Background of the Hamilton Kerr Institute
Statement of Purpose
The Hamilton Kerr Institute is one of the world’s leading centres for teaching and research in the conservation of easel paintings. The Postgraduate Diploma with its combination of academic teaching and closely supervised studio work is, since 2002, awarded directly by the University of Cambridge. The Institute offers internships of up to two years’ duration in the conservation of paintings, providing recent graduates of academic courses in the conservation of paintings further practical training and the opportunity for research.
As a department of the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Institute undertakes the conservation of paintings and polychromy in its collections, as well as undertaking conservation work for other clients. These activities earn income to support the Institute and its work, as well as providing a range of supervised projects for students and interns. In 2004 the Institute was awarded the Pilgrim Trust Award for Conservation for its conservation of the 14th century Thornham Parva Retable.
The Institute undertakes research into conservation techniques, materials and techniques of paintings. The results are disseminated by publication, seminars and conferences. The Institute publishes its own Bulletin. It has published monographs on single works of art; the Thornham Parva Retable and the Westminster Retable. Staff are encouraged to pursue their own research and to seek funding to enable this.
The Institute has the following core aims
- The Institute will continue to teach the Postgraduate Diploma to the highest standards and will continue to review the course to respond to the needs of the conservation profession. Staff will be encouraged to keep abreast of new and developing techniques in the treatment and technical analysis of paintings. The Institute will, as a member of the European Network of academic conservation schools (ENCoRE), continue to review its course for the possibility of compatibility with the Bologna Agreement and the EU credit transfer system.
- The Institute will continue to offer internships to recent graduates of recognised conservation programmes. It will investigate the possibility of turning the internship into a formal course offered by the University.
- The Institute will continue to undertake the conservation of paintings for clients in addition to the Fitzwilliam Museum and undertake research where appropriate. The Institute will disseminate the knowledge obtained through publication, seminars and lectures at conferences.
- The Institute will continue to actively seek funding to undertake research and encourage staff to pursue their own research interests.
- The Institute will continue to work with other institutions to further awareness of painting conservation and technical art history and to collaborate on research and conservation projects.
- The Institute will continue to foster links with funding bodies to promote the teaching of conservation and to respond to particular needs identified by them.