Book and Paper

Paper Conservator, Analiese Treacy-Ruane at the Art Gallery of NSW

The Book and Paper Special Interest Group represents conservators who care for paper-based cultural materials including books, artworks on paper (such as prints, drawings and watercolours), archives, manuscripts, maps and plans, and parchment. Book and paper conservators have traditionally also been required to be familiar with a broad range of associated materials including photographs, film, sound and new media, although increasingly they are becoming the subject of separate study and treatment as conservators choose to specialise in these areas.

The conservation of paper-based materials involves research and analysis to establish the history, chemistry and technology of each artefact and its deterioration mechanisms. Conservators must be able to advise on, and carry out, activities such as applying suitable environmental controls and storage methods, the treatment of individual artefacts to repair and stabilise, consideration of the artefact’s future use, approaches to framing, and digitisation.

The current SIG convenors are Alice Cannon, based at Museums Victoria, and Albertine Hamilton, from the State Library of Victoria. 


2018 Symposium

The Book & Paper SIG holds a symposium in conjuction with Photon every two years, plus additional workshops from time to time. The 10th Book, Paper and Photographic Materials Symposium will be held at Melbourne Museum (Museums Victoria) from 20-23 November 2018. There is no overall conference theme, but we’d like to offer themed sessions as part of the conference around the following ideas:

  • Revisitation – revisit a treatment, a survey, a research project, a material, an idea, an era. How has it survived the passage of time, and what does that tell us for the future?
  • The Anthropocene – this proposed global epoch is defined by the beginning of significant human impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems. What does it mean to be a conservator in the Anthropocene? What materials, practices and systems of the Anthropocene are affecting our work and futures? How will we need to adapt?
  • Black and white – from either a material or a decision-making perspective, there are bound to be shades of grey...

Submissions are invited for papers, posters, panel discussions, demonstrations, workshops, treatment forums and tours. Please email your abstract or proposal (no longer than 500 words please) to Bonnie Hearn. Outline the type of contribution (paper, poster etc) and whether it aligns to one of the proposed themes. Make sure to include your contact details, the names of any co-contributors, a one- or two-line bio for each, and a working title.

The 2016 symposium "Light, Colour, Structure" was held in October 2016 at the National Gallery in Canberra (read a review!) and the 2014 symposium at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney.

Need more information? Email Convenor