Taught course

Textile Conservation

Institution
University of Glasgow · School of Culture and Creative Arts
Qualifications
MPhil

Entry requirements

  • An Honours degree, at 2.1 or above, or international equivalent.
  • GCSE /Higher/international equivalent Chemistry qualification. A pass in the International Academic Projects distance-learning course Chemistry for Conservators is an acceptable alternative. See the website for more details.
  • Good manual skills – demonstrated by examples, preferably of stitching – examples are brought to interview.
  • Previous conservation or museum experience is not an essential requirement, although it is necessary to demonstrate an interest in this work. It is recommended that candidates visit local conservation laboratories to gain a good insight into the type of work that goes on. Contact details can be provided.

A personal statement and sample of academic writing are also required.

Months of entry

September

Course content

Textile Conservation is a multidisciplinary subject which combines academic knowledge with cultural awareness, aesthetic sensitivity and technical skill. This MPhil is both an academic programme and professional training; it will give you a framework of theoretical knowledge and a range of practical experience which will enable you to contribute to the understanding and preservation of culturally significant textile artefacts.

Why Glasgow

  • If you are looking to enter a career in textile conservation practice in a museum or other institution, or to pursue doctoral-level research in this field, this programme is designed for you.
  • You will take part in a project-based work placement, where you can explore a possible future career while meeting professional practitioners and developing your skills and experience.
  • You will be based in our specialist conservation laboratories. The facilities include workrooms, a wet lab, dye lab, chemistry lab and well-equipped analytical lab.
  • You will benefit from our close links with Glasgow Museums, as well as the University’s own Hunterian Museum. Glasgow’s civic and university collections are some of the richest and most diverse in Europe and are of international standing. You will have the opportunity to draw on the museums’ rich and varied textile collections.
  • This is the only programme of its kind in the UK, and one of only a few specialist textile conservation programmes in the world.
  • You will be taught by visiting specialists from local and national museums in Scotland and the wider UK.

Programme Structure

You will take core courses over two semesters in each year, with a work placement in the summer between the first and second years. You will write up your dissertation over the second summer and submit it at the end of August.

The core courses will develop an understanding of

  • the practical skills used in textile conservation
  • related practical skills including dyeing and photography
  • the science underpinning textile deterioration and conservation treatments
  • preventive conservation techniques
  • the technological, cultural, historic and aesthetic contexts of textile artefacts
  • the place of conservation in the wider cultural sector.

Core courses

Year 1

  • Research methods in practice
  • Principles and practice: core skills and ethics
  • Understanding textiles: technology
  • Principles and practice: developing skills
  • Preventive conservation
  • Material cultures
  • Placement

Year 2

  • Principles and practice: advanced skills
  • Conservation in practice
  • Deconstructing the artefact
  • Principles and practice: conservation projects
  • Professional development
  • Research management
  • Dissertation

Career prospects

The programme is at career-entry level and graduates are qualified to go on to a post-training internship or directly into the workplace as a textile conservator in a museum or other institution around the world, as well as to undertake further study at PhD level.

The great majority of graduates of this programme and if its predecessor, the Textile Conservation Centre’s MA Textile Conservation programme, now work in museums and other institutions. Graduates of the two programmes have an outstanding record of employment on graduation and of remaining in the sector. They now work in nearly 30 countries and are in senior positions worldwide.

MPhil graduates have been awarded Mellon Fellowships at Denver Art Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, in the USA, while others now work for National Museums Scotland, Historic Royal Palaces and the National Maritime Museum in the UK and Heritage Conservation Center, Singapore, among others.

However, it is worth noting that many graduates go on to short-term contract posts initially. It is easier to find a textile conservation post if you are able to be flexible in terms of location.

Further information:

Information for international students

Please see the English language requirements and the international page.

Fees and funding

UK students
Full time £15,500 p/a
International students
Full time: EU £15,500 p/a Non EU £19,300 p/a

Qualification and course duration

MPhil

part time
48 months
full time
24 months

Course contact details

Name
Karen Thomson
Email
Karen.Thomson@glasgow.ac.uk