Postgraduate taught 

Textile Conservation MPhil

Deconstructing the Artefact HISTART5097

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course aims to give students an understanding of the manufacture, characteristics, ageing and degradation of other materials used in the production of textiles and associated objects, such as leather, paint and metals, so that students gain an awareness of the problems concerning preservation of these materials and how their present appearance should be interpreted. Students will also be introduced to the instrumental analytical techniques used in the identification and interpretation of textiles and other historic artefacts by conservators and conservation scientists. The students will develop their understanding through readings, case studies and in-class object discussion about material provenance, methods of making/manufacture and analytical identification techniques. 


2 hours per week plus visits to conservation studios and scientific labs

Excluded Courses





Object record (4000 words) 80%

Grant application sample (1000 words) 20%.

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Broaden knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of materials encountered in mixed material textile artefacts within a historical and cultural context

■ Introduce analytical methods to inform collection care and interventive and preventive conservation decisions for mixed material textile collections

■ Introduce a range of analytical instruments used to identify materials and an appreciation of their application and limitations

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ Critically assess mixed material textile objects by visual appearance, condition, and historical and cultural context to make informed judgements about material components

■ Formulate coherent and viable research questions about historical textile objects to engage in research collaboration and dialogue with scientists

■ Identify and select analytical techniques suitable for the research of mixed media textile objects

■ Evaluate the choice and application of analytical techniques in research described in published literature

■ Present information in writing in a style appropriate non-textile conservation audience

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.