After my MA in Conservation Studies, I began a journeyman period where I worked a series of contracts as a book conservator for the London Metropolitan Archives (UK), the Archives of Ontario, Library and Archives Canada, private studios, and the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI). I was hired permanently as the sole book conservator at CCI in 2011.
CCI is a special agency of Canadian Heritage whose mandate includes treating artefacts of significance from collections across Canada and the dissemination of conservation information through workshops, publications, and responding to public inquiries. We are also a research institute with conservation scientists that study methods and materials in conservation.
It is a wonderful job. In many respects, it reminds me of my time at West Dean College, as there are conservators from many disciplines: textiles, works of art on paper, photographs, fine arts, objects, furniture, metals, heritage interiors, and archaeology. And we sometimes collaborate on cross-disciplinary artefacts or consult on each other's materials. There are also preservation specialists that advise on topics such as exhibition, storage, risk management, and disaster response. We work with conservation scientists as well on projects of interest and occasionally assisting with their research in our areas of study.
I love that I have the opportunity to teach and to influence book conservation on a national scale. There are no formal book conservation training programs in Canada which is increasingly concerning as the few senior book conservators retire. In my position, I hope to continuously work on my own professional development in order to help shape the younger generation of book conservators that are needed in Canada.