Chris Woods PGDipcons, BAhons CertCons RMARA ACR FIIC Director
Chris Woods is an Accredited Conservator with over 30 years of experience working in the heritage sector. Chris's former public sector roles have included Head of Conservation & Collection Care at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, and Director of Collection & Programme Services for the Tate galleries. Chris has published, lectured and taught in a range of specialist fields, notably building and storage environments, parchment manuscripts, archival seals and plastic photographic negatives. Chris founded NCS in 2009/10. Currently Chairman of the British Standards Institution's committee responsible for BS4971:2017 Conservation & Care of Archive and Library Collections (and formerly for BS5454, the 2009-12 review of which he led), Chris is also active in Europe, having led the work to develop EN 16893:2018 Specifications for Buildings, recently launched and which replaces the now withdrawn BS5454. Chris advises Lincoln and Salisbury Cathedrals on the care of their 1215 Magna Cartas of King John and Hereford for its 1217 Magna Carta of Henry III.
Chris was a founding Trustee and Director of Icon, the Institute of Conservation, and former chairman of its predecessor UKIC. He led the establishment of Icon's Conservation Register on taking it over from the Museums and Galleries Commission, its PACR accreditation scheme, HLF-funded Internship Bursary Scheme and former Conservation Technician Qualification. Chris's professional publications include:
Magna Carta - the care and use of iconic cultural treasures – Care & Conservation of Manuscripts, Museum Tusculanum Press University of Copenhagen 2011 'The Conservation of Parchment', in The Conservation of Leather and Related Materials, ed. R Thompson, M Kite, Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford 2005 Meeting the Montreal Protocol: Halon Replacements for Archives, Society of Archivists Journal volume 24 no. 2, 2002 Conservation Treatments for Parchment Documents, Society of Archivists Journal volume 16 no. 2 1995 The Nature & Treatment of Wax & Shellac Seals, Society of Archivists Journal volume 15 no. 2 1994
Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan, MA, RMARA, MIC Director
Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan is a professionally qualified Archivist and Management Consultant. She has run her own consultancy since 2003. Elizabeth has worked with most types of archive service of every size right across the UK. Clients include private and business collections, local authorities, national institutions, museums, libraries, universities and the NHS. Elizabeth advises on all aspects of managing archive collections and archive services including:
Strategic and transformational planning for service development
Developing funding bids notably for the Heritage Lottery Fund Heritage Grants (over £100,000)
Technical issues including collection management strategies and policies, collection development planning, action plans for cataloguing and disaster management
Improving access to collections
Collaborative working with other departments and organisations
Improving access to collections.
Elizabeth is also very experienced in consultation with all stakeholder types including trustees, directors, front-line staff, volunteers, users and depositors. She is also a highly experienced facilitator with particular strengths in visioning and issue analysis.
Elizabeth is a very experienced professional and active within the archive profession. Her professional posts include:
Member, Archive Service Accreditation Committee
Chair, UK Committee for UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme
Mentor and Expert Adviser, The Heritage Lottery Fund
Assessor and Mentor, Registered Members Scheme, The Archives and Records Association
I graduated with a degree in Fine Art and Printing in 1973 and afterwards took up bookbinding as an evening class student at Camberwell College of Art. I didn't choose bookbinding as a career path; I simply saw it as a way of learning how to repair my own books but I soon got hooked. After a very short spell as a delivery driver for a firm that made artificial limbs, and an even shorter spell teaching in a girl's school, I headed for the altogether calmer world of restoring antiquarian books.
I started my own workshop in 1976, and over the next thirteen years the business grew to the stage where in 1988 we incorporated the company and moved into an old shop premises in Rochester Row, Victoria. In time we took over the premises next door and the business continued to grow steadily. Then in 1998 we had the chance of buying the old bookbinding firms of Sangorski & Sutcliffe and Zaehnsdorf.
I had long admired the work of the so called trade binders, particularly those 'West End' firms who were capable of producing such large quantities of beautifully bound books. Taking over two of the most famous names in London bookbinding was (and still is), an enormous privilege. We have now celebrated 26 years running a bookbinding business in London.
Everyone at Shepherds is passionate about driving up our own standards of craftsmanship and most importantly creating opportunities for others to learn bookbinding and conservation skills. We are facing a serious skill shortage in this area, so we have now set up our own training facility in Wiltshire where we now offer City & Guilds qualifications in bookbinding.
In addition to my duties as Managing Director of a growing company I am also an active member of the Stationers Guild and I am treasurer of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association.
