ITCC Textiles 2017

textile conservation

Monday, 13 November, 2017 to Thursday, 23 November, 2017



Venue: Hospital for Conservation, the Palace Museum, Beijing

After three years’ of gradual development since early 2015, the third training workshop offered by IIC-ITCC took place successfully in mid-November 2017 in Beijing, welcoming 23 fellows from 12 countries practising in various aspects of textile conservation. Set in the magnificent historical heritage of Forbidden City, the workshop was hosted for the first time in ‘Hospital for Conservation’ located in the northwest of the Palace Museum, which is a centre of conservation studios equipped with state-of- the-art equipment newly opened in December 2016.

As in previous year, the training combined theory and practices, starting with sessions on preventive conservation and non-destructive analysis, and then followed by a five-day programme in the form of lectures, class exercise, group discussion, case studies, recap presentations, practical sessions and demonstrations, as well as collection/museum visits. It was hoped that participants could develop a thorough understanding on different aspects of issues related to textiles heritage. Information of the course is outlined as follows:


The workshop covered a host of topics designed by the teaching faculty:

  1. Preventive conservation for textiles
  2. Non-destructive analysis for textiles
  3. Preventive conservation audit in exhibition galleries and recommendation for textile display
  4. Practical sessions for non-destructive analysis
    • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy/Near Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR/NIR)
    • Ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC)
    • Fibre optic reflectance spectroscopy (FORS)
    • Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM)
  5. Exercise: assumptions & definitions
  6. Object biography
  7. Case studies - biographical model
  8. Exercise: 'Textile' as a Category – materials and techniques
  9. X-radiography of textiles
  10. Storing historic textiles and dress
  11. Principles and ethics
  12. Case studies: Mounting and display of Chinese and Southeast Asian textiles and dress
  13. Case studies: Test and analysis for the textile collections in Palace Museum
  14. Online delivery for enhanced conservation and access
  15. Collection reading
  16. Conservation and display as refashioning
  17. Conservation as redress
  18. Thangka Conservation in the Palace Museum
  19. Case studies: Conservation of Chinese silk tapestry


The teaching faculty comprised eight IIC Fellows with diverse experiences in the field, three of whom were experts from the Conservation Department of Palace Museum:

  • Sarah Staniforth, IIC (UK)
  • Austin Nevin, IFN Italian National Research Council (Italy)
  • Dinah Eastop, UCL Institute of Archaeology (UK)
  • Mary Brooks, University of Durham (UK)
  • Diana Collins (Hong Kong)
  • Jirong Song, Palace Museum (China)
  • Ningchang Shi, Palace Museum (China)
  • Yong Lei, Palace Museum (China)

Medium of Instruction

The workshop was conducted in English, with simultaneous interpretation provided for some of the guest lectures and practical sessions.

Feedback from Participants

"The teachers and the way of teaching were great. They led us to reflect, to question ourselves, to make us see that things that we thought were obvious, are not necessarily. All sessions seen during this course have been helpful. The concept of morning theory classes and afternoon exercise sessions was very interesting. This led us to exchange with each other and allowed us to know each other more...France-Éliane Dumais, Canada

"The workshop was very well organized. I also liked the way the course was structured and the contents were taught: from lecturing to small group work and recaps for the participants’ homework. The session about “non-destructive analysis of textiles” I found most useful as it included a lot of new content/information for me..." Tanja Kimmel, Austria

"I really appreciate the very well organization, the professionalism of all the lecturers and IIC-ITCC staff, it was remarkable and exceptional. The high quality of each lecture, the shared information is really beneficial and interesting for me. The experience and feedback from different lecturers are highly important. The recap presentations were fantastic..." Mohamed Dallel, France

"The interaction with the other participants, to broaden our networks worldwide. All the lectures were well designed, reinforced our own work practices and questioned others, practical sessions very worthwhile!..." Suzanne Chee, Australia

"Most of all, it was a great honor to be able to participate in the lectures by teachers like Dinah Eastop, Mary Brooks, Sarah Staniforth and Austin Nevin. Especially Dinah’s calm presence, intellectual and interdisciplinary approach to the themes was amazing. Diana Collins brought us to see her conservation skills working on fantastic pieces of Asian textiles and Mary’s enthusiastic way of presenting her research and X-ray studies amazed me..." Maarit Jones, Finland

Course Materials

Reading reference, teaching notes and presentation files of the course are downloadable from the attachment at the bottom of this page. Copyrights of the teaching materials are attributed to IIC-ITCC and the Palace Museum. For inquiries, please feel free to contact the IIC-ITCC Secretariat at or


IIC wish to thank the Conservation Department of the Palace Museum for their generous hospitality and relentless preparation to ensure that the whole training programme was seamlessly coordinated.
Enrolment details for the coming workshop to be held in October 2018 will be announced in May.

PDF icon IIC-ITCC 2017_A study on Kesi Tapestry_SHI_part I

PDF icon IIC-ITCC 2017_A study on Kesi Tapestry_SHI_part II

PDF icon IIC-ITCC 2017_Scientific Research on Dye in Palace Museum_LEI

PDF icon IIC-ITCC 2017_Mounting and Display of Textiles and Dress_Collins

PDF icon IIC-ITCC 2017_Non-Destructive Analysis of Textiles_Nevin

PDF icon IIC-ITCC 2017_Summary of Scientific Analytical Techniques and their Applications_Nevin

PDF icon IIC-ITCC 2017_Textile Conservation_M. Brooks & D. Eastop