Conservator in Residence
2022-23: 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
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.