Welcome Messages from the 3rd APTCCARN Meeting | The Conservation of Material Culture in Tropical Climates

From the Host Institution

Associate Professor Supanee Chayabutra, Director of The Material Research Centre For Art and Design at Silpakorn University, Thailand

‘The Conservation of Material Culture in Tropical Climates’ Symposium is a targeted forum for the dissemination and discussion of regionally relevant preservation solutions for Southeast Asia’s vast cultural record. Co-organised by the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation (University of Melbourne, Australia) and Silpakorn University in Thailand under the APTCCARN (Asia Pacific Twentieth Century Conservation Art Network), the program brings international experts engaged with the conservation of material culture in hot, humid climates to this event in Thailand. The program will disseminate recent findings coordinated under the larger strategic agenda of APTCCARN and engage a broader audience to its activities and future programs.

Over three days the 3rd APTCCARN Meeting will address regionally relevant issues relating to the conservation of material culture where the ageing of artworks in tropical climates and individual artists choice of materials are the key factors influencing the preservation of vast collections of cultural heritage in tropical Southeast Asia. The 3rd APTCCARN Meeting will be delivered at Silpakorn University’s Nakhon Pathom Campus where the Faculty of Fine Arts, Materials Research Centre for Art and Design, and Silpakorn University’s Arts Centre are located. The program will include formal papers based on the APTCCARN research platforms and artist- conservator panel discussions presented in a Symposium context, together with practicum visits to the Art Centre, artists studios and both artists and industrial paint manufacturers to engage participants in the issues informing material behaviour in tropical climates and their methods of production.

Included in the program will also be a formal ceremony for the APTCCARN Honours Award to acknowledge the significant contribution a professional conservator has made to the conservation of cultural heritage in Southeast Asia.

2012 Conference Themes:

  • Artists Materials and Materiality
  • Conservation Practice
  • Communicating Conservation

Silpakorn University welcomes participants to the 3rd APTCCARN Meeting.


From the 3rd APTCCARN Organising Committee

Dr Nicole Tse, The Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, The University of Melbourne, Australia

Preservation methodologies for the conservation of cultural materials in tropical Southeast Asia presents many unique and challenging issues. There are vast collections of traditional and modern objects in public and private hands in Southeast Asia, and yet the preservation methodologies appropriate to the object’s value and materiality, the diverse tropical climates and related degradation mechanisms, and the in country resources, knowledge systems and expertise, are being re-evaluated and re-developed. Likewise, attitudes to cultural heritage conservation across tropical Southeast Asia, vary greatly both in their approach and in their philosophical origins. In many Southeast Asian countries we can trace a respect for, and an active use of and conservation of the past and its material culture through traditional systems. More recently in the twentieth century, preservation models have been based on scientific, museological principles as introduced through international charters, which then made their way into the conservation laboratories of the Southeast Asian national museums and galleries. Heritage professionals today are evaluating such conservation strategies in view of the traditional and contemporary cultures in which material culture exists.

‘The Conservation of Material Culture in Tropical Climates: the 3rd APTCCARN Meeting’ showcases the shared experiences, research and expertise that currently informs preservation methodologies across Southeast Asia. The wide-ranging and regionally relevant topics covered by the speakers includes paint properties and formulations; the use of traditional materials for contemporary use; the materials and techniques of manuscripts, organic materials, traditional and modern paintings; degradation mechanisms; and the diagnostic and practical tools for their conservation. The Meeting aims to provide a forum to test conservation methodologies for their appropriateness and effectiveness in the environment in which they are used.

The 3rd APTCCARN Committee welcomes participants to the 3rd APTCCARN Meeting to discuss regionally relevant topics and engage a broader audience to its activities and future programs. We thank Dr Pisit Charoenwongsa for his keynote speech and providing a broader and experienced perspective of the heritage conservation issues across Southeast Asia. We thank Silpakorn University for hosting the event, and particularly Khunying Kaisri Sri-arun, the president of Silpakorn University Council for preciding over the meeting opening, and the support of Dr Jarungsaeng Laksanaboonsong, Dean of the Faculty of Science. It is a delight to have this Meeting hosted in the peaceful surroundings of Nakhon Pathom Campus where the Faculty of Fine Arts, Materials Research Centre for Art and Design, and Silpakorn University’s Arts Centre are located. Further this program would not been possible without the support of the Silpakorn University Organising Committee, Dr. Thanit Pewnim and his team from Department ofChemistry for assisting with translations during the event, and to Mr.Vichaya Mukdamanee for also assisting with translations. Vichaya is an important Thai artist who has a commitment to art conservation in Thailand. We thank all the participants for attending the Meeting and look forward to the collaborations that can grow out of this event.


Originally published online 30 November, 2012.