Elizabeth Yamada MA ACR Lead Conservator - Storage & Projects
Liz trained as an objects conservator at Lincoln College of Art and Design, then specialized in works of art on paper on the MA course at Northumbria University but most of her 20 year career has been spent assessing, preserving and treating archival collections. Liz has worked at the University of Dundee, Museum Conservation Services, London Metropolitan Archives, Churchill College Cambridge, Stirling University and most recently as a freelance archive conservator in Scotland.
She has extensive experience of assessing archive collections and implementing practical treatment and repackaging projects with both staff and volunteers and was accredited by the Institute of Conservation in 2003.
Lucy Gosnay MA Senior Conservator
After graduating with a degree in English Literature Lucy went on to work at The National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Foyle Special Collections Library, Kings College London. It was at these institutions Lucy gained interest and experience in the care of rare library and archive materials which led to a career in Conservation.
After completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Paper Conservation from Camberwell College of Arts in 2008, Lucy carried out conservation projects at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and The Warburg Institute, University of London, gaining experience treating a wide range of archival materials. She worked for three years at The Linnean Society of London on a range of projects including conserving a collection of mounted herbarium specimens.
Lucy joined National Conservation Service in September 2015 from The National Archives, where she had worked since 2012 conserving archival material in preparation for digitisation and managing projects and teams.
Lucy enjoys keeping up to date with current conservation practices, discussing treatment approaches with colleagues and regularly attending courses and lectures to help inform her practice and skills.
Marie Chappell MA ACR Senior Conservator
As one of NCS’s Senior Conservators and an accredited member of ICON, Marie’s work spans both preventive and practical conservation which she enjoys greatly at Upper Heyford.
Originally from Canada, Marie moved to Ottawa in 1996 to study History and French Language at the University of Ottawa, where she first tried her hand at conservation while volunteering in the conservation labs at the Canadian Museum of History. After earning her degree, she took a break from studying to move to Japan where she taught English for three years on the JET Programme.
Although she enjoyed teaching Marie decided to return to her love of old things, relocating to England to study paper conservation at Northumbria University. During her time there she did internships with the National Trust, The Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, and The Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, gaining a global perspective on the profession.
Upon graduating, Marie wanted to gain further conservation experience in the UK and took up the position of Assistant Conservator with the Cadbury Research Library at Birmingham University. While there she engaged in preventive and remedial conservation as well as exhibition work, emergency planning, and supervision of students and volunteers and was promoted to Conservator.
After much thought, Marie decided to make the UK her permanent home and joined NCS in 2018 where she still makes use of her teaching skills.
Mary Garner MA Conservator
Mary Garner is a qualified book and paper conservator, recently graduating with an MA (Distinction) in Paper Conservation from Camberwell College of Arts, London. Mary's research focused on holistic approaches to collection care and she specialised in the preservation management of mixed collections. Mary also has training in book conservation and during her studies gained experience working in conservation studios at the Victoria and Albert Museum, John Jones Art Centre, the National Records of Scotland and was employed by the Museum of Domestic Architecture.
Mary became interested in conservation during her Royal Scottish Academy scholarship to Florence, awarded after completion of a Fine Art with History of Art degree at the University of Edinburgh (1st class). During this time, Mary had the opportunity to research Italian conservation approaches, particularly in light of the Florence 1966 flood. Mary has also been awarded the Anna Mahler International Association award to study books and print in Spoleto, Italy, as well as the Archives and Records Association 2011 conference bursary.
Mary has been involved in a wide variety of projects since joining NCS including book, archive, photograph and parchment conservation, large scale cleaning and re-housing projects and digitisation.
Madeleine Marshall MA Conservator
Graduating from Camberwell College of Arts in 2015 with a Merit in MA Paper Conservation, Madeleine has undertaken several work placements before joining the team at NCS. Initially studying English Literature and History of Art, she became interested in Conservation whilst volunteering at her local museum. Wanting to gain experience within the heritage sector, she was placed with the Conservator where the handling and care of museum objects particularly appealed and ultimately led her to study Paper Conservation.
As well as practical skills in Conservation, Madeleine also has broader experience within Collection Management, with contracts taken at various institutions such as Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, The Tavistock Institute and Imperial College Healthcare Charity. However, a more recent contract at Derbyshire Records Office and involvement in previous library projects with NCS encouraged her to pursue working with archival material. Madeleine joined the studio projects team in 2016. She has developed a range of new skills, has led the enhancement of the NCS digitisation operations and was promoted to Conservator in 2018.
Lisa Knight MA (Cantab) Conservator
Conservation is a second career for Lisa, a graduate in law from Trinity College Cambridge. After leaving a long career in the City, she started to develop her interest in old books through binding and conservation courses at Shepherds Bookbinders and CityLit. This lead to her undertaking an Fda course in Book Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts, with time being spent gaining experience at the Victoria and Albert Museum, MODA, Trinity College Dublin and The Wren Library, Trinity College Cambridge.
