Thursday, October 29, 2015

.. as a Getty Scholar


How often in your professional career have you been told .. “Be selfish” this time is your time to do research! Well I’ve now been here at the Getty as a Scholar at GCI for 6 weeks out of my 3 month stint. I have heard this mantra for some time now.. Today from the head of GCI and yes they’ll  mean it.. Because if you are here e for 3 month you can get amazing things done - but - you do need to be selfish. 3 months is not long but.. it is long enough and can spread the projects further.

I mean how often can you ignore emails and just bury your head in a supurb real and virtual library ignoring all else? How often can you ask staff if you can talk about analysis possibilities and get a . "Yes once I return from *** ". we will talk as that sounds interesting. This place is - buzzing with activity. And ideas.

Then that night its a scholar “potluck” dinner so you have to provide something. Preferably edible. Eventually you end up in a heated discussion on the pros and cons of open source access to data with a bunch of art historians. Magic.

We did not agree but did debate -

The opportunity to actually ignore the world for 3 months and focus on “one” project is magic. The Getty program is amazing as it on brings together artists, art history scholars and conservators under one roof of the scholar housing. Interchange is going to happen. no matter.

As a modern metals conservator who specialises in technology objects I feel very privileged to be here - I am not from the art world - but I do not feel out of place. The digital scholarship push unites us in ways we could never have seen a decade ago. It’s magic.

This makes the potluck dinners magic and eventful as we debate the end of academic process as we know it …. currently

Thank you Getty.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The conservation Oxide and Conversion coated metals

I’ve been lucky enough to get some time at the Getty Conservation Institute to carry out the following projects. Thank you Getty Foundation for the funding.

I will update progress on this page.

The characterisation and conservation of conversion coatings on modern metals

Project description

The project came out of a desire to update the 1993 article by Adams and Hallam and the obvious need that was seen during the Aluminum Conference in April 2014 for a guide to the identification of coatings on modern metals.

Expected outcomes

Hence the project aims to;

  • Produce a review article on the conservation of oxide coatings on Modern Metals

  • Construct an article on the history and technology of oxide coatings on modern metals  aimed at the objects conservation community.

  • Produce a identification flow chart which could be developed into an online decision aid.


  • Review relevant literature.

  • Survey the needs of the conservation community the online surveys.

  • Gather published, unpublished and historical information into a bibliographic database

  • Write review articles (Getty)

  • Publish review articles  

  • Look for information in parallel field such as military and forensic sciences.

  • Develop and test decision tree both in workshops and online. (Getty)

  • Publish decision tree in an online form

Project contribution to the advancement of the field

The awareness of oxide coatings importance to the aesthetic and function of modern metals in the conservation and curatorial fields is still minimal. Traditional techniques are still used to conserve steel, zinc and aluminium.

The ability to understand, recognize and conserve such coating will be useful in the following fields;

  • art conservation

  • technology conservation

  • architecture

  • historic objects

Materials and Products a updated list

Links Zi400 detergent Penrite Classic Medium https://www....