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Alexander Kluge at UCL

Published: Sep 18, 2014 11:13:43 AM

Prof Tamar Garb

Professor Tamar Garb Elected as Fellow of the British Academy

Published: Jul 31, 2014 8:57:55 AM

Graduate Bursary Support Scheme 2014

Published: Jun 3, 2014 10:28:00 AM

Dr Emma Richardson

Characterization and conservation of synthetic polymers, mechanical properties of textiles and films, and the in situ analysis of artefacts

Email: e.richardson@ucl.ac.uk
Dr Emma Richardson

Emma Richardson teaches the material science of art and heritage artefacts, with a particular focus on the conservation and preservation of organic materials. She received her doctorate in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Southampton in 2009, and subsequently took the position of post-doctoral fellow at the Getty Conservation Institute (2009-2012). Her education and research has combined both science and conservation, which has led to multidisciplinary collaborations with various institutions such as The National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Getty Research Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

The overarching focus of her research has been the study of organic polymers, both natural and synthetic. In recent years she has specialised in the manufacture, identification and degradation of the synthetic type, commonly referred to as plastics. Often employed in modern and contemporary artworks, they can be present in many forms such as textiles, films, foams, castings and paint layers. Her PhD research focused on the characterisation and stability of Nylon fibres in heritage artifacts. She developed non-invasive analytical techniques for the in situ identification of contemporary textile materials, providing museum curators and conservators with collection management tools and extending the life of textile artefacts. Emma later went on to investigate the stability of such material when subjected to pest eradication treatments, the results of which proving invaluable for informed preventive conservation strategies.

Whilst working within the Modern and Contemporary Art Research group at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) she advanced her research in the area of synthetics by overseeing the collaborative project between the GCI and Disney Animation Research Library. The projects aim was to investigate both the chemical and physical degradation mechanisms of cellulose ester animation cels, concentrating on the identification of the different polymer formulations, monitoring plasticizer migration as a means of assessing physical stability, and understanding the influence of environment on the stability of the cellulose acetate/paint interface.

Additionally, Emma worked extensively on the Getty’s region-wide Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 initiative, which encompassed over sixty cultural institutions to document, interpret and present postwar art in Southern California. She was co-curator of the exhibition From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentine’s Gray Column, which opened at the J.Paul Getty Museum in 2011, and focused on the issues surrounding the making, conservation and display of a monumental polyester resin sculpture. The project involved oral history interviews, documenting studio practices and extensive collaboration with artists and art historians.

For the past three years she has also been actively involved in an European Union funded Seventh Framework Programme, POPART: Preservation Of Plastic ARTifacts in museum collections. As a member of the committee, Emma played an active role in bi-annual meetings, performed laboratory analysis, authored sections for the accompanying book publication, and delivered a workshop during the international conference in March 2012. This project brought together the expertise and facilities of eleven academic and museum institutions, enabling interdisciplinary collaboration and research. Its results have been wide reaching and have highlighted the benefit of such research grants. As such Emma is enthusiastic to hear from potential collaborators who are interested in cross-disciplinary research.

Publications: Books, Book Sections and Catalogues

In preparation

  • Richardson. E, Classification of Historic Polyamide Textiles, in NIR Spectroscopy for Historic Materials, ed. Stirlic. M and T. Fearn, Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • Fearn. T, Luxford. N, and E. Richardson, Multivariate Analysis in Conservation Science, Tools for Conservation Series, Getty Publications, Los Angeles.


Published

  • Richardson. E and R. Rivenc, Introduction into Hand-held FTIR, in POPART: Preservation Of Plastic ARTifact in museum collections, 2012, Le Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques, pp.44-46.

  • Richardson. E, Mechanical Properties of Polymers, in POPART: Preservation Of Plastic ARTifact in museum collections, 2012, Le Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques, pp.84-88.

  • Richardson. E, The Physical Effects of Plasticizer Loss in Cellulose Acetate Films, in POPART: Preservation Of Plastic ARTifact in museum collections, 2012, Le Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques, pp.196-198.

  • Learner. T, Rivenc. R and E. Richardson, From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentine’s Gray Column, 2011, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles.


Peer Review Articles

In preparation

  • Richardson. E, Martin. G and P. Wyeth, Discrimination of Natural and Synthetic Polyamides by Near-Infrared Spectroscopy in Combination with Chemometric Methods, to be submitted to Applied Spectroscopy.

  • Richardson. E, Mazurek. J, Schilling. M and T. Learner, Dependence of Moisture Absorption in Cellulose Esters on Plasticizer Content, to be submitted to International Journal of Conservation Science.

Accepted for Publication

  • Truffa-Giachet. M, Schilling. M, McCormick. K, Mazurek. J, Richardson. E, Khanjian. H and T. Learner, Assessment of the Composition and Condition of Animation Cels Made from Cellulose Acetate, Awaiting Publication, Journal of Polymer Degradation and Stability.

Published

  • Richardson. E, Martin. G and P. Wyeth, Effects of Heat on New and Aged Polyamide 6,6 Textiles During Pest Eradication, In Press, Corrected Proof, Journal of Polymer Degradation and Stability.

  • Richardson. E, Truffa-Giachet. M, Schilling. M and T. Learner, Assessing the Physical Stability of Archival Cellulose Acetate Films by Monitoring Plasticizer Loss, In Press, Corrected Proof, Journal Polymer Degradation and Stability.

  • Rivenc. R, Richardson. E and T. Learner, The LA Look from Start to Finish: Materials, Processes and Conservation of Works by the Finish Fetish Artists, 2012, in the postprints of the ICOM-CC 16th Triennial Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, September 2011.

