Monday, October 31, 2022 - 00:00

Somewhat to one's own amazement, the Institute's postgraduate programme finds itself in its 5th season already! Given the headlong bustle of the past five years, general correspondence outside of the postgraduate programme has admittedly been rare. We hope to remedy that:

An article, recently published in the June/July issue of the International Institute for Conservation's (IIC) magazine, News in Conservation, lends occasion to share a few snippets and observations from our campus perch: Find the extracted, 3-page article attached below this notice. If you would like to peruse the magazine in its entirety (30Mb), you can find this popular vocational publication at https://issuu.com/nic_iiconservation/docs/nic-magazine-june-july-2022.

But there is also more compelling news to share: The Institute's academic programme resumed during recent weeks with the launch of the much anticipated blended learning programme. A few snapshots from mid-May's orientational, on-campus session are also attached for your interest and insight. This exciting, new presentation format aims to be a far-reaching exemplar - specifically conceptualized for this highly technical field of deployment. By combining deeply embedded, technical expertise and experience with the efficiencies and ever-growing reach of technological means, the blended learning format seeks to pioneer an updated model for present-day conservation education - one that promises to hold interest for both students and educators.

Seven students have been admitted to the inaugural cycle, currently underway. A second cycle (with an overlapping, fresh intake) shall start in January of next year: In addition to accommodating full-time postgraduate students from South Africa and abroad, upcoming cycles of this blended, distance + contact learning programme will also permit the admission of a modest number of "occasional students". Such occasional/special students will primarily be admitted from the ranks of established, mid-career practitioners wishing to tactically pursue selected modules only. For such non-programme students, prior completion of the Institute's preparatory, 4-month, online Chemistry bridging course nonetheless remains a firm prerequisite for securing entry to the postgraduate programme's introductory module, Conservation Theory & Skills. The CTS module, in turn, marks the 2nd and conclusive prerequisite for participation in any of the subsequent modules on conservation specialisms.

While the standard blended learning format (as compared to the one-year, resident, purely contact learning mode) extends the nominally one-year contact programme over somewhat more than two years, an additional, decelerated cycle of the blended learning mode will be introduced in January: This presentation mode achieves a further reduction in tempo: By unfolding itself at 60% of the standard tempo, it distributes the study burden over a total of 3 - 4 years: This additional reduction in tempo also meaningfully moderates the student's tuition fees - much lightening the burden during any particular semester or year.

The decelerated, 2023 blended learning programme calendar may be viewed here. The student candidate should note that only calendar weeks marked in red actually require the student's on-campus presence in Twee Riviere, while tuition during the balance of programme weeks are accomplished via online, Moodle / Zoom-based interactive lectures (once-weekly), live video discussions, demonstrations and ongoing assignments. Despite the much reduced pace, prospective students should nonetheless note that the level of engagement required by this curriculum is not insubstantial - the depth of engagement is after all set at postgraduate level, even for non-programme students. Realistic provision must therefore be made by each candidate to facilitate the expected level of engagement, which may require the limiting of existing work commitments as well as prior completion of any competing studies.

Module fees, inclusive of text books, tools and materials (as well the particulars of intermittent student lodging, where applicable) may be found here.

Existing practitioners whom have patiently awaited the return of a suitable mid-career study opportunity (or summer school classes) may also actively bear in mind the option of selective module enrolment - as a special/occasional student, not on a path to graduation. Note that the essential entry prerequisites nonetheless remain, irrespective.

One particular module which is however exempted from all entry prerequisites is the Commercial Practices module, which will be presented (fully online) from 12 June - 5 July 2023. This 4-week module teaches the essential principles and practices of private conservation practitionership, and should really be regarded as an essential foundation for remunerative and rewarding commercial practice and/or private studio endeavours in conservation. Well worth it, even for established practitioners! This free-standing module's prospectus is in the works, and may be requested from info@sainst.org

On a more general note: Few - even worldwide - will deny that these are times of widespread financial strictures, even hardship, for many. And yet, private conservation practice seemingly remains as resilient as ever. This had also been our institution's observation and distinct experience during the economic recessions of 2001 and 2008. In living memory, the present time offers perhaps the sternest challenge and test of the relative buoyancy of any domain of work: Many other, long-established professions, previously untouced, today admit to increasing hardship. In the light of that, one truly has to tip one's hat to the curatorial instincts of the private custodian: The instinct to preserve and secure invariably finds deepened resolve during adverse and uncertain times, and a legion of private custodians/collectors is once more instinctively rallying themselves to secure the value and welbeing of the cultural objects under their care and stewardship. As a consequence, many private studios currently report particularly long waiting lists, nearly exclusively driven by the private client cohort.

Whether you are a private practitioner, humming away at active studio practice, or are perhaps considering re-opening a former studio, left behind at a distant offramp, do feel free to seek us out? Since 2020, the Institute has been routinely conducting one-on-one, mid-week Zoom video consultations on a wide variety of conservation-related subjects. The subjects are largely dictated by the caller's particular need and enquiry. These 10 - 20 minute sessions are invariably staffed by our most senior and experienced faculty, to ensure highest-value, precise and relevant guidance. The consultation fees collected from private conservators are typically limited to mere token sums (R65 - R99 excl), thereby ensuring broad accessibility. So, if you are facing a technical, tactical or strategic hurdle or question, be encouraged to book your "in-lab video consultation". Using this link, you will be able to view the available calendar dates and time slots for potential booking. If it concerns a physical object, be sure to have it present and viewable. Supplementary images and files may also be submitted beforehand, if doing so may prove helpful. You will only be invoiced once your consultative session(s) have been successfully conducted, and to your fullest satisfaction.

And, as always, the Blueprint Specialist Supplies service stands ready to provision your practice, projects and studio work with precisely suited materials and tools. Find the catalogue here. Feel free to direct your enquiries to orders@sainst.org or simply telephone 042 273 1567.

The Institute, faculty and personnel wish every former and future student, as well as the widely distributed cohort of private conservation practitioners every success in all their endeavours!

Adriaan Botha
(Chairman of the Board)

The South African Institute for Heritage Science and Conservation
Faculty of Physical Sciences
Faculty of Commerce

Saturday, August 20, 2022 - 12:24

Back to Notices

Disclaimer: Any views expressed by individuals and organisations are their own and do not in any way represent the views of The Heritage Portal.