Welcome Messages from the 4th APTCCARN Meeting | Embracing Cultural Materials Conservation in the Tropics

From the Host Institution

Kung Jui-chang, President, Cheng Shiu University, Taiwan

The Conservation Center, Cheng Shiu University in Taiwan is pleased to host the 2015 4th APTCCARN Meeting in Taiwan. With a focus on Asia Pacific’s diverse climate, history and future, the meeting aims to embrace cultural materials conservation in the region, our experiences and the future. Issues such as developing a regional practice of cultural materials conservation within the needs, resources, communities and geographic place will be addressed. This is in light of recent extreme weather events, the current reality of the environment and sustainable practices and crosses the themes of:

  • The effect of tropical climates on cultural materials

  • Their unique degradation mechanisms

  • The environment and current realities of collections care

  • Standards and principles of conservation practice in tropical climates

  • The impact of Asia Pacific culture and geography on artists’ material choices, techniques and artists’ intentions

Cheng Shiu University is the professional polytechnic school in southern Taiwan. In 2005, we set up the Conservation Center managed by the Office of Arts and Culture, being engaged in the promotion of arts education and cultural heritage protection work. The Conservation Center integrates all the studies of conservation and restoration about national cultural heritage into the references, developing the professional investigation, with the result that the related departments enable to solve all kind of problems in the field of conservation and restoration of works of art.

The lack of proper concepts of conservation causes serious damages on art relics so that we keep "education" and "research" as faith to hold several conferences and exhibitions in relation to conservation and restoration. Through related seminars and activities we'd like to let people, no matter how young or old they are, experience and understand proper methods of conservation of each artwork and then spread the correct ideas that implement "Lifelong learning", "Anytime learning" and "Learning by chance".

The Center is willing to disseminate the right information about conservation and restoration and put up a bridge of mutual trust between collectors and art relics, and even use our profession for feedback on history and culture.

We would like to thank the major sponsor Chen Cheng-po Foundation. They have made a significant contribution to the development of cultural materials conservation in Taiwan and now internationally, with the support of APTCCARN. And other sponsors.

This meeting has been supported by staff of Cheng Shiu University, Taiwan and the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation (University of Melbourne, Australia) under the auspices of APTCCARN (Asia Pacific Tropical Climate Conservation Art Network). We thank you for your commitment and support in ensuring this meeting is a success.

Cheng Shiu University welcomes participants to the 4th APTCCARN Meeting.


From the 4th APTCCARN Organising Committee

Dr Nicole Tse, Founding Member APTCCARN & The Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, The University of Melbourne

Dr Ana Labrador, Founding Member APTCCARN & Assistant Director, National Museum of the Philippines

Diana Tay, Paintings Conservator, Singapore

Welcome to the 4th APTCCARN Meeting in Taiwan at the Conservation Center, Cheng Shiu University. APTCCARN was inaugurated in 2009 at the Balai Seni Visual Negara (National Visual Art Gallery in Malaysia) and has since held meetings at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and Silpakorn University in Thailand. It was established in recognition of the need to support a geographically focussed practice of cultural materials conservation in the Asia Pacific and a maturing discipline. Over six years APTCCARN has built a community of practice from which approaches are emerging and revealing important information about the culture and conditions in the region. Our APTCCARN meetings provide a space for reflexive thinking to share conservation experiences and test new concepts or ideologies within the geographic focus of the Asia Pacific.

As the title alludes to, ‘Embracing Cultural Materials Conservation in the Tropics’, the 4th Meeting intends to highlight how we are actively and productively interacting with cultural heritage and whether commonalities exist among us. In reviewing past conservation approaches in the Asia Pacific region, underpinning many of them are Western notions of heritage. Institutions, communities and conservation practices have struggled with a tension between an object centred approach and scientific methods versus ones that are more value based and substantiated according to differences in institutional practices, development histories and each disciplinary leader’s foci. The very existence of APTCCARN recognises the need to develop regional approaches, however recent case studies and discussions have shown that they vary in complexity, resources and capacity. How this translates to principles or a regional discipline of cultural materials conservation are worthy of discussion at the 4th APTCCARN Meeting.

In saying this, a significant aspect of cultural materials conservation relates to the physical requirements of collections and their material stability. Agreeably the success of materials conservation is centrally focussed on stakeholder and community contexts of decision making, however an understanding of deterioration processes and object materiality are important. The knowledge of such matters does exist, as vested in people, objects and documents, however it has not been fully captured for an improved understanding of material stability in the tropics. These are other points for discussion.

The 4th APTCCARN Committee is very pleased that Conservation Center of Cheng Shiu University in Taiwan is hosting this event. Dr Ioseba Soraluze and the local organising committee have worked tirelessly over the past year to arrange the event details to its perfection. Hosting an international event like this takes a lot of commitment, attention to detail and we deeply thank them. We thank Dr Rujaya Abhakorn, Director of SEAMEO SPAFA, for his opening speech and engaging vision of cultural heritage in the region. Further thanks is extended to invited scholar, Prof. Hsiao Chong-rui of National Cheng Kung University of Taiwan in uncovering the materiality of Chen Cheng Po’s artistic practice. Lastly we thank the sponsors and particularly the Chen Cheng-po Cultural Foundation as a major sponsor. We hope you also enjoy the important exhibition on the artist’s work.

Thank you to all speakers, chairs and participants for attending the 4th APTCCARN Meeting on ‘Embracing Cultural Materials Conservation in the Tropics’.


Originally published online 25 November, 2015