Posted on 30 September 2002
Leading conservationists from around the globe have celebrated the 30th anniversary of the University of York's Conservation Studies course which has aided work on some of the most famous heritage sites in the world.
More than 100 former students of the University of York's Centre for Conservation returned to their alma mater from 27 countries to mark the anniversary with a series of seminars and study visits.
They fielded enough eminent experts between them to provide high-level discussion on subjects as diverse as the method and mystery in Chinese building, conserving the industrial heritage of the Aegean, regeneration through heritage, and the colonial perspective on conservation.
Former students of the Centre for Conservation, which is based in the Department of Archaeology, now hold influential posts in many parts of the world. One has been appointed a conservation architect for the Taj Mahal; others who attended the conference included historic buildings inspectors in England and Wales; a German architect; a Thai university professor; a stonemason; a landscape historian; a Norwegian director of cultural heritage; an American architectural designer; and a Turkish city planner.
The Centre has a 20-year connection with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and has sent a steady stream of Indian conservationists back home, after studying in York, with the skills necessary to preserve many of their country's architectural treasures. Peter Burman, Director of the Centre, began the trend when he went to India in 1982 to advise on the rescue of the elaborate frescoes in the Shekhavati mansions in northern Rajasthan, and suggested that mid-career conservation practitioners should study at York.
Shri Martand Sing, Chairman of the UK INTACH Trust and one of the leading figures in conservation in India, said recently that this had made a huge difference to conservation in India.www.york.ac.uk/depts/arch/