UCLA/Getty Conservation Program

A graduate conservation training program focusing on the conservation of archaeological and ethnographic materials


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Conservation and Ethnography: Promoting Cultural Heritage in Southern California

Last quarter, UCLA/Getty students took the course “Conservation and Ethnography” (CAEM 222) taught by Prof. Ellen Pearlstein. The goal for the class was to acquaint students with the changing emphasis of conservation, from neutral acts based purely on material properties, to a series of humanistic and scientific decisions that consider the heritage source, its specific communities, the current and future roles for heritage, as well as evolving technical developments for both prevention and treatment. Through the examination and treatment of southern California basketry, students learned about these aspects of conservation as well as focused on the processes and properties of California (and neighboring) states’ native basketry, deterioration mechanisms and conservation treatment methods.

In addition to treating southern California baskets from the collection of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum and the Yosemite Museum, students were asked to imagine that in addition to creating their documentation for the next conservator, that they are creating it to assist Cahuilla weavers, ethnobotanists, revivalists, cultural descendants, or museum board and staff members in using their class project basket to answer questions and to promote culture. You can find links to the documentation they produced below.

 

 

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UCLA/Getty Program Welcomes Visiting Graduate Researcher Caitlin Spangler-Bickell

The UCLA/Getty Program welcomes Caitlin Spangler-Bickell who will be joining us a Visiting Graduate Researcher through August 2017.  While at UCLA, Caitlin will be working with Professor Ellen Pearlstein and Christian de Brer, Director of Conservation for the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Caitlin is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow with the Innovative Training Network NACCA – New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art . NACCA is a research consortium funded by the European Union with 15 PhD projects across Europe, each studying as yet under-explored aspects of contemporary art conservation. Caitlin is a PhD candidate with Maastricht University and is based at MUDEC (Museo delle Culture) in Milan working on a project entitled “Conservation of Contemporary Art and Ethnographic Materials: Relationships, Similarities and Differences“.

While in Los Angeles, she will be spending time with the UCLA/Getty Program and at the Fowler Museum studying what it means in practice to take an anthropological approach to conservation. Her research explores the dynamics between materiality and immateriality and the performative contexts of both cultural and artistic works – particularly altars and installations – and the challenge of addressing these issues in conservation practice.

Caitlin received her BA in Anthropology (Archaeology concentration) and French, Summa Cum Laude, from Saint Mary’s College of California and her MS in Anthropology, Summa Cum Laude, from KU Leuven in Belgium. In addition to conducting ethnographic and archaeological fieldwork, she has worked in various arts, culture, and natural history museum environments in the U.S., France, South Africa, and Belgium.

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