A work placement with NCS, whilst at Camberwell, lead to Lisa being offered an opportunity to join the NCS team in Spring 2012, working on conservation projects and helping with the start up of the new Collaborative Storage Scheme at Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire. She has also been the lynch pin of the NCS environmental monitoring scheme, helping to get it up and runnning and managing a growing operation of remote monitoring across the UK, while juggling the many book repair projects at the Royal Institution studio.
Jonathan Rhys-Lewis ACR Lead Associate Conservator
Jonathan is a preservation and collections management consultant with over 25 years experience. He is a professionally qualified archive conservator, is an accredited member of the Institute of Conservation and is listed on the Conservation Register. He runs an independent consultancy business offering specialist advice on the preservation management of paper-based materials in heritage collections to a wide range of clients in the private and public sectors, across archives, museums and libraries and is one of NCS's leading Associates.
Jonathan has held office on a variety of professional committees in the UK, including executive and special interest positions and is currently the Chair of the International Council on Archives Expert Group on Archive Buildings & Environments. Jonathan lectures widely on preservation and collections management issues and as an Honorary Lecturer has delivered the Curation & Stewardship and Advanced Preservation modules as part of the Diploma/MA in Archive Studies and Records Management at University College London since 2007.
Jonathan is also the author of a leaflet, Library and Archive Storage Furniture, and a guidance document to assist with the compilation of preservation policies – Compiling a preservation policy; an advisory document- both published by the Preservation Advisory Centre of the British Library, in 2012.Jonathan is also co-author, with Dr. Helen Forde, of the second edition of the successful book,Preserving Archives, published by Facet in March 2013.
His international work has included successful consultancy missions in France, the Netherlands, The Gambia, Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Macau and Vietnam.
A qualified collections care consultant in the heritage sector, supporting museums, archives and specialist libraries to complete: conservation assessments, surveys, Conservation Management Plans, Heritage Lottery Applications and preservation assessments of objects and collections. Helen has extensive experience of working with both large and small organisations to find pragmatic and realistic collections care solutions.
Helen has a strong track record in research, team and partnership activities, managing and advising on funding programmes, organising training plans and conservation projects.
She is an Accredited member of the Institute of Conservation (Icon), has been an accreditation assessor since 2003 and was the Icon Book and Paper Group (Chair) 2004-08. She has published in peer reviewed publications and was the original co-author of the Benchmarks in Collection Care: self-assessment checklist. Most recently Helen produced Volunteering in Collections Care' best practise guideline http://www.archives.org.uk/ara-in-action/best-practice-guidelines.html
Carol E Brown ACR Associate Conservator
Carol E Brown is a freelance Historic Environment consultant with over 25 years' experience in the collections and buildings heritage sector. Carol is an accredited conservator (ACR) whose career has spanned advisory, training development and project management work as well as hands-on conservation and archaeology in the UK, Europe and Middle East.
Trained initially in archaeology and archaeological conservation at Durham University, Carol began work as an objects conservator in museums in Salisbury Cardiff, Bristol and across the South West. She went on to become manager of Historic Scotland's Scottish Conservation Bureau, promoting conservation across Scotland and providing new businesses with grants and training. In Historic Scotland, Carol established a work-based training scheme for early-career conservators and craftspeople which proved to be a model for many other successful schemes. In 2005 Carol wrote a successful HLF grant application for UKIC devising a training bursary scheme for UK conservators; she went on to be employed by the newly-formed Institute of Conservation (Icon) to manage the programme, supporting 84 conservation entrants over 6 years. Carol has also helped establish conservation training placement schemes for the Quinque Foundation, Clothworkers Foundation, National Trust for Scotland and Schloss Trebsen, Leipzig. She was responsible for promoting conservation careers advice within Icon and instrumental in setting up Icon's Conservation Technician Qualification, aimed at those working in conservation support roles.
Carol was a member of the MTI/MGC Training Panel which developed the first conservation standards and S/NVQ qualifications in conservation and was a member of UKIC's Accreditation Working Group. She has been a member of the Pilgrim Trust Conservation Awards panel, a member of the National Trust for Scotland Curatorial Committee and has acted as External Assessor for the Society of Archivists Conservation Certificate. Carol is currently Consultations Secretary for Icon's Scotland Group.
From 2012 Carol has been working on a freelance basis supporting organisations and businesses with grant applications, project management, marketing and the development of innovative training programmes.
Stephen Umpleby ACR Associate Conservator
Stephen Umpleby is an objects conservator and has been working in private practice since 2004. He trained at DeMontfort University (2000-2002) and is an accredited member of the Institute of Conservation (ACR) and is listed on the Conservation Register.
