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ARA Conservation Training Scheme

ARA Conservation Training Scheme

  • A Group for the committee, instructors and trainees involved with The ARA Training Scheme for Archive Conservators. The course aims to equip candidates with the wide variety of skills now required of archive conservators. The scheme was formed in the early 1970's in recognition of the growing demands being placed on conservators and to assist the development from a craft based skill to the multidisciplinary occupation that is conservation today. The scheme has responded to the demands of the profession and undergone several reviews. It is currently undergoing its most thorough review responding to current thinking in training and assessment, the introduction of accreditation for conservators and demands from within the profession for yet higher standards. The Scheme is recognised nationally by County councils and Unison, and by the ARA as the conservation qualification leading onto the pre-registration training scheme.

    A major element of the scheme is practical training. Candidates undertake 26 weeks of intensive one to one instruction. The instruction is broken into sessions of varying length covering each area of practical work a candidate is likely to come across within an archive office. The instruction takes place at assessed instructing offices around the country under the guidance of qualified instructors. Each instructor has been assessed in the subject area or areas they are qualified to teach and is considered an expert in that field. Each practical session is followed up by a report which provides an element of continuous assessment for the scheme, alongside further practical work within the candidates office and the completion of notes relating to the training.

    Any practical work that a conservator undertakes must be both ethically and theoretically sound. These considerations are enforced not just by the practical training but also through private study, based on a set book list; scientific training at a week long chemistry course and through a Lecture Series that is provided specifically for candidates, although open and of interest to many others.

    Candidates on the scheme receive support from the Registrar and through Trainees Meetings which are held twice a year. These meetings have increasingly formed part of the theoretical background to the scheme, in addition to providing a forum for candidates to meet and discuss progress.

    The scheme culminates in a written examination and an oral assessment. As part of the exam candidates have to produce a conservation report on a selection of documents presented at the exam, this includes a detailed description, a treatment proposal and storage recommendations, they are also expected to produce preservation recommendations. At the oral assessment candidates present a portfolio of their work covering the full range of archive materials, they are expected to discuss the portfolio explaining the work undertaken, what alternatives there may have been and why the particular method used was chosen. Also discussed is the role of conservation within an office and other issues affecting conservation.

    The scheme has introduced modular training, so it is possible to attend placements in specific subjects, completing all or part of the Training Scheme. The modules can also be used by professionals requiring updated techniques in a certain field or to refresh themselves in a certain specialized area.

    The Training Scheme is open to ARA members employed in Conservation. Candidates are expected to take two to three years to complete the scheme. Registration costs £1,600 which includes access to 24 weeks of 1:1 tuition and all examination costs. The week long Lecture Series and Chemistry Course week are in addition.
    For further details contact Deborah Phillips, Registrar, by e-mail deborah.phillips@devon.gov.uk.
  • Category
    Training Programmes
  • Created
    Thursday, 12 May 2011
  • Group admin
    Katie Proctor, Deborah Phillips ACR