The twelve-month internships are designed to give recently graduated conservation students the opportunity to develop their practical skills while continuing their technical training. It provides time to explore new ideas and carry out research as well as first-hand experience of working within a busy museum environment, which is essential to career development.
The internships are typically advertised in May/June with closing deadlines in July/August, to find out more check the Vacancies page of the Library’s website.
Cécilia Duminuco (2015-2016) completed a two-year MA course on the Conservation of Books and Library Materials at West Dean College in the U.K. Prior to this, she obtained an MA in painting conservation at the École Supérieure des Arts Saint-Luc of Liège in Belgium, where she trained for five years. During the past few years, Cécilia has undertaken several short work placements in various notable institutions, including the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage – KIK-IRPA, Brussels, Belgium and the Oxford Conservation Consortium in the U.K.
Cécilia is especially interested in painted surfaces, illuminated manuscripts, and bookbinding structures, and has been researching continuously to increase her knowledge on the subject. Since January 2017 Cécilia has been a conservator at Cambridge University Library in the U.K.
“I cannot express enough how grateful I am for the wonderful internship experience I have had at the Chester Beatty Library. I have had the chance to work in a fabulous conservation studio with the kindest, most helpful and supportive colleagues. I have had the opportunity to work on incredible materials, and to learn something new every day. My internship has expanded my knowledge of non-western materials, and has allowed me to develop and strengthen my hand skills. As Chester Beatty himself said, ‘It was all a great adventure’.”
Puneeta Sharma (2014- 2015) graduated from Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts, London, in June 2014 with an MA in Conservation (Art on Paper) and previously studied BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Before embarking upon a career in conservation, Puneeta worked as an artist and an Arts-in-Health assistant for the arts psychotherapies’ services in various NHS Trusts. Before starting her internship at the Chester Beatty Library, Puneeta worked at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge as their first Paper Conservation Intern, and the National Archives in London as a Project Conservator.
Puneeta’s recent interests have developed to include pastel paintings from the 18th century with a focus on the impact of transport and display on the fragility of the media. Puneeta has been working at the Royal Collection Trust in Windsor, U.K. since November 2015, where she is now Assistant Drawings Conservator (Prints and Drawings).
“Working at the Chester Beatty Library was a dream come true for me. From working on Indian paintings on paper and Hebrew manuscripts on parchment, to installing exhibitions containing fantastic works of art and developing my knowledge and skills by taking a trip to Italy to learn all about pigments; the internship truly exceeded my expectations! I was able to develop my confidence as a recent graduate. The conservation team is full of highly skilled conservators who are incredibly generous and supportive, encouraging me to reach my full potential during my time at the CBL.”
Josefin Bergmark-Jimenez (2013-2014) trained as a bookbinder before studying conservation at West Dean College in the UK, where she graduated with an MA in Book Conservation in 2011. When she applied for the CBL internship she was working as a digitisation conservator at The National Archives, London.
During the internship Josefin had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of objects from the amazing collection but with a focus on books from the Arabic collection. Josefin also learnt more about pigments and pigment consolidation. In addition to this, Josefin prepared objects for the exhibition Chester Beatty’s A to Z and several other temporary exhibitions.
Josefin is currently employed as the paper conservator for the Antarctic Heritage Trust and is working in Christchurch, New Zealand with paper and paper objects from The British Antarctic Expedition 1898-1900 (The Southern Cross Expedition). The objects were retrieved from the first Antarctic hut at Cape Adare and, once the project has been concluded, the objects will be returned to Antarctica.
“I am so grateful for this amazing experience and I feel that I have learnt so much, working with such amazing people. To anyone with an interest in book arts and printing the Chester Beatty offers the unique opportunity to trace a nearly perfect timeline of the history of the written word, from first century papyri down to contemporary art prints, not only through Western and European tradition but through material from Asia and the Middle East as well. I’m indebted to the Library and Contributing members for giving me the opportunity to work with such a unique collection and knowledgeable conservators.”
Elisabeth Randell (2013- 2014) graduated with an honours degree in fine art at Queens University, Canada, before continuing on to obtain an Advanced Diploma in Museum Studies, Algonquin College. In 2013 Elisabeth moved to Dublin for an internship in preventive conservation at The National Gallery of Ireland.
Elisabeth’s internship at the CBL entailed working on a wide variety of objects, ranging from mother of pearl Japanese fans, Persian Miniatures, and Indian drawings. Under the supervision of the Head of Conservation she was responsible for various procedures for their treatment such as condition assessing, documenting, treatment reporting; surface cleaning, aqueous washing, humidification, pigment consolidation, tear repairs, mounting, and assisting with art handling for photography. Additionally she aided in surveying parts of the collection, including the Japanese shrines, Sumatran manuscripts, Jain texts, Japanese & Chinese scrolls, and Islamic Qur’an scrolls.
Shortly after finishing her internship at CBL, Elisabeth was offered a contract as preventative conservator at the National Gallery of Ireland, where she is preparing works for loans and exhibitions, and carrying out preventive conservation treatments on works on canvas, panel, frames, works on paper, and objects.
