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Call for Applications: Intensive training on the conservation of ceramics

The Regional Centre for the Restoration of Monuments based in Tirana, Albania, in cooperation with the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (henceforth UNESCO Venice Office), is launching a regional training workshop on the conservation of ceramics. The 2-week course will take place in Tirana, Albania, from 10 to 22 November 2014, at the Tirana Regional Centre for the Restoration of Monuments. (Deadline: 26 September 2014)

1.      Introduction

The training programme will consist of theoretical and practical (hands on) activities aimed at illustrating relevant conservation and restoration techniques, in compliance with internationally recognized conservation principles and standards. Lectures and site work will address the principles of conservation, with special focus on ceramic objects, including insights into historical techniques of execution, deterioration processes, conservation treatments and methods, as well as maintenance requirements.

Training activities will be conducted by a team of 1 Albanian and 2 international experts, under the joint coordination of the Regional Centre for the Restoration of Monuments and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy).

2.      Objectives and programme

The primary goal of the course is to improve the trainees’ skills in the conservation of archaeological materials, providing them with an understanding of the chemical and physical features and related decay and deterioration of ceramics, disseminating effective conservation methodologies and ensuring a practical understanding of appropriate restoration methods and long-term conservation strategies.

The intensive course is designed to provide educational and practical experience in both classroom and laboratory settings. Through lectures, discussions, demonstration, laboratory sessions and practical activities, participants will discuss and engage in the latest methodologies employed in all phases of the conservation process. 

The course will be aimed specifically at professional conservators already employed in heritage-related institutions, in the countries and territories enlisted below at point 4.

The aim will be to form a group of maximum 8 conservators/restorers.

Tentative programme (Monday to Saturday, 8.30am to 5pm):

Week 1:

a)    Theoretical introductory lectures on ceramic: the raw materials – clay minerals, fillers and fluxes;

b)    Main production techniques in antiquity: preparation of clay, forming processes, firing, coatings and decoration;

c)    Ceramic deterioration and most important diagnostically investigations;

d)    Practical lessons: photographic and graphic documentation and condition report, pre-consolidation;

e)    Deterioration of ceramic: chemical, physical and biological deterioration occurring as a result of different environmental factors;

f)     Restoration techniques of ceramic artefacts: pre-consolidation, mechanical cleaning, chemical cleaning, consolidation, bonding, filling of missing parts, superficial protection;

g)    Practical lessons: cleaning tests;

h)    Mechanical cleaning with scalpel, brushes, fibreglass pencil;

i)      Chemical cleaning with organic solvents, sequestering agents or ion exchange resins, non-ionic detergents.

Week 2:

a)      Practical lessons: research of matching fragments and temporary fastening, bonding with acrylic, vinyl or epoxy resins;

b)      Filling of missing parts with different techniques;

c)       Preparation of samples of coloured gypsum to match the colour of the ceramic objects, filling with pigmented gypsum or white plaster, shaping the gypsum filling;

d)      Superficial colouring of the white plaster filling, final protection mount making for incomplete objects with Perspex;

e)      Packing with acid free materials.

During the first week, some non-original objects will also be used as working samples to test the performance, quality and suitability of the restoration intervention. The second week will be devoted to practical work on original artifacts (to be chosen according to size, constituent material, and state of conservation) selected by the Institute for Cultural Monuments from Albania’s public collections or others. The laboratory work will aim to develop applied hands-on experience on the subjects covered during the theoretical lectures.

A certificate of attendance will be released by the Centre to the participants who have completed at least 90% of the training.

3.      Language of the course

The course will be held in English.

4.      Beneficiaries and requirements

The course is aimed at young restorers and conservators (preferably under 30 years of age) who wish to develop their professional skills in the  related field.

Basic requirements:

  • university education (minimum first-level degree) in the conservation/restoration of cultural heritage or related subjects
  • basic practical restoration experience
  • at least 18 years of age
  • proficiency in the English language (English being the working language of the course)

Citizens of the following countries are eligible to apply: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Kosovo* (as defined by UN Security Council Resolution 1244 dated 1999) Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey.

Priority will be given to applicants already employed by institutions in the aforementioned countries responsible for the conservation of cultural heritage.

5.      Selection criteria

Applications will be jointly assessed and trainees selected by the Regional Centre for the Restoration of Monuments and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), based on the professional and educational profiles presented in the application documents.

The selection will seek to take into account geographical distribution, and the selection of more than one applicant from the same country will be avoided as far as possible. The final selection will also seek to ensure gender balance.

Priority will be given to applicants already employed by institutions (either at local or at central level) competent for the conservation and safeguarding cultural heritage in the countries mentioned in paragraph 4.

A maximum of 8 trainees will be selected.

6.      Participation costs

Selected applicants will receive, free of charge:

  • Transportation from their countries of origin to Albania and back
  • Accommodation (board and lodging) in Albania for the duration of the course
  • Local transfers to the training sites
  • Complete training materials

Further information on the coverage of travel and subsistence costs will be provided separately to the selected trainees.

7.      Application

Applicants shall submit the following documents to The Regional Centre for the Restoration of Monuments no later than 26 September 2014, 12am:

  • Curriculum Vitae (on Europass CV template)
  • Personal motivation letter
  • Optional: letters of support from the parent institution, and/or the respective national Commission for UNESCO, and/or the respective ministry of culture.

Applications and accompanying documents must be sent by email in electronic form to Edlira Caushi, edlira.caushi(at), and copied to the UNESCO Venice Office (to the attention of Sinisa Sesum, s.sesum(at) and Matteo Rosati, m.rosati(at)

Incomplete applications, applications sent after the above-mentioned deadline, and applications not sent to all the email addresses provided will be rejected.