Conservation & Philanthropy

Patricia Robertson Fund

The aims of the Association of Australian Decorative & Fine Arts Society (ADFAS) are the promotion and advancement of aesthetic education, the cultivation and study of the decorative and fine arts and the preservation of our cultural and artistic heritage.

THE STORY

Founding Chair and current Patron, Patricia Robertson, had long recognized that conservation is a significantly under-funded area of the arts and suggested that ADFAS could make a meaningful difference to this vital work. In 2009 the Association of ADFAS celebrated its 20th anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, it was decided to actively support the conservation of Australian cultural materials in accordance with the ADFAS mission statement and spirit of giving.

Subsequently, ADFAS was pleased to make a three-year commitment to an annual Association of ADFAS Student Conservator Award, providing financial support for outstanding conservation graduates.

Appropriate mechanisms were then put in place by the Association to establish a separate permanent resource to further the cause of conservation and be derived exclusively from voluntary donations. This new fund, known as the Patricia Robertson Fund (PRF) was officially launched in 2014.

Through the fund, ADFAS has supported members of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials (AICCM) with the commitment growing and expanding over the ensuing years.

In 2014, the PRF awarded an emerging young graduate to develop conservation skills within an overseas workplace environment. In 2015 and 2016, the fund was used to further the professional training of conservators either within Australia or internationally.

In early 2017 a new agreement between the Association of ADFAS and the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials (AICCM) was formed. It was agreed that for three years (2017-2019) three awards would be granted annually.

The administration of the PRF is conducted by the Executive Committee of the Association of ADFAS and reviewed annually. Operation of the fund is reported bi-annually to ADFAS Council.

The selection panel is chaired by the current Chairman of the PRF and Committee Members are ADFAS Patron, Patricia Robertson, the National Chairman and National Treasurer.

In September 2019 the partnership agreement between ADFAS and AICCM was renewed for another three years (2020-2022).

The selection criteria of the award:

  • Benefit to recipients’ career
  • Benefit to the AICCM and conservation profession
  • The recipient to be known as the ADFAS mid – Career Scholar
  • ADFAS Scholarships of $1000 would be awarded to the AICCM Student of the Year in both the University of Melbourne and Canberra University course in Material Conservation.
  • This award recognises a student conservator who has high academic achievement and has made a contribution to the conservation profession.
  • The awardees to be determined by the respective Course Convenor
  • The recipients to be known as ADFAS SCHOLARS
  • The three awards to be announced each year at the annual AICCM National Conference in November

An extra ADFAS MID-CAREER SCHOLARSHIP of $2000 has generously been made available by ADFAS Armidale (2019, 2020) to a mid-Career conservator with a minimum of ten years conservation practice.

Mrs Patricia Robertson OAM
Founder of Sydney ADFAS
Founding Chair of Association of ADFAS
Patron of ADFAS

ADFAS GRANTS & AWARDEES 2020

The partnership with the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) is continuing to provide an annual mid-career scholarship that benefits the recipients’ career and benefits the AICCM and the conservation profession. In addition, in 2019 and 2020 ADFAS Armidale have provided an additional mid-career scholarship.

Due to the COVID-19 situation the 2020 AICCM Awards were announced at an online event on 1 December 2020 with virtual toasts and applause. Normally the awards ceremony is attached to an in-person conference or workshop event.

THE ADFAS SCHOLARSHIPS for the AICCM STUDENT CONSERVATOR OF THE YEAR

ADFAS Scholarships of $1000 have been awarded to the AICCM Student of the Year at both the University of Melbourne and Canberra University course in Material Conservation. This award recognises student conservators who have high academic achievement and have contributed to the conservation profession.

The AICCM Student Conservator of the Year for the University of Canberra was Clare Kirk.

Through this difficult year Clare stood out due to her commitment to the profession and her ability to seek out advice from professional conservators to assist with her work. She is currently working at the Australian War Memorial as a Preventive Conservator while completing her studies.

The AICCM Student Conservator of the Year for the University of Melbourne was Lisa Mansfield.

Lisa has contributed significantly to the AICCM over a short period of time. She has served as a branch member on the Victorian Division and is currently both the National Council SIG/Event Coordinator and the Emerging Conservators SIG Co-convenor. She was also a member of the organising committee for both the 2019 National Conference and the 2019 Managing Risks to Collections Preventive SIG conference. Lisa has acted as Treasurer and President for the University of Melbourne’s student body (SC@M) and initiated the SC@M/AICCM mentoring programme.

ADFAS MID-CAREER SCHOLARSHIPS

The mid-career scholarships are supported by the ADFAS Patricia Robertson Fund.

Nicholas Flood was awarded the ADFAS Mid-Career Scholarship

Nick will attend a metal coatings selection and specification course with the Australasian Corrosion Association, to build on his knowledge and expertise in outdoor sculpture and metals conservation.

Nick plans to share this knowledge with conservators locally and has been invited to Taiwan in 2021 (if international travel permits) to lecture on the conservation of painted sculpture in a weeklong workshop held by the Juming Museum.

