Save the Papermaking Studio at Northumbria University

Save the Papermaking Studio at Northumbria University

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Tara Laubach started this petition to Northumbria University

We, the underscored, object to the proposed closure of the paper studio in Squires Workshop 041 at Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. 

This is a rare and valuable facility. The paper studio grabs the attention of incoming prospective students who wish to avail of this unique opportunity that they will not receive elsewhere. For Fine Art and for Conservation students, making paper offers insight into the materiality, the process and the materials used in the history and modern day high quality papermaking. As part of the curriculum of the Conservation of Fine Art course, we research and learn about how paper has been manufactured throughout history, the chemicals used and the various machines that beat the fibres and pressed the pages. Having the opportunity to make paper brings the theory alive, and cements the importance of the process in our minds. 

A skill that is being lost elsewhere must be maintained as a symbol of our cultural values and priorities. The UK is seen internationally as a hallmark in conservation standards, regarding University training. There is already a concerning move away from practical training in the world of conservation. This is leading to a lack of skilled conservators and a loss of traditional knowledge. Hand skills such as papermaking are vital for the professional who will be spending their days handling, repairing and working intimately with valuable artefacts and works of art. The high standard of UK conservators would surely fall, were this paper studio to be closed.

 

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