New conservation centre preserves the fabric of the nation

Published: 18 March 2010

Preserving the fabric of the nation’s treasures for future generations, a new textile conservation centre is to be established at the University of Glasgow.

Preserving the fabric of the nation’s treasures for future generations, a new textile conservation centre is to be established at the University of Glasgow.

The Textile Conservation Centre Foundation (TCCF) and the University of Glasgow have agreed to found the new teaching and research facility – the only resource of its kind in the UK – in the University’s Robertson Building. restorers working in a laboratory

Professor Nick Pearce, Director of the Institute for Art History and Head of the Department of History of Art, University of Glasgow, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity both for the University and also for the conservation profession in Scotland, the UK and internationally. Expertise, facilities and the wealth of the collections make Glasgow the ideal place for the kind of interdisciplinary research and study which the centre will promote.” 

Peter Longman, Deputy Chairman of the Textile Conservation Centre Foundation said: “There was such concern over the closure of the Textile Conservation Centre in Winchester that over the last 18 months we have been approached by several institutions anxious to work with us to continue aspects of its work.  We have considered a number of options, but the combination of Glasgow with its world class University and History of Art Department and the unrivalled collections in and around the City proved an irresistible location.

“This is a unique opportunity to build on the UK's reputation in textile conservation training and related research; we look forward to contributing to its future success in Glasgow.”

The new centre for Textile Conservation, History and Technical Art History will focus on multidisciplinary object-based teaching and research that encompasses conservation and the physical sciences as well as art history, dress and textile history. It will be the first time that conservation training has been undertaken in Scotland and, combined with the University’s recent developments in technical art history, the new centre will have national and international impact. 

The new Centre will inherit existing library intellectual property and analytical equipment from the TCCF, so that staff and future students will be able to draw on the key physical and intellectual assets built up over more than 30 years. Students will also have the opportunity to work with some of the best textile collections in the world held by Glasgow Museums, the National Museums of Scotland and the University’s own Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery. New academic posts will be created and the Centre will work closely with the Foundation to establish a global research network in textile conservation, textile and dress history and technical art history.

The first student intake is planned for September 2010 offering a 2-year Masters in Textile Conservation and a 1-year Masters in Dress and Textile History as well as opportunities for doctoral research. These new courses will join the existing Masters programme in Technical Art History, Making and Meaning, as part of the Centre. The Foundation is also offering a limited number of bursaries in the first years of the textile conservation programme and a fundraising campaign is already underway to raise further funds for the new development including additional studentships and new research projects.

Potential students who would like to receive updates on the development and course details should email Tahitia McCabe at the University of Glasgow at:

Further information:
Martin Shannon, Senior Media Relations Officer
University of Glasgow Tel: 0141 330 8593

Professor Nick Pearce
Director of the Institute for Art History and Head of the Department of History of Art
University of Glasgow Tel: 0141 330 5677


The University of Glasgow’s Department of History of Art is one of the largest in the UK and was the highest rated in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment exercise (RAE) with 85% of its research being considered either internationally excellent or world leading. The Department’s research and teaching profile includes all the major European art historical periods but is also strong in decorative art and design history, sculpture, the arts of China and technical art history. It also has a strong track record in collaborative research projects and exhibition curation. The Department has considerable experience of initiating, funding and managing art history research and database projects, including the National Inventory Research Project into European Paintings, Mapping Sculpture, 1850-1950 and Whistler Etchings.
The TCC Foundation exists to support textile conservation research and education in the UK. From 1975-1998 this took the form of running the Textile Conservation Centre (TCC), then based at Hampton Court Palace.  In 1998 the TCC merged with the University of Southampton and the Foundation's role became to support the work of the University at its Winchester campus. 

The University of Southampton’s decision to close the Textile Conservation Centre on 31 October 2009 was met with international concern and, as a result, it was no longer possible to train as a textile conservator in the UK.  The Foundation has been in discussion with a number of academic bodies  about a possible future for the TCC's work over the past two years, and its Trustees are delighted with this outcome.

First published: 18 March 2010

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