As well as working in private practice, he also works for Museum of London and has held fellowships and internships at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institute and National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh.
He provides a service in all aspects of objects conservation of a wide range of materials and object types (both organic and inorganic), including social history, ethnography, natural history, decorative and applied arts. Additional services include condition surveys and assessments of individual objects and collections, exhibition checking, assessments for loan and storage, mounting objects for exhibition and display (fabricating museum quality display mounts), packing objects for transportation, advising on storage and environmental control, and scale record drawing.
Stephen has worked for a wide range of museums, institutions, and heritage organisations.
Rob White trained in archaeological conservation at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology and is an Accredited Conservator. He has thirty-five years post qualification experience in archaeological conservation and in the development and management of conservation facilities within archaeological contracting units, and later in the management of a large local authority conservation department with additional external contracting functions across a wide national client base, and with particular emphasis on assessment and specification of works on archaeological projects within local planning and development control schemes. More recent experience has been around the operational management of a local authority collections access/development team with responsibility for extensive and varied collections.
Rob served as Chairman of UKIC’s (the Institute of Conservation’s predecessor organisation) Archaeology Section, and also chaired UKIC’s main Council. He chaired The Conservation Forum overseeing the initial unification of the various separate conservation professional bodies, leading to the establishment of the National Council for Conservation-Restoration (NCCR), and later to the development of Icon. Rob has also chaired Icon’s Conservation Register Advisory Board since 2004 and has served on its Conduct Committee since 2012.
Sharon Oldale MA ACR Associate Conservator
Sharon Oldale is an independent book, paper and archive conservator. She trained at Camberwell College of Arts and graduated in 1999 with an MA in Paper Conservation. She is an accredited member of the Institute of Conservation (ICON), is listed on the ICON Conservation Register and is an ICON Accreditation Mentor.
Sharon began her career in 1998 working as a Documentation Assistant for the National Trust. Once qualified, she took a Conservator position at the National Library of Wales in 1999 and then at Cheshire Record Office in 2000. In 2006 she became Senior Conservator at Liverpool Record Office based in Liverpool Central Library, where she was heavily involved with the redevelopment of the library, most notably the preparation and packaging of over 15km of archive collections dating from the 13th century, training, advising and working with removal companies to ensure the safety of collections during transfer. She designed the conservation department and sourced equipment for the new building and advised on the new repository and exhibition areas.
In 2015 Sharon established her own conservation business and embarked on her freelance career. Her clients include libraries, museums, archives, private country estates and antique dealers.
Sharon has extensive experience in all aspects of library and archive conservation, collection care, exhibitions, project management, the large-scale preparation of collections for moving, designing spaces for conservation, emergency response and training and mentoring.
Janie Lightfoot is a director and senior conservator at Janie Lightfoot Textiles LLP which she established in 1977 and leads a team of eight conservation specialists. She has worked extensively on textile projects in the public and private sector nationally and internationally. Other international assignments include: Albania- setting up a textile and objects conservation studio for a new museum in Gjirokaster; Mongolia- assisting the development of textile storage solutions at the Erdene Zuu Monastery; India providing workshops in both Kolkata and Delhi and establishing a textile conservation studio at The Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata.
She is a frequent speaker at conferences both nationally and internationally, acts as a consultant for several major institutions and runs The Lightfoot Textile Archive, a study and research centre in London.
She is an associate lecturer for the University of the Arts London, a CPD (Continued Professional Development) reader and mentor for the Institute of Conservation’s Professional Accreditation Scheme, assessing applicants of all disciplines. She also provides School Work Experience Programmes.
Mike West has worked for Arcade UK Ltd for over 20 years and in a number of industries that require critical environmental control, including complex projects at CERN for the Large Hadron Collider and the recent British Film Institute Poster and Paper store refurbishment at Berkhamsted. Mike is often called upon to troubleshoot environmental control issues and has wealth of experience in understanding and getting to the bottom of issues many archival stores appear to have.
Susan Kirby MA AMA Expert Associate Curatorial Services
Sue Kirby has over thirty years’ experience working as a museum curator and manager. Most recently she has specialised in contract work in museum collections management and development, including sorting, cataloguing and relocation. She also helps private clients with the cataloguing, storage or re-homing of antiques, paintings, sculptures, books and family papers. She trained in local and social history but has worked with mixed collections including archaeological and historical artefacts, artworks, rare books and archives and natural history specimens. She is also an interpretation expert, producing graphic displays, temporary exhibitions, publications and online content. She is used to working for both large and small organisations and in complex environments involving a large number of stakeholders, limited resources and strict deadlines.