In 2005, an internship programme was established at the Chester Beatty to train and mentor newly-graduated conservators. Since its inception the programme has been generously funded by the Chester Beatty Patrons and the Heritage Council.
There is currently no formal conservation training available in Ireland, so the internships offer unique professional development opportunities for newly-qualified Irish conservators and international students. Over twenty interns and placement students specialising in book and paper conservation have been mentored by the staff at the Chester Beatty. If you would like to learn more please follow our blog.
Alice joined the Chester Beatty as Heritage Council Intern in Conservation in December 2017. She graduated with an MA in Conservation of Fine Art (specialising in works of art on paper) from Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, in 2017. Prior to commencing her studies at Northumbria, she undertook a conservation internship at the Indira Ghandi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, India. During her MA she undertook placements at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, Jane McAusland Paper Conservation in Suffolk, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
During the internship Alice conserved Thai manuscripts and prepared items from across the collection for digitisation. She also developed a keen interest in the materials and techniques used in Indian miniatures, and their conservation. Since completing her internship in December 2018, Alice has been working as a Contract Conservator focusing on the conservation of the Thai Collection in preparation for an exhibition in June.
“Working at the Chester Beatty has been a real privilege and I have enjoyed every moment. The conservation team are wonderful, inspiring and immensely knowledgeable. The internship taught me how to approach new and challenging objects and allowed me to develop confidence in my own judgement and ability. I am delighted to have been given the chance to work at the Chester Beatty a little longer and I look forward to what the future may hold.”
Dorothea graduated from the Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart with an MA in the conservation of fine art, specialising in books and works of art on paper, in 2015. Her interest in conservation began when she trained as a bookbinder at the University and State Library in Darmstadt. Before joining the Chester Beatty, Dorothea worked as a book conservator at the Bavarian State Library in Munich.
During her internship at Chester Beatty, Dorothea had the chance to work on Asian and Islamic materials, which has expanded her portfolio of work and given her new and exciting research opportunities.
Since leaving the Chester Beatty, Dorothea has been working at the Bibliotheca Augusta in Wolfenbüttel, Germany.
“My year at the Chester Beatty has been enriching, insightful and simply wonderful all around. I have learned so much through working together with incredibly kind and knowledgeable colleagues. A new area of objects, their preservation and conservation were opened to me and the opportunities the library has given me throughout the year to continue my professional development have truly been exceptional. I am so very grateful to all the staff at the Chester Beatty Library, especially the wonderful conservation team.”
Cécilia Duminuco completed a two-year MA course on the Conservation of Books and Library Materials at West Dean College in the U.K. Prior to this, she obtained an MA in painting conservation at the École Supérieure des Arts Saint-Luc of Liège in Belgium, where she trained for five years. During the past few years, Cécilia has undertaken several short work placements in various notable institutions, including the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage – KIK-IRPA, Brussels, Belgium and the Oxford Conservation Consortium in the U.K.
Cécilia is especially interested in painted surfaces, illuminated manuscripts, and bookbinding structures, and has been researching continuously to increase her knowledge on the subject. Since the end of her internship, Cécilia has been working at the Cambridge University Library and she is currently employed as book and paper conservator at the University of Manchester.
“I cannot express enough how grateful I am for the wonderful internship experience I have had at the Chester Beatty Library. I have had the chance to work in a fabulous conservation studio with the kindest, most helpful and supportive colleagues. I have had the opportunity to work on incredible materials, and to learn something new every day. My internship has expanded my knowledge of non-western materials, and has allowed me to develop and strengthen my hand skills. As Chester Beatty himself said, ‘It was all a great adventure’.”
Puneeta Sharma graduated from Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts, London, in June 2014 with an MA in Conservation (Art on Paper) and previously studied BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Before embarking upon a career in conservation, Puneeta worked as an artist and an Arts-in-Health assistant for the arts psychotherapies’ services in various NHS Trusts. Before starting her internship at the Chester Beatty Library, Puneeta worked at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge as their first Paper Conservation Intern, and the National Archives in London as a Project Conservator.
Puneeta’s recent interests have developed to include pastel paintings from the 18th century with a focus on the impact of transport and display on the fragility of the media. Puneeta has been working at the Royal Collection Trust in Windsor, U.K. since November 2015, where she is now Assistant Drawings Conservator (Prints and Drawings).
“Working at the Chester Beatty Library was a dream come true for me. From working on Indian paintings on paper and Hebrew manuscripts on parchment, to installing exhibitions containing fantastic works of art and developing my knowledge and skills by taking a trip to Italy to learn all about pigments; the internship truly exceeded my expectations! I was able to develop my confidence as a recent graduate. The conservation team is full of highly skilled conservators who are incredibly generous and supportive, encouraging me to reach my full potential during my time at the CBL.”
Josefin Bergmark-Jimenez trained as a bookbinder before studying conservation at West Dean College in the UK, where she graduated with an MA in Book Conservation in 2011. When she applied for the CBL internship she was working as a digitisation conservator at The National Archives, London.
During the internship Josefin had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of objects from the amazing collection but with a focus on books from the Arabic collection. Josefin also learnt more about pigments and pigment consolidation. In addition to this, Josefin prepared objects for the exhibition Chester Beatty’s A to Z and several other temporary exhibitions.
Following her internship Josefin has worked for The National Library of Sweden and Trinity College Library as well as for the Antarctic Heritage Trust, New Zealand, working with paper and paper objects from The British Antarctic Expedition 1898-1900 (The Southern Cross Expedition). The objects were retrieved from the first Antarctic hut at Cape Adare and once treated will be returned to Antarctica. She has since returned to Sweden and is currently working part-time and considering setting up her own conservation practice.
“I am so grateful for this amazing experience and I feel that I have learnt so much, working with such amazing people. To anyone with an interest in book arts and printing the Chester Beatty offers the unique opportunity to trace a nearly perfect timeline of the history of the written word, from first century papyri down to contemporary art prints, not only through Western and European tradition but through material from Asia and the Middle East as well. I’m indebted to the Library and Contributing members for giving me the opportunity to work with such a unique collection and knowledgeable conservators.”