University of Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall Study Centre benefits from major grant in new technology
Researchers at University of Glasgow have benefitted from a major grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to help upgrade advanced analytical and imaging instrumentation.
The Glasgow grant of £415,000 is part of the £15m AHRC’s Capability for Collections (CapCo) Fund to help secure the future of the UK’s galleries, libraries, archives, and museums.
The funding for University of Glasgow project, Equipping the Vision of Kelvin Hall, will be used to integrate and enhance provision in the world-class research and teaching of Cultural Heritage Science and Conservation at the University of Glasgow.
The upgraded and state-of-the-art instrumentation includes a suite of specialised high-resolution microscopes with enhanced wavelength range, mapping and digital capability, an imaging FTIR for mapping multi-layered painted/coated surfaces, and instruments for non-invasive: pigment analysis, surface relief and texture characterisation, and light fade testing of objects.
The Equipping the Vision of Kelvin Hall project is led by Professor Christina Young, the principal investigator, and Dr John Faithfull of The Hunterian, who is co-investigator.
Professor Young, Professor of Conservation and Technical Art History, at the College of Arts, said: “The University of Glasgow holds one of the most significant research collections in Scotland, encompassing The Hunterian, one of the world's leading university museums, and the Archives & Special Collections which hold vast world-class collections in our university library.”
“The grant has allowed us to upgrade and refurbish our equipment in Kelvin Hall. It will help consolidate our world-class research capability and teaching resources, as well as being a catalyst for further interdisciplinary research, care and access to cultural heritage in and outwith of own University collections.
Professor Christopher Smith, Executive Chair of AHRC said: "Galleries, libraries, archives and museums are the bedrock of our culture and heritage economy, anchoring us to our past and pointing to innovation to safeguard our future.
“As these institutions are increasingly vulnerable, it is essential that we invest in the research facilities that drive their success.
“Working alongside institutions that define our cultural sector, Capability for Collections is a £15 million investment which will modernise these spaces and serve modern communities for generations.”
The Equipping the Vision of Kelvin Hall project is of particular importance to the University of Glasgow within the College of Arts’ Kelvin Centre for Conservation and Cultural Heritage Research, Archaeology, The Hunterian, and Archives & Special Collections (ASC).
With a state-of-the-art collections store, object study rooms, teaching and research labs, conservation and digitisation studios, the Study Centre is the first purpose-designed facility in the Higher Education sector offering innovative object-based research, teaching, and training. It represents a transformational partnership between the University, City of Glasgow, and the National Library of Scotland. For an interim period, it is hosting the Kelvin Centre which will move into an adjacent space within Kelvin Hall, in the near future.
Co-location of the equipment, alongside cultural heritage collections and diverse specialist academic expertise at the University has created a unique facility for the development of heritage science.
This has already led to identification of Pacific barkcloth for The Hunterian and Kew Garden collections; discovery of polychromies on the Distance Stones on the Antonine Wall; as well as comparative analysis of Scottish Landscape painting, which compliments the Old Ways New Roads Virtual Exhibition presently taking place at The Hunterian.
World Class Labs Funding Scheme
In January, UKRI announced a £213m World Class Labs funding scheme. The funding made through eight of UKRI’s constituent research councils, covers investments in all disciplines from physical sciences to arts and humanities.
This includes a landmark £15m Capability for Collections (CapCo) Fund investment in the arts and humanities which will go to securing the future of the UK’s galleries, libraries, archives, and museums.
Capability for Collections (CapCo) Fund, part of the World Class Labs project recognises that galleries, libraries, archives, and museums are the bedrock of our culture and heritage economy, anchoring us to our past and pointing to the future.
The Capability for Collections fund will go to improving the back of house spaces that drive the success of these institutions and to supporting the staff who diligently maintain these spaces.
About the Arts and Humanities Research Council
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), funds internationally outstanding independent researchers across the whole range of the arts and humanities: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages and literature, music, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. The quality and range of research supported by AHRC works for the good of UK society and culture and contributes both to UK economic success and to the culture and welfare of societies across the globe.You can find out more information via ahrc.ukri.org or following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress or Facebook at AHRC.
First published: 7 June 2021