Conserving Condoms: a symposium on modern materials in medical archives

28 November 2014

During the Wellcome Trust-funded project to conserve our HIV/AIDS collections, we have faced many challenges caused by the diverse modern materials they contain. This inspired us to organise a symposium on the conservation of contemporary objects and we received additional funding from the Wellcome Trust Small Grant scheme to do this. We wanted to share knowledge of how we have treated our collections, meet others with similar material, learn from professionals in the field regarding the conservation of plastics and discuss new research conducted in this area.

We also thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight how LHSA applies for funding and invite a representative from the Wellcome Trust to discuss further funding opportunities. This symposium is, therefore, aimed at conservators, archivists, curators and students with an interest in modern materials and those who are considering applying to the Wellcome Trust Research Resources Scheme for conservation work.

The programme

9.30 – 10.00: Registration

Arrival at Edinburgh University Main Library. Refreshments provided

10.00 – 11.00: Keynote Lecture - Dr Anita Quye (Lecturer in Conservation Science, University of Glasgow)

Topic: Conservation of modern materials in archives

11.00 – 11.30: Linda Ramsay (Head of Conservation, National Records of Scotland)

Topic: Heritage Smells!; a collaborative project to develop technology to ‘sniff’ artefacts and detect their level of degradation by taking samples of air surrounding the item.

11.30 – 11.45: Break

11.45 – 12.15: Ruth Honeybone (Manager, Lothian Health Services Archive)

Topic: Scoping for conservation funding applications

12.15 – 12.45: Emily Hick (Project Conservator, Lothian Health Services Archive)

Topic: Policies, Postcards and Prophylactics; Conservation of LHSA’s UNESCO-awarded HIV/AIDS Collections (1983 – 2010)

12.45 – 2.00: Lunch

Complimentary buffet lunch provided

2.00 – 2.30: Sue Crossley (Medical Humanities Adviser, Wellcome Trust)

Topic: Applications to the Wellcome Trust Research Resources Scheme

2.30 – 3.15: Discussion

Participants can choose one discussion group to attend depending on their own interests; to be agreed on booking.

1. Emily Hick - Plastic packaging: What to retain/dispose?

2. Claire Knowles (Library Digital Development Manager, Edinburgh University) - Management/preservation of big data sets

3. Linda Ramsay - Heritage Smells!

4. Anita Quye – Conservation of plastics  


3.15 – 5.00: Refreshments and informal discussion/networking

3.15 – 5.00: Advice Clinics

Participants can book a 15-minute slot for the advice clinic(s) of their choice; to be booked on the day

1. Sue Crossley – Funding applications to the Wellcome Trust  

2. Ruth Honeybone – Scoping for conservation projects/applications

3. Emily Hick – Working with modern collections: conservation and ethics

4. Tour of the Centre for Research Collections and conservation studio (two tours available of 20 minutes each provided by Emma Davey, Conservation Officer, University of Edinburgh)

  A public health campaign postcard