Graduates of Buckingham University’s Furniture Conservation, Restoration and Decorative Arts courses can now turn to their tutors for work.
Rather than simply advising their alumni on
how to apply for jobs, the university has set up a company to
provide them with work.
Called Bucks Conservation, the enterprise
will channel commercial conservation and restoration projects to
recent alumni from their BA (Hons) and MA Furniture Conservation,
Restoration and Decorative Arts courses to help them make the
transition from education to employment within the conservation
The new company was officially launched at
Fernandez & Wells, Somerset House, London, on Monday, October
The initiative is an extension of the
university's commercial restoration programme. It has undertaken
furniture conservation work and private commissions for over 20
years, working with prestigious clients such as The Royal
Collection, the V&A, National Trust and Lord Rothschild.
Meanwhile private collectors and custodians
from the heritage sector have supported the students by providing
projects for them to work on. They have also provided locations for
'live projects' where the students work on site, undertaking live
restoration and conservation projects as part of the degree course.
Students work with historical and often priceless pieces, as well
as more modern 20th century items.
Now, under the guidance of the university's
furniture conservation experts, graduates will gain valuable
experience in a commercial environment, where they will be employed
for 12 to 18 months developing their conservation skills and
expertise as well as sharpening their business skills.
Selection to join the new company will be by
interview and a portfolio review.
The university believe that it is the first
alumni business model of its kind in the UK. "The launch of Bucks
Conservation is a unique opportunity to support our most talented
graduates and extend our expertise to a wider client base," says Dr
Campbell Norman-Smith, course leader of the MA Furniture
Conservation, Restoration and Decorative Arts.
"We have developed an outstanding reputation
over the years and often have an oversupply of commissions. This
meets supply and demand and provides our graduates with exceptional
commercial experience which will give them an edge when looking for
employment in the conservation and restoration professions."
Recent projects undertaken by the Department of Furniture at
Bucks include the restoration of a 1937-38 Isokon moulded birch
plywood lounge chair owned by Isokon Plus, conservation of a George
II console table from Wilton House, owned by the Earl of Pembroke,
cleaning of a gilt frame surrounding a painting by Sir Joshua
Reynolds from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and restoration of an
original Panton Vitra chair.