Tess Evans was awarded the Mid-Career Scholarship funded by ADFAS Armidale.

Tess has been awarded the mid-career scholarship to further her research into the potential of a commercial biocide to treat mould growth. Tess has completed Masters-level research in this area and is currently working with a manufacturer to create a viable commercial product. The scholarship will support further research and product trials.

AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE FOR THE CONSERVATION OF CULTURAL MATERIAL (AICCM)

Alice Cannon is the new AICCM President. Alice has been Vice President and was nominated for the role of President at the AICCM AGM. Alice’s first order of business was to notify the Mid-Career Scholars of their awards.

PRF ADFAS SOCIETY CONTRIBUTIONS

Other positive news, in what was a difficult year, was the overwhelming support of ADFAS Societies. In 2020 more than half of the ADFAS Societies contributed $8977.00 to the PRF. Interest earned by the PRF in 2020 to September was $2407.00 which brought the total income for 2020 over $11,000.

Thank you to all ADFAS Societies that continue to support the PRF, especially ADFAS Armidale.

I look forward to the support of ADFAS Societies in 2021 to enable the continued funding for the ongoing education of Australian conservators.

Libby Davis
Chairman
Patricia Robertson Fund

Grants & Awardees 2021 – 2014

Nicholas Flood FIIC, PMAICCM
Australian National Maritime Museum

ADFAS Conservation Scholarship Recipient

Each year the Association of ADFAS works together with the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials in offering a substantial ADFAS scholarship.  The AICCM offers recommendations of talented and industrious students and awards are granted by ADFAS to assist these students with the costs of conservation projects and studies.

Nicholas is currently employed at the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) as the Senior Conservator – Special Projects. As part of his duties, he is responsible the conservation of artistic, historic and technology objects held by the museum. These objects include painted contemporary sculpture (Cover image), a lighthouse structure (Figure 1) and large industrial equipment.

With his ADFAS Mid-career Scholarship, Nick has been able to attend the Australasian Corrosion Association’s Coating Selection and Specification training program. This course has provided him with new knowledge on modern protective coating and given him the ability to design and document paint specifications.

This has been of substantial benefit to Nick in his career, to the Australian National Maritime Museum, and to the conservation profession itself.  It is through training like this that the gap between technical and ethical considerations can be bridged, leading the way for better preservation outcomes for painted outdoor sculpture and cultural material across Australia.

Pictured here is Sydney’s Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse in 2017 before treatment, and how it looks today after the completion of Nick’s project.

Elizabeth McCartney
Manager, Conservation at Museums Victoria.

2019 ADFAS MID-CAREER SCHOLAR

Elizabeth has been awarded the scholarship to attend the course ‘Conservation and Repair of Architectural and Structural Metalwork’ at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation (UK) in February 2020.  West Dean College is an internationally recognised and widely respected conservation education institution.  In her role Elizabeth directs the conservation program that looks after the Victorian State Collection.  The collection is substantial and varied and it includes a large number of technology items made from metal.

In particular, she is the project conservator for the Great Melbourne Telescope (GMT) Restoration. Erected at the Melbourne Observatory in 1869, for three decades the GMT was the largest operational telescope in the world.  In 1945 it was sold for reuse at Mt Stromlo Observatory near Canberra and after modernisation it continued to be used for astrophysical research.

Wendi Powell
Senior Paper Conservator 
International Conservation Services

2019 ADFAS ARMIDALE MID-CAREER SCHOLAR

Wendi Powell has been awarded the ADFAS Armidale Mid-career Scholarship to secure a place in the 7 week-long Preservation & Conservation of Photographic Materials Course held by The Centre for Photographic Conservation in London, England in 2020. This is a seven week ‘Certificated’ career and professional development course held annually for experienced conservators seeking to increase and develop their knowledge, skills and experience in the field of photographic conservation.

This course will help Wendi to broaden her knowledge and skill base in the field of photographic conservation. The course entails the history of photography and the theory of photo-chemistry and as well teaches practical hands-on skills for the preservation and conservation treatment of photographic materials. It will also enable Wendi the opportunity to assemble a collection of comparative images for the identification of different types of photographic materials.

Daniel Schwartz

2019 AICCM/ADFAS Student Conservator of the Year- University of Melbourne

Daniel is a committed and strong advocate for cultural materials conservation and during his Masters of Cultural Materials Conservation, achieved high academic results and facilitated conservation programs with broader communities.

In particular, Dan led a reorganisation project at the museum storage facility in Bathurst NSW with support from a Grimwade Centre’s Willem Snoek Conservation Award in 2018. Dan showed leadership skills whilst working on this regionally relevant and hands-on project, together with conservation and curatorship students.

Rebecca Negri

2019 AICCM/ADFAS Student Conservator of the Year -University of Canberra

Rebecca has been student representative on the AICCM local council for over a year. She has been active and provided a good link between the organisation and the student body.

Rebecca has been actively involved in the conservation profession and has undertaken internships with the Australian War Memorial and has undertaken significant work on a family portrait outside her regular studies. As well as treatment, this project has involved sympathetic liaison with the family to ensure their needs are met.

