School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    The potential role of citizen conservation in re-shaping approaches to murals in an urban context
    Kyi, C ; Tse, N ; Khazam, S (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2016)
    Public visual spaces, populated by a blend of community murals, unauthorised street art, and historic painted mercantile signs, are often the mark of an urban environment that is both progressive and eclectic. Changes in the aesthetic and cultural value of these urban mural forms have led to an increase in the appreciation and, in some instances, promotion of their artistic merit and cultural significance as examples of public art. However, examining the significance of these works, with a view to implementing a conservation approach is problematic. This is due to a number of practical and theoretical considerations that are primarily a result of the ephemeral existence of urban murals outside conventional exhibition spaces, and issues associated with their often fragmented ownership and uncertain authorship. Consequently, larger thinking on the interpretation, conservation assessment, and advocacy for the conservation of urban murals are required. Key to defining and implementing such strategies is contextualising the public visual spaces that these murals occupy and, as part of this, the local and wider communities’ perception of these murals as culturally significant objects as well as fostering awareness and understanding of appropriate measures aimed at their conservation. This paper examines the role of citizen science, or crowd-sourcing, of local community members in establishing a conservation dialogue and generating conservation- relevant data on urban murals. It looks specifically at a project involving a collection of in situ historic painted mercantile signs — also known as ghost signs — in the City of Port Phillip, Melbourne, Australia. The project fostered the establishment of an informed and open dialogue between conservation specialists and participants from the local community on the significance of local ghost signs whilst transferring knowledge on conservation processes and assessment methods. Working directly with community members, a programme was designed in which conservation and community knowledge of these urban art forms, could be collected and exchanged across digital platforms. This enabled researchers to examine how citizen science can be utilised as a research tool as well as a means to advocate for the conservation of collections of urban murals. It created the opportunity to consider the role of non-specialists and shared authorities in the collection and collation of conservation- relevant data and how information generated from what we call citizen conservation projects, can inform the way in which conservators evaluate and prioritize the conservation of urban cultural heritage. The data gathered and interpreted proved to be the most effective means of ‘conserving’ these often ephemeral forms of cultural material.
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    Interviewing artists exhibited in The Field (1968): The use of acrylic paints in a seminal exhibition of Australian colour field painting
    Rajkowski, R ; Tse, NA ; Rozentals, B (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2016-01-01)
    Artist's interviews are a timely and important historical record of the technical significance of Australian colour field painting. The findings correlate and corroborate ongoing conservation research into the works featured in The Field, providing evidence to support the take-up and distribution of early acrylic paints in Australia. Overall, the artists' responses demonstrate a range of working methods and choice of materials. Col Jordan and Alun Leach-Jones were found to be fairly consistent with their choice of acrylic brands and technique, while other artists, like Ron Robertson-Swann, were more flexible and experimental in their approach. PVAC (polyvinyl acetate) paints were used along with, or in place of, acrylic emulsion paints for practical and economic reasons, revealing the challenges involved with investigating acrylic paints which emerged alongside a variety of other synthetic paints. These interviews reinforce the value of conservation enquiry to the field of art history and exhibition development.
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    Artists’ interviews and their use in conservation: reflections on issues and practices
    Cotte, S ; TSE, N ; Inglis, A (Routledge - Taylor & Francis, 2016-12-21)
    Artists’ interviews are widely used in the conservation of contemporary art. Best practice is detailed in recent publications, conferences and workshops, however, there is little information on how to analyse the data collected, and the issues related to the dissemination and future access to the content. This article examines various techniques of analysis appropriated from qualitative research in the social sciences, and relates them to the intended uses of interviews in conservation. Drawing on a case study that involved interaction with an artist over several years, including interviews and informal conversations, this article argues that a conservators’ specific skills set has the capacity to interpret the findings and to understand the creative processes. It also highlights the importance of reflexivity and the public circulation of this interpretation, which is essential for the development of a sustainable practice of artists’ interviews in conservation.
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    Editorial: AICCM Bulletin 2018 Vol 39 Issue 1
    Tse, N (Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2018-01-02)
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    Editorial: AICCM Bulletin 2019 Vol 40 Issue 2
    Tse, N (Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2019-07-03)
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    Editorial [AICCM Bulletin, vol.43 no.2]
    Tse, N (Taylor & Francis, 2022)
    Dialogues around universal ‘best’ practices in conservation are challenging as are demarkations between the East and West, Europe and Asia, and the global north and south. Institutions, networks of care and materials conservation professionals have thereby struggled with ‘a long-standing epistemological debate about the nature of knowledge and expertise between dominant positivist and alternative non-positivist approaches’ (Beebeejaun et al. Citation2013, p. 2). What works in various geographical contexts is poised against an inherent tension between object centred and scientific processes, to those that are value based and socially situated alongside differences in institutional cultures, developmental histories and disciplinary leader’s foci.
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    Editorial [AICCM Bulletin, 41(2)]
    Tse, N (Taylor & Francis, 2020-04-02)
    Papers in this volume focus on geographic locations drawn from Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Eastern borders of Australia. In these parts of the world, we all know that there is a long record of active use and conservation of material culture through traditional systems, while the professionalised practice of conservation engendered by its existence, has a relatively recent history.
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    Our chemical cultural heritage: Hartung (1893-1979)
    NEL, P (Royal Australian Chemical Institute, 2010)
    The history and evolution of the chemical cultural heritage of Australia is discussed. The dream of Ernst Johannes Hartung for the establishment of a new purpose-built building for chemistry at the University of Melbourne was finally realized.
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    Our Chemical cultural heritage: Masson and Rivett (1885-1961)
    NEL, P (Royal Australian Chemical Institute, 2010)
    A new phase for chemistry at the University of Melbourne began in 1886, featuring David Masson and Albert Rivett, who also had instrumental roles in the birth of CSIRO.