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Slade Methods Room



Conservator in Residence

2023-24: Rachel Reynolds

Rachel Reynolds, Conservator in Residence

Rachel Reynolds

It is a privilege to be able to continue the role of Conservator in Residence at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art. My predecessors have created an interdisciplinary position to engage with students and professors through open communication and the exchange of skills and ideas. A large proportion of this interchange is facilitated by the Material Research Project Workshops and the Lunchtime Lectures, in which I am eager to participate. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to expand my own knowledge of artists materials and practices so that I may be a better resource for students who are interested in the conceivable evolutions and subsequent conservation of their work.

My academic interests centre around modern art and gender studies. I am intrigued by how the historic and contemporary imbalance of non-male artists’ visibility affects and informs their practice, both materially and conceptually. I received my undergraduate degree in the United States from the University of Georgia where I majored in the History of Art and minored in Studio Art as well as Women’s Studies. I then received a postgraduate degree in The History and Philosophy of Art from the University of Kent in Paris. My dissertation was titled “Sonia Delaunay: A Study of Movement in Simultaneous Designs and Its Subsequent Role in the Advancement of the New Woman” which focused on the role of the rising women’s movement in France and how the emerging ideas of feminism affected women’s art, specifically that of Sonia Delaunay. I then moved from Paris to London to embark on the conservation course at UCL. I concluded the MA Principles of Conservation in 2022 after completing my dissertation entitled “Towards a Theory of Conservation Contemporary Feminist Art: Material Traces of the Body and Performance”, which explored the viability of the translation of feminist theories to the conservation of feminist art with elements of bodily performance. The opportunity to serve as Conservator in Residence corresponds with the final year of the MSc Conservation for Archaeology and Museums at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. My primary research throughout the first year of the program has been on pigment analysis, particularly ancient Egyptian pigments.

During my time as Conservator in Residence I am eager to learn more about historical and contemporary artists materials. The Material Research Project Workshops will be an exciting space for me to both facilitate students learning and also expand my own knowledge of materials and techniques. I am looking forward to engaging in conversations with students and professors about their practice and the ideas that inform their artistic choices. It is my hope that through my own education of the properties of artists materials, I can help to guide students’ material selections which will benefit the longevity of their work.

2022-23: Marceline Graham

Marceline Graham

Marceline Graham

It is a pleasure to be named the UCL Slade School of Fine Art’s 2022-2023 Conservator in Residence. Interdisciplinary collaboration is at the core of conservation, and I look forward to working with staff and students at the Slade to continue this tradition. The position of Conservator in Residence also allows me to investigate the intersections between art practice and conservation and hopefully build channels for communication. Participation in the Materials Research Project Workshops will no doubt be a powerful tool for this work.

During my time as Conservator in Residence, I will also be completing my final year of the MSc Conservation for Archaeology and Museums at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, where I previously received my MA in Principles of Conservation. My master’s dissertation, titled “Encountering the Other: Doris Salcedo and the Ethics of Conserving Contemporary Sites of Memory”, was awarded the Ione Gedye Prize for Archaeological Conservation. In it, I explored the ethics of conserving contemporary art related to embodied violence, exemplified in case studies from visual artist Doris Salcedo.

Prior to my return to university, I was Associate Director at Ocula, a digital platform for contemporary art. I worked with commercial galleries both large and small, in North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia to market their programmes to a global audience. I have also worked at Catharine Clark Gallery (San Francisco), the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art (Islington), and the UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools (Berkeley).

Before moving to London, I graduated with a BA in History of Art from University of California, Berkeley. In my honours thesis, titled “Conserving Eva Hesse,” I considered the precariousness of modern artist Eva Hesse’s deteriorating latex and fibreglass sculptures. While at Berkeley, I spent two terms interning at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Artist Initiative, a unique, interdisciplinary department at the museum where I engaged with curators, conservators, educators, and fellow students on collaborative research projects.

As an art historian turned conservator, my primary interest lies in materials: what they are, why we choose them, and how they embody meaning, especially over time. In this way, conservation can be a tool, not just for extending the life of an object, but for engaging with material science and interrogating our notions of significance and allow us to make informed and intentional decisions about our cultural heritage.


2020-21: Kimberly Selvaggi

Kim Selvaggi

Kim Selvaggi, Conservator in Residence 2020-21

I am honoured to have the opportunity to be the 1st Conservator in Residence at UCL Slade School of Fine Art.

I am currently enrolled in the MSc Conservation for Archaeology and Museums at the Institute of Archaeology, where I am pursuing a career in the practice of heritage conservation with a special interest in dyes, paints, and pigments and their use in architecture, painting, and sculpture. As a conservator, I have been given the opportunity to experiment with and learn from a variety of materials. However, colours; how they are produced and used has always held my fascination. I trained as a fine artist for many years and got my undergraduate degree in art history, which is where my passion for the arts stems from. I often create copies of Old Master’s paintings, where I place significant importance towards researching techniques and materials the original artist used in an attempt to understand and replicate the artist’s process and work. My conservation research this year is focused around finding sustainable pigments for both conservators to use in the retouching of paintings and decorated surfaces, as well as for artists to use in the production of their own work.

I am also working on an object that is part of the Slade Archive Project, which will be going on display at UCL in 2021 with other objects and works of art to celebrate the school’s 150th anniversary. The object is a wooden ammunition box from the second World War that belonged to William Menzies Coldstream, Slade Professor from 1949 – 75, who repurposed the box to contain his paint supplies. I am using a variety of analyses on the ammunition box to gather more information about its life history, as well as organising and preserving the contents that were found inside.

I am very much looking forward to experimenting with different materials and techniques throughout the various Materials Research Project Workshops and will share my projects in an attempt to provoke a curiosity in materiality. I hope to gain a greater understanding of artist’s materials and learn new ways of creating with the staff and students at the Slade.