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Contemporary Art Conservation


Dr. Sanneke Stigter


Members of the research group

Dušan Barok MA

Prof. dr. Klaas Jan van den Berg

Prof. dr. Maarten van Bommel

Dr. Annet Dekker

Prof. dr. Ella Hendriks

Ellen Jansen MA

Prof. dr. Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes

Prof. dr. Julia Noordegraaf

Claudia Roeck MA

Lise Steyn MA

Aga Wielocha MA


External members

Anna Laganà MA (GCI)

Dr. Vivian van Saaze (UM)

Dr. Tatja Scholte (RCE)

Prof. dr. Renée van de Vall (UM)


Description of the research programme of the research group

The Contemporary Art Conservation research group is grounded in various research projects that all combine input from various fields in order to develop new approaches for the conservation of contemporary art. Different researchers in the field of contemporary art conservation collaborate with various partners in joint research projects, such as the EU-funded Marie Curie ITN programme New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art (NACCA), coordinated by Maastricht University; the EU-funded collaborative project Cleaning of Modern Oil Paints (CMOP); Preservation of Plastics, a Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) research project; Project Plastics, coordinated by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) in collaboration with the Dutch Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (SBMK) and carried out under the umbrella of the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS). The Contemporary Art Conservation research group seeks to sustain this collaborative approach with research institutes and museums, and to consolidate the international network that has been built over the years through network meetings, workshops, and symposia to foster new research projects. The aim is to bring together researchers from various disciplines for a holistic approach, and to welcome new partners for future projects in contemporary art conservation research.

Topics include:

  • Artist Interviews and Artist Participation
  • Cleaning and Patina
  • Colour and Perception
  • Conceptual Art and Conservation
  • Documentation Strategies and Data Usage
  • Ethnographic Research Methods
  • New Media Art
  • Plastics in Art
  • Site-Specificity and Context


Envisaged results

  • Books, academic articles, PhD-theses and grant proposals for further research;
  • Furthering collaboration in research projects through NICAS;
  • Consolidation of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art: INCCA;
  • Foundation of a national branch of the international network: INCCA-NL;
  • Establishing new partnerships with Dutch museums for case based research.          


Work plan and time schedule


  • Academic books, academic articles, PhD theses, grant proposals;


  • New Strategies in the Conservation of Contemporary Art PhD thesis;
  • Cleaning of Modern Oil Paints PhD thesis;
  • Project Plastics with NICAS and SBMK;
  • Preservation of Plastics PhD thesis;
  • NACCA Network meetings;
  • NACCA PhD theses;
  • International symposium with INCCA.


Societal Relevance

As contemporary artworks have become increasingly complex, new strategies on how to preserve work that is hybrid in form or ephemeral in nature have become vital for their future. At the same time there is a continuous need for material based research following from technological advancements in the industry. However, aside from research into modern materials and electronic media, areas which keep on challenging contemporary art conservation, research into the conceptual nature of contemporary artworks is essential to approach the ever changing forms in which contemporary art becomes manifest. Many artworks cannot be preserved by simply putting them in storage. They need active engagement in order to keep them alive when installing, performing, or producing the work for the audience. This calls for a shift from object-based research to process-based research in order to relate the material and technical issues to conceptual and situational factors, which, moreover, may change over time and differ with context. In doing so, the research group collaborates closely with museums and other collecting institutions to validate research findings and to actually help preserve complex contemporary artworks for the future.


Links to Partners and Projects

> Cleaning of Modern Oil Paints

> Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands




> Preservation of Plastics

> Project Plastics