visiting lecturer.
Leading conservation studios, museums and heritage institutions in Britain, Europe and the United States host placements, providing invaluable work experience, and networks for future careers.
Every other year, usually in the Easter vacation, students will have the chance to join a European study tour, visiting major stained glass sites, and leading conservation practices.
What's your background? "I came from a background in Fine Art, and after completing a BTEC Diploma in Foundation Art and Design, was ready to study a more academic approach to the subject. I graduated from York with a BA (Hons) in History of Art, a degree that I really enjoyed. During this course I discovered a real passion for stained glass. I had a bit of a light bulb moment after visiting Bedern Studio and seeing the work of York Glaziers Trust in action and from that day I knew that stained glass conservation was the path I wanted to follow."
Why York? York has such a wealth of stained glass, and the lecturers at the University are leading experts on its history and conservation. The University is so welcoming, and after having spent three years studying within the department as an Undergraduate, I was very happy with the approach to teaching and the facilities."
What’s the support like from staff and the department? "I have found everyone to be really supportive. It is so rewarding to be part of a department where the teachers know their students well, and where you are able to approach them for guidance. Essay feedback is really constructive, and the marking is very fair. There is a lot of scope for research, and the tutors are very generous with their knowledge and are brilliant at offering advice and assistance."
Has the department supported you in career planning? "One of the most fantastic things about the MA is that for four months at the end of the first year of study, each student goes on a practical placement to a conservation studio. This really is an exceptional experience, and provides a solid 16-weeks of hands-on work within a real conservation studio. This not only provides a huge amount of practical training, but also cements all of the knowledge gained on the course so far. I went to York Glaziers Trust for my placement and worked on some incredible projects, including the Great East Window of York Minster, a new commission, and a 20th century Geoffrey Clarke panel for the Stained Glass Museum in Ely. Other students have been to studios in Belgium, Germany, and the United States, and everyone comes back to the second year of study with really relevant and varied knowledge, which is great to share."
The programme is designed to appeal to a wide range of potential applicants. They may include college graduates with an undergraduate degree in related fields (eg architectural stained glass, conservation, art history, history, architecture, archaeology, fine arts, literary studies). Applicants without a college degree, but with exceptional experience or demonstrable skills may also be admitted, subject to an entrance test. Previous experience in glass conservation is desirable and advice on securing preliminary placements can be offered. Intensive training is offered at the beginning of the course.
Recipient: University of York
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