  • Richardson. E and P. Garside, The Use of Near Infrared Spectroscopy as a Diagnostic Tool for Historic Silk Artefacts, 2009, published in the postprints of the IRUG 8 Biannual conference (Journal of ePreservation Science), held at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria, March 2008, pp.68-64.

  • Richardson. E and P. Garside, Assessing the Physical State of Historic Textiles via NIR Spectroscopy, 2008, published in the preprints of CHRESP: 8th Conference on Sustaining Europe’s Cultural Heritage, Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 2008, pp. 91-93.

  • Richardson. E, Martin. G, Wyeth. P and X. Zhang, State of the Art: Non-invasive Interrogation of Textiles in Museum Collections, 2008, Microchimica Acta, Vol. 162, No. 3-4, pp. 303-312.

  • Richardson. E, Martin. G, and P. Wyeth, On-site Collections Management: NIR Characterisation and Condition Monitoring of Modern Textiles, 2008, published in the postprints of Conservation Science 2007 (Archetype Publications), held at the Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, May 2007, pp.262-269.

  • Thickett. D and E. Richardson, Preventive Conservation Research for Plastics on Open Display, 2008, published in the postprints of the Plastics Conference (Archetype Publications), held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, May 2007, pp.89-96.

  • Richardson. E, Martin. G, and P. Wyeth, Collecting a Near Infrared Spectral Database of Modern Textiles for use of On-site Characterisation, 2007, published in the postprints of the conference, Textiles and Text, AHRC Research Centre for Textile Conservation and Textile Studies Second Annual Conference (Archetype Publications) held at The Textile Conservation Centre, Winchester, UK, June 2006, pp.257-263.

Conference Papers and Invited Lectures

  • Richardson. E, Assessing the Stability of Archival cellulose Acetate Film, Material Properties Forum, Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, London, February 2014

  • Richardson. E, and P. Lange-Berndt, Plastic Fantastic?, Institute of Making, University College London, London, March 2013

  • Richardson. E, CA Dreaming? The Nightmare of Cellulose Acetate Artifacts, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, USA, March 2012

  • Richardson. E, Immaterial? The Material of West Coast Minimalism, University College London, UK, March 2012

  • Richardson. E, Schilling. M and T. Learner, Investigating the Effect of Plasticizer Content on the Stability of Cellulose Acetate, POPART CORDIS FP7: Preservation of Plastic Artefacts in Museum Collections, Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (CRCC), Paris, France, March 2012

  • Rivenc. R, Richardson. E and T. Learner, The LA Look from Start to Finish: Materials, Processes and Conservation of Works by the Finish Fetish Artists, ICOM-CC 16th Triennial Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 2012

  • Richardson. E, Schilling. M, Mazurek. J and T. Learner, New Materials, New Conservation Challenges: Interim Results, Disney Animation Research Library, Los Angeles, USA, October 2011

  • Richardson. E, Plastic Fantastic? New Materials, New Conservation Challenges, Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, USA, June 2011

  • Richardson. E, Schilling. M, and T. Learner, Plastic Fantastic? Monitoring the Deterioration of Cellulose Esters in Collections, Eastern Analytical Symposium, Somerset, NJ, USA, November 2010

  • Richardson. E, Schilling. M and T. Learner, Modern and Contemporary Art Research, Chemiluminescence Workshop, ENVIART COST Action D42: Chemical Interactions between Cultural Artefacts and Indoor Environment, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia, October 2010

  • Richardson. E, Martin. G and P. Wyeth, What am I Modelling? Some Factors to be Considered when Interpreting NIR Spectra with Multivariate Analysis, IRUG 9, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 2010

  • Richardson. E, Investigating the Characterisation and Stability of Polyamide 6,6 in Heritage Artefacts, viva voce, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, July 2009

  • Richardson. E, Garside. P, Martin. G and P. Wyeth, On-site Collections Management: NIR Characterization and Condition Monitoring within Textile Collections, Eastern Analytical Symposium, Somerset, NJ, USA, November 2008

  • Richardson. E, Martin. G and P. Wyeth, On-site Characterisation of Polyamide Material by Near Infrared Spectroscopy and Principal Component Analysis, ENVIART COST Action D42: Chemical Interactions between Cultural Artefacts and Indoor Environment, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 2008

  • Richardson. E and P. Garside, The Use of Near Infrared Spectroscopy as a Diagnostic Tool for Historic Silk Artefacts, IRUG 8, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria, March 2008

  • Thickett. D and E. Richardson, Preventive Conservation Research for Plastics on Open Display, Plastics, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, May 2007

  • Richardson. E, Martin. G and P. Wyeth, On-site Collections Management: NIR Characterisation and Condition Monitoring of Modern Textiles, Conservation Science 2007, Institute of Conservation Science, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, May 2007

  • Richardson. E, Martin. G and P. Wyeth, Collecting a Near Infrared Spectral Database of Modern Textiles for use of On-site Characterisation, Textiles and Text, AHRC Research Centre for Textile Conservation and Textile Studies Second Annual Conference, The Textile Conservation Centre, Winchester, UK, June 2006

  • Richardson. E, Martin. G and P. Wyeth, Non-invasive Characterisation and Condition Monitoring of Textile Artefacts, Terahertz Spectroscopy, University of Novosibirsk, Novosibirsk, Siberia, January 2006

A list of publications is also available from UCL's Institutional Research Information Service via the Iris link below.