Kelly Leahey

2018 ADFAS MID-CAREER SCHOLARSHIP

Kelly is a paper conservator at the State Library of Queensland.

The PRF award will enable Kelly to attend the joint American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, Photographic Materials Group (AIC PMG) and the International Council of Museums – Committee for Conservation, Photographic Materials Working Group (ICOM-CC PMWG) conference and workshop, New York, in February 2019.

Emma Anderson

2018 – AICCM University of Canberra Student of the Year

Emma is in her second year at the University of Canberra and has achieved exceptional academic results. She has also thrown herself into engagement with the AICCM and the heritage and conservation world with enthusiasm, commitment with proven organisational abilities. Joining AICCM ACT Council early in her degree, Emma has taken on the role of Student Representative and has participated in activities with the council.

She has also undertaken volunteer work with the Australian National Museum of Education at UC, the Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre, and the National Archives of Australia.

Sadra Zekrgoo

2018 – AICCM University of Melbourne Student of the Year

Sadra has made an outstanding contribution to the broader community while completing his 2018 PhD thesis on ‘Persian Inks: A study on traditional writing matters used in Persia (15th – 18th CE) through collection of recipes, historical reconstruction and non-invasive analysis of University of Melbourne’s Middle-Eastern manuscript collection.

Sadra’s thesis investigated Persian manuscripts and the re-construction of Persian inks according to historically correct recipes and analysis with non-destructive analysis techniques including False Colour Infrared (FCIR) photography.

2017

The ADFAS mid-Career Scholarship was awarded to Dr Wendy Reade.

Wendy attended and had her paper accepted at the biennial International Conference on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (ICANNE) conference in Munich, April 2018. Her paper related to her work on reconstructing a very rare example of a 3400-year-old Egyptian fresco painted pavement from Amarna held at the University of Sydney Museums. 

2017 AICCM University of Canberra Student of the Year

Danica Auld was awarded ADFAS Scholar. Danica completed her Batchelor degree in Heritage and Conservation in 2016 with exceptional results and continued on into Honours. Her honours project explored the materiality, meaning and potential of community engagement of an unusual secreted group of handmade textiles, embroidered aprons, from the former Willow Court mental asylum in New Norfolk Tasmania. Danica furthered her studies by commencing a Masters in Textile Conservation course at the University of Glasgow in September 2018.

2017 AICCM University of Melbourne Student of the Year

Robyn Ho was awarded ADFAS Scholar. Robyn achieved an extremely high academic achievement in the Masters by Coursework Cultural Materials Conservation. Robyn while working full time with 6 degrees architects undertook country work with the Robin Boyd Foundation as a collection’s management volunteer and on the Carlton United Brewery archaeological site and the National Gallery of Victoria live conservation project in 2015.In the same year Robyn was part of the restoration of Victorian Trades Hall Old Council Chamber Project Team. She also undertook an internship placement with the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology (SPIA) on a significant Chinese mural painting.

2016

A subsidised travel grant was awarded to conservator Alex Ellem a Melbourne based conservator to attend the joint Canadian Association for Conservation – “Association Canadienne pour la Conservation et la Restauration”(CAC-ACCR) and American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) conference in Montreal, Canada in May 2016.

A subsidised travel grant was awarded to conservator Amanda Pagliarino QAGOMA Queensland to attend the joint International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) Congress and International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA) conference “Saving the Now: Crossing Boundaries to Conserve Contemporary Works” in Los Angeles in September 2016.

2015

PRF funding subsidised attendance by conservators at workshops presented in Australia by two leading international conservators. Dr Martin Jürgens, photographic conservator from the Rijksmuseum Netherlands in Sydney and Dr Yvonne Shashoua, Senior Research Scientist in Conservation and Science at the National Museum of Denmark, in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Funding also contributed towards a Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) workshop held at the University of Melbourne which was led by experts from Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) San Francisco at the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne.

2014

The PRSF scholarship recipient was Emily Harris, a 2013 graduate of the Melbourne Conservation Masters Course, as the inaugural beneficiary of the Patricia Robertson  Scholarship Fund. The scholarship enabled Emily to spend several months in the UK gaining an understanding of the efforts of international institutes in monitoring technology to inform preventive and intervention strategies for outdoor artworks and significant heritage buildings.

The Future

The PRF has been made possible by generous individual philanthropy and an initial investment by the Association of ADFAS. The aim of the fund is to provide an annual programme of awards to deepen the knowledge and thus extend the reach and scope of conservators working in Australia. Additional funds were given by the Association of ADFAS in February 2017 taken from nonoperational income to enable the fund to donate from interest only dollars and not draw down from the reserves.

A growing number of ADFAS societies contribute annually to the fund.  Such contributions are greatly appreciated, and this helps towards the Patricia Robertson Fund making a difference to the Australian cultural landscape.

“Even small contributions to the fund will allow ADFAS to achieve an enormous amount” – Pat Robertson

Please direct enquiries to:

Chairman of PRF Libby Davis: prf@adfas.org.au

or

National ADFAS Treasurer, John Griffiths: nationaltreasurer@adfas.org.au