A Collage of 2021

User menu

2021 didn't deliver the unravelling of the global pandemic that we hoped for - but the conservation profession still achieved impressive things.

We have drawn together a Collage of 2021 - featuring some of our most popular posts - from our event at COP26, to the work of individual conservators globally. If you missed stories from ecological packaging in the Netherlands to conserving archaeological heritage sites in Zimbabwe, or  the importance of the Opportunities Fund during the pandemic - do have a browse of some of the inspiring stories in our list. 

First row (left-right)

1. COP26 and Edit-A-Thon (Glasgow - and in multiple time zones across the planet)

In November, we held our only in-person event of the second pandemic year: our stall in the Green Zone at COP26 where we talked to delegates and the public about the work of conservators towards a stable environment.

We also brought conservators together globally for  the a 24-hour global Edit-a-Thon of the world's largest encyclopedia - Wikipedia, focused on Cultural Heritage Conservation Sustainability and Climate Action themes.
Read more - and watch the film


The image shows part of the Red Chili Group attending one of the Zoom working meetings. Image Courtesy of Ellen Ferrando.
The image shows part of the Red Chili Group attending one of the Zoom working meetings. Image Courtesy of Ellen Ferrando.

2. Solidarity and practical support from the Opportunities Fund while working at home for 20 months (Brazil)

Ellen Marianne Röpke Ferrando is a conservator who had to work from home for 20 months as the pandemic ripped through Brazil. She used Opportunities Fund support towards buying a computer, to participate in a variety of virtual events - including the ICOM-CC/Getty International Program and the 4th Regional APOYOnline Conference.

Read article

Please consider donating to the Opportunities Fund if you can so we can help more conservators around the world. You can make a donation by logging into your membership account on this website or find out more here. 

3. Other People's Secrets...

In one of our most popular News in Conservation articles this year Charlotte Parent writes:

"I have been thinking about what it means for archaeology and museum professionals, including conservators, to access and share images of Egyptian mummies." 

What does this mean for practice, as we agree that 'human remains are not just another artifact'. Read “Other Peoples’ Secrets and the All-Seeing Eye of the Conservator” (April-May 2021 NiC, Issue 83, p. 52-55).
Read article


Image courtesy of Saiful Bakhri

4. Using local traditional approaches in conservation (Bali, Indonesia)

Saiful Bakhri, a conservator at Bali Cultural Heritage Preservation Office writes:

"Indonesia faces a wide range of conservation challenges from education and skill gaps to natural disasters and climate conditions. With relative humidity ranges between 70 and 90%, Indonesia’s cultural heritage is constantly threatened by biodeterioration. Heritage buildings are often infested with agents of biodeterioration like mosses and lichens."

His article describes how Indonesia is finding new local solutions, drawn from traditional practice, including the use of citronella essential oil to remove damaging mosses and lichens.

“Innovative plant-based conservation materials in Indonesia: Citronella essential oil” (with more images: August-September 2021, NiC, Issue 85, p. 12-15)
Read article

Middle row (left-right)

5. Conservation of Art in Public Spaces (Italy, Spain, Croatia, Germany and Poland.)

Sagita Mirjam Sunara describes the three and a half year  Conservation of Art in Public Spaces project, which drew together 17 institutions in five European countries to  develop guidelines and protocols for the protection and conservation of contemporary public art. It produced a multi-lingual glossary, and a directory of conservation materials used in this under-studied field.

“Conservation of Art in Public Spaces (CAPuS) Project and its Outcomes” . (Version with images: October-November 2021 NiC, Issue 86, p. 49-52)
Read article

Restoration of the conical tower in the great enclosure
Image courtesy of Munyaradzi Elton Sagiya

6. Conserving Archaeological Heritage Sites in Zimbabwe

Munyaradzi Elton Sagiya is a curator of archaeology with the NMMZ. He writes:

Zimbabwe is the only country in the world that takes its name from an archaeological site: Great Zimbabwe. The name Zimbabwe is an indigenous Shona word referring to a ‘house of stones'....Growing up in the shadows of Great Zimbabwe’s massive stone walls, the site became a familiar viewscape for me. "

He describes how locals have been shut out from their cultural legacy - by fences and admission fees, and the journey now in process away from Western-informed conservation policies.

“Bridging Policy and Practice in Conserving Archaeological Heritage Sites in Zimbabwe” by Munyaradzi Elton Sagiya. (April-May 2021, NiC, Issue 83, p. 12-17).
Read article

7. Travel by Turtle - eco-friendly art packaging, inspired by surfboards (Netherlands)

In 1994 Hizkia van Kralingen, an art transporter and an avid surfer, received a special request from a colleague at the Kunstmuseum Den Haag. Did he know of an alternative to the wooden crates that paintings are traditionally transported in? 

This story describes the creation of the 'turtle' - and how the Dutch became early adopters of reuseable packaging for art transport. In the light of the climate emergency, has the time come for their widespread use across the world?

 “When Dutch materpieces travel around the world, they travel in a Turtle” by Hizkia van Kralignen. (June-July 2021, NiC, Issue 84, p. 16-20)
Read article

Bottom row (left-right)

8.  Lining of Paintings - looking at now-rare and controversial conservation treatment (Zagreb, Croatia)

The workshop Lining of Paintings, held at the Department for Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb from 12 to 14 April 2021, was organized with the goal to deepen the understanding and skills involved in this controversial but now rare conservation treatment.

“Lining of Paintings Workshop, Zagreb 2021” by Tamara Ukrainčik and Barbara Horvat Kavazović. (June-July 2021 NiC, Issue 84, p. 44-47)
Read article

9. IIC's Student and Emerging Conservator Conference (Lisbon, Portugal)

The team behind the 2021 IIC-SECC Conference introduced themselves in an Instagram post from 3 September 2021. Early career volunteers run our Student and Emerging Conservator conferences every other year from locations across the world, gaining valuable networking and professional experience in the process.

IIC Members, watch the conference films on our Community Site
Conference details

10. Conservation: Now and the Future (Bengaluru, India)

IIC  supported an online panel discussion organised by MAP - the Museum of Art and Photography in India. It explored the contemporary state of the profession – its opportunities and challenges – while also reflecting on the future of the field, particularly in developing countries. You can watch a recording online, and read more in News in Conservation.

“Conservation: Now and the Future” at the MAP (Museum of Art and Photography) Bengaluru, india. (April-May 2021, NiC, Issue 83, p. 7-8)

Watch the films

One of the memes used for our social media campaign (credits: @fun_conservators).

11.  "When you're a conservator in quarantine and get excited that your package of pots arrives broken" (Insta)

In the midst of pandemic uncertainty, innovative practices and collaborations surged in reaction to societal changes.  Conservators needed dialogue and connection between institutions to overcome the challenges of Covid-19. The “Heritage Conservation Learning in the COVID World” webinar was organised as a response to this need by ICCROM, Athabasca University and IIC. (Read the entire article in the April-May 2021 “News in Conservation” issue 83, p. 34-37) Memes generated for the associated  social media campaign showed the organisers, despite everything, retained a sense of humour.

Instagram post from  May 1, 2021

Read article