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Archaeology

The AHRC Research Centre for Textile Conservation and Textile Studies

Establish in 2002, the Research Centre's aim is to improve the care and interpretation of historic textiles.

The AHRC Research Centre for Textile Conservation and Textile Studies was established in July 2002 over 5 years, thanks to a major award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) of £948,000 between 2002 - 2007.

The Centre is based at the Textile Conservation Centre (TCC) at the University of Southampton's Winchester School of Art. The TCC's partners in this prestigious initiative are the University of Bradford (Department of Environmental & Archaeological Sciences) and the University of Manchester (School of Art History and Archaeology and the Whitworth Art Gallery).

The Research Centre's aim is to improve the care and interpretation of historic textiles by enhancing knowledge and understanding of textiles and textile conservation. The Centre's Director is Dr Maria Hayward (TCC), who is assisted by three Associate Directors: Dinah Eastop (Senior Lecturer, TCC), Professor Mark Pollard (Bradford) and Professor Julian Thomas (Manchester).

Research themes

The Centre's four inter-linked research themes are:

Textile materials

Focusing on the material properties of textiles, what they are made of and how they deteriorate. Understanding how materials change over time helps conservators to implement effective conservation strategies.

Textiles and text

This focuses on the investigation of links between surviving textiles and written records and includes research into liturgical textiles of the Reformation and dress at Henry VIII's court.

Modern materials

Focusing on objects made of synthetic fibres and also those that have non-textile components, such as plastic buttons and latex foam (in upholstery). Understanding the material properties of these materials is fundamental to effective conservation.

Worldly goods

Focusing on textiles in country houses and considering how such textiles should be presented to the public. Projects include research into tapestry conservation techniques and research into 'concealed garments'; (the practice of deliberately concealing old garments in historic houses - as they were built or converted - in order to protect the household in some way). See also:

The research is undertaken mainly by two groups of researchers: post-doctoral Research Fellows from various disciplines and Research Conservators. The outcomes of this research will be wide-ranging and include books, papers in refereed journals, three major conferences and exhibitions.