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Call for Papers: Conservation-restoration in context

15. Februar

Call for Papers: BRK-APROA Colloquium 2021 Conservation-restoration in context

The 11th colloquium of the APROA-BRK will be held in November 2021 in Brussels. The deadline for abstract proposals is the 15th of February 2021. The contributions should be in close link with the theme of the colloquium. The preferred language of the colloquium is French and Dutch (with simultaneous translation in either of both languages). Contributions in English are also very welcome (without translation). The abstracts (half an A4 page) should be send to: marjan.buyle(at) The proposals will be evaluated by the conference working group.

An object to be restored is generally not an isolated work; it is part of a larger context. To what extent can or should this context influence the conservator-restorer in his choices for the treatment?

The conservation conditions in the immediate environment of a work or an object can have an impact on the choices of the treatment to be carried out, whether in terms of the degree of intervention and / or in the choice of products and techniques selected for this treatment. However, to what extent should the restorer act differently depending on whether the object to be treated returns to a place that meets current climatic standards or not? A museum, a castle, a church and a private residence do not all offer the same conditions of conservation. What impact can or should this reality have on the choice of the restorer?

Likewise, not all places where a work or an object is exhibited offer the ‘neutrality’ of a museum context, if a place can ever be considered totally neutral. An environment with a strong stylistic or historical imprint is not always in line with the style of the work or the object it houses. Can or should the restorer take this immediate context into account in his treatment choices? Where are the limits with such considerations? Should the reflection that precedes any treatment take into account the historical environment or not? Should the inevitable offset which presides over any coexistence of decorations and works of different styles and periods, such as the presence of a medieval object in a Baroque interior, be taken into account in the treatment of a work or object?

Likewise, the context of the work can have an impact on the choice between minimal intervention (or even exclusively conservation) and in-depth treatment. Can the same object be treated differently depending on the environment of its place of exhibition or its function? To what extent is it possible to take into account the requirements of the social use of an object while preserving its heritage and cultural character, depending on whether the restorer is dealing with a museum work or a common object, still integrated into a ritual or used in ceremonies.

Finally, what are the options if the original context no longer exists? Can we mention it? How can we inform the public?

Through this conference, the APROA-BRK wishes to open a dialogue between heritage managers and conservator-restorers, through feedback and maybe solutions to these difficult problems encountered by the conservator-restorer in his professional life.

E.C.C.O. Professional Guidelines (II)

Article 5: The conservator-restorer shall respect the aesthetic, historic and spiritual significance and the physical integrity of the cultural heritage entrusted to her/his care.

Article 6: The conservator-restorer, in collaboration with other professional colleagues involved with cultural heritage, shall take into account the requirements of its social use while preserving the cultural heritage.


15. Februar