“As an emerging conservator I couldn’t believe my fortune to be surrounded by such an amazing collection, and truly wonderful and skilled conservators. The lab was never quiet, hosting guest conservators and projects, with specialists in medieval pigments, books, textiles, and analytical techniques. It was a rare and invaluable lab to be a part of, and I am so thankful for the guidance and encouragement of the team.”
Julia Poirier (2012-2013) graduated from a two-year Masters in paper conservation at Northumbria University, Newcastle in 2010. She went on to work in private practice and the Special Collection at the University of Edinburgh before joining the Derry and Raphoe Conservation Project with the University of Ulster before joining the Chester Beatty in 2012.
Julia’s internship involved the conservation and preparation of Indian miniatures and bound items for two major international loans to the USA. She was involved in the preparation for digitisation of the Early Biblical Papyri collection as well as working on specific items from all three collections for permanent and temporary gallery rotations.
Following the completion of her internship, Julia was offered a contract as a Book and Paper Conservator at the Library.
“It is an absolute pleasure and honour to be working at the Chester Beatty Library. The scope and quality of the collection is incredible. I have been extremely fortunate to be given such a life changing opportunity which I have enjoyed beyond words.”
Fiona McLees (2011- 2012) graduated from the Masters Conservation programme at Camberwell College of Arts in 2010. She then undertook a personal research project cataloguing a collection of historic paper samples at the British Museum, and a short contract at the National Archives in Kew prior to beginning the internship at the Chester Beatty.
During her internship, Fiona worked with a wide variety of objects. A large proportion of her time was spent collaborating with book conservator Rachel Sawicki on the conservation of a 16th Century Persian Qur’an by Ruzbihan, contributing to research into the techniques and materials used in the production of this masterpiece.
Fiona went on to work as a contract paper conservator at the Imperial War Museum, London, focusing upon preparing a large and varied collection of WWI items for the new permanent galleries. Following this, she completed one year as paper conservator for acquisitions at Tate, working primarily with modern and contemporary photography and art on paper. She is now based at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, working once again within a historic library collection.
“I could never be generous enough about the experience I had at the Chester Beatty – an outstanding collection, a wonderful mentor, and the chance to work on career-defining projects, as well as excellent colleagues to collaborate with across the Library. It has proved a wonderful springboard for my career and opened the doors to many institutions, as well as allowing me to develop a network of friends and colleagues across Dublin and the rest of Europe.”
Rachel Sawicki (2009 – 2011) worked as an Assistant Conservation Technician at the Bodleian Library, UK for three years before she undertook the Conservation Master’s degree at West Dean College, specialising in the conservation of books and library materials.
Rachel’s internship initially focused on the conservation of the Library’s bound Shahnama manuscript collection under the supervision of the Senior Book Conservator Kristine Rose-Beers. She also helped to install and de-install five major exhibitions in the Library’s permanent and temporary galleries. Following the completion of her Heritage Council internship, Rachel was offered a one-year contract at CBL as Book Conservator focusing on the conservation of Islamic manuscripts.
For the past two years Rachel has been honing her conservation skills at the National Library of Australia lab. She is currently working as Exhibitions Conservator at NLA, where she continues with her love of conserving historic books.
“The breadth of skills and knowledge required to work as a professional book conservator can be daunting for recent graduates. However, the internship programme at CBL offered me the most welcoming, personalised, caring, and dynamic environment to develop these essential skills. My internship experience is something I will be eternally grateful for. My love for book conservation has certainly increased as a result of the quality training and guidance I experienced with the wonderful Chester Beatty Library team.”
The main focus of Rachael’s internship was preparing a collection of Mughal Miniature paintings for a major travelling exhibition, Muraqqa. This involved creating condition reports and researching treatment options before stabilising the paintings for travel.
On completion of her internship, Rachael worked at the Chester Beatty Library as a Paper Conservator for six months. She then became a Project Conservator for the Marianne North Gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London for 18 months. Rachael now has a permanent job as Drawings Conservator for the (UK) Royal Collection, at Windsor Castle.
“The internship greatly broadened my understanding of the role of a conservator in a museum, and provided me with experience in a wide range of different aspects and of working on high-quality exhibitions. I have felt that this experience has been absolutely essential in securing my subsequent jobs, and continues to inform my work as a conservator on a daily basis.”
Louise O’Connor (2005-2006) had just graduated from Northumbria University’s Masters programme in the Conservation of Fine Art- works of art on paper when she became the Chester Beatty’s first intern.
Louise’s internship focused on the conservation of items in the Armenian collection in preparation for the publication ‘The Armenians: Art, Culture and Religion’. She also helped to install and de-install exhibitions such as ‘Albrecht Durer’ and ‘Chinese Printmaking Today’ in the Library’s galleries.
In 2006 Louise moved to the post of assistant paper conservator at the National Gallery of Ireland for a year and then on to the National Library of Ireland where she is now conservator responsible for prints & drawings, ephemera and heraldic manuscripts collections.
“My internship at Chester Beatty Library was a wonderful and exciting experience; I strongly believe I wouldn’t be where I am in my professional career without Jessica’s guidance, care, and professional support during and indeed after my internship at the CBL. I learnt so many hands-on conservation skills along with practical day-to-day knowledge of working in a busy conservation studio. It was the dream internship!’