Postgraduate taught 

Textile Conservation MPhil

Ethics in Textile Conservation Practice HISTART5134

  • 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: No

Short Description

This course introduces students to the core ethical principles underlying professional conservation practice. It considers the continuum between preventive conservation, interventive conservation and restoration, and looks at the national and international bodies whose ethical codes and professional standards shape practice. A key aspect of this course is the range of factors influencing object significance and value, and their influence on conservation decision making. The course also introduces the concept of reflective practice, a core conservation skill.


One 2-hour session x 9 weeks, consisting of a lecture and seminar plus 1 x 3 hr visits to a museum/gallery/exhibition/collection. 

Excluded Courses





Essay (3,000-words) 60%

Reflective account (1,000 words) 20%

Group Presentation (15 minutes) 20% 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce the student to the professional and ethical contexts within which conservation is practised;

■ Give the student an insight into the range of conservation approaches which may be employed and the factors which impact on treatment decisions; 

■ Introduce the student to the concept of reflective practice to inform professional and ethical decision making;

■ Enable the student to utilise objects to explore key concepts in practice;

■ Enable the student to communicate and debate effectively and using correct terminology, in written and oral form, on the issues covered by the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Evaluate ethical context as a foundation for conservation decision making;

■ Critically apply interventive and preventive conservation concepts;

■ Apply critical reflection to deepen learning and gain meaningful insights from their conservation practice; 

■ Utilise oral and written communication skills suitable for the subject matter and context to fulfil both academic and professional responsibilities.

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.