UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


Looking on the Dark Side: Decay, Preservation and the Making of Knowledge

28 April 2022, 5:30 pm–6:30 pm

Photo of a decaying leaf

Join us for an ISH Guest Lecture with Dr Mary Brooks, Associate Professor at Durham University.

Event Information

Open to





UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage

About this lecture

This lecture will explore the contradictions and paradoxes involved in balancing the agency of decay with the impulse for preservation and what this might mean for how we think about objects and places and how they are treated and presented to the public.

Virtual event details

This virtual lecture will consist of a 45 minute presentation from Mary Brooks, followed by a 15 minute Q&A chaired by Josep Grau-Bove, ISH Associate Professor.

About the speaker

Mary Brooks is an Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology, Durham University, where she is co-director of the MA International Cultural Heritage Management and also teaches on the MA Museums & Artefact Studies and MA Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects. Trained at the Textile Conservation Centre (TCC), Hampton Court Palace/Courtauld Institute, she undertook conservation and curatorial roles in Europe, America and England before returning to the TCC as Head of Studies and Research. She was Acting Director of Studies, MA Cultural Heritage Management at the University of York and Monument Fellow at York Castle Museum. She is particularly interested in applying object-based research and conservation approaches to the interpretation of cultural artefacts as a means for enhanced public engagement. 

Research interests include seventeenth-century English domestic embroidery, the use of X-radiography for understanding of textiles and dress, vestments and sacred textiles as well as regenerated protein fibres. She has guest-curated two exhibitions at the Ashmolean Museum, most recently The Eye of the Needle. She is a Governor of the Pasold Fund and a Trustee of the Textile Conservation Foundation.

PHOTO BY Rosanna Gaddoni ON Unsplash