Research Network for Textile Conservation, Dress and Textile History and Technical Art History


Our international advisory panel (pictured) met in March 2011 to help draw up plans for the network.

The Real Thing Conference

'The Real Thing?' The Value of Authenticity and Replication for Investigation and Conservation conference, December 6 & 7 2012.

The culminating event of the Research Network was a two-day international conference on the topic of authenticity, with papers related to the three fields of textile conservation, dress and textile history and technical art history.

Focus of the conference:

The role of curators, conservators, art historians, and conservation scientists has become increasingly complex with new approaches towards interpretation, display and use of collections by the cultural heritage sector. Advances in conservation science provide us with increasing amounts of information about the tangible properties of objects, while the intangible and conceptual qualities, of contemporary and non-western artefacts in particular, also influence our work. The concept of authenticity is one of the core factors driving decision making.

There were speakers from The National Archives, West Dean Tapestry Studio, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Topics included the ethics and practicalities of replication, the impact of different interpretations of authenticity on conservation approaches, cultural heritage online, developing young peoples’ understanding of history and discussion of artefacts as varied as the sculptures of David Smith and the costumes from Gone with the Wind, Orthodox ecclesiastical embroidery and fancy dress, Italian Renaissance paintings and Japanese scroll paintings. 

There were also poster displays on a wide range of topics. 

Download the conference programme by clicking here:

The Real Thing conference programme

Network Meetings

Network Meetings

Five themed network meetings were held during 2011 and 2012 with the aim of bringing together researchers in the three fields of textile conservation, dress & textile history and technical art history in order to initiate new projects and to apply for research funding.  Many exciting interdisciplinary projects were discussed and we already have some ideas for research topics, as listed below, but we still welcome other suggestions.

Click on the meeting header for a summary of the meeting.

1. Modern Materials - 10 June 2011

2. 'The Real Thing': the value of authenticity and replication - 7 October 2011

3. Technical studies: exploring concept, practices and results - 5 December 2011

4. Enhancing the value of collections: investigation and preservation - 30 March 2012

5. Connected histories: making, meaning, interpretation - 14 May 2012

Contact Details

If you have a research idea you would be interested in developing in conjunction with the University of Glasgow, please contact:


Frances Lennard