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“It’s About Time” at NYU

May 20 to 22, cultural heritage scholars Sanneke Stigter, Ellen Jansen, and Evelyne Snijders will speak at NYU

Sun, May 20 - Tue, May 22  2018

May 20th to 22th, cultural heritage scholars Sanneke Stigter, Ellen Jansen, and Evelyne Snijders present “Training in Time-Based Arts Conservation at the University of Amsterdam” at It’s About Time, taking place at NYU‘s Institute of Fine Arts. Registration for the symposium is $320 per person, you can register here.


It’s About Time

Structure and Scope

The symposium will provide a forum for educators, artists, art historians, museum curators and directors, collectors, gallerists, engineers, computer scientists, and conservators to foster Time-Based Media art conservation as a discipline on an international level. The symposium will be in English, housing can be arranged. 

You can find the full program here.

The Conference Aims

  • To provide an overview of current programs in TBM art conservation education and initiatives for professional development

  • To present NYU’s TBM art conservation curriculum

  • To review core competencies and skills expected from the new generation of media conservators

  • To discuss course content and teaching formats

  • To define the profile of a TBM art conservator and explore the job market

  • To promote career opportunities in contemporary art conservation

  • To strengthen collaborative efforts for TBM art preservation

  • To examine current and future trends in technology-based art

  • To establish a network of TBM art conservation educators worldwide



  • Educators with experience or with expressed interest in technology-based art

  • TBM art conservators engaged in education and training or collaborative projects

  • Professionals embarking on strategic planning for TBM or other new fields in conservation

  • Funding agencies and collectors supporting education and collaboration, or media art in general

  • Curators and administrators in charge of museum collections already holding TBM artworks or planning to expand into contemporary art

  • Practitioners ready to share their needs, challenges, and successes in shaping the new discipline


Time-Based Media

Time-Based Media (TBM) artworks are characterized by having a durational element, such as sound, performance, light, or movement, that unfolds to the viewer over time via slide, film, video, software, or the internet. Conserving these artworks presents particular challenges, given their conceptual nature and their use of components that extend well beyond traditional artist materials.

TBM art conservation has been identified as a priority by many leading professional organizations worldwide due to rapidly growing TBM collections and the urgent need to preserve them. Aiming to solve the ever-increasing challenges of media art conservation, a new generation of media conservators will have to cross the disciplinary boundaries of computer science, material science, media technology, engineering, art history, and conservation. This symposium is promoting education and training opportunities for TBM as a new specialization within art conservation. It’s about time to join forces with all stakeholders involved to shape a new discipline.

Training in Time-Based Arts
Conservation at the
University of Amsterdam


Artists have always explored new media immediately embraced new media technology, such as film, video and digital platforms ever since they came into existence. One of the biggest challenges in the conservation of these works is the rapid obsolescence of the technological components and insight into which parts are crucial for the identity of the work. Whereas media art collections are growing, both in museums and private collections, they rarely engage a professionally trained conservator to take care of these complex technology-based artworks. For this reason, the specialization of contemporary art as a training program in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at the University of Amsterdam has included new media art as part of their curriculum since the beginning.

The way in which time-based arts (TBA) has been offered in the program has changed over the years, as its implementation depends on the composition of the group of students, the time available, and the budget. Over the years, we have developed a TBA-workshop in collaboration with Dutch museums and Lima, the Dutch platform for time-based arts, involving other University departments and private professionals in the field in order to address the questions and challenges in student workshops within a practical setting. Artworks from various collections have been examined, resulting in treatment proposals, actual conservation treatments, and small-scale exhibitions.

The TBA-workshop fits the theoretical foundation that is laid throughout the master years of the curriculum. During these years, the students are confronted with the dilemmas concerning conservation of complex artworks through several general building blocks, such as documentation, conservation ethics, and artist collaboration, including training in conducting artist interviews. This provides a sound basis for those students that want to specialize in the field of media art conservation to continue in this direction during their two-year post-master program, which includes work placements.

In this presentation, we will share the setup of the TBA-workshops we have organized so far and discuss our experiences. Currently, we are exploring the possibilities of implementing a TBA-track within the specialization contemporary art, including a formal TBA-module as part of the MA and post-Master program Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at the University of Amsterdam.


Sanneke Stigter

Sanneke Stigter is Assistant Professor in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at the University of Amsterdam, directing the specialization Contemporary Art since 2007. After receiving her graduate degree in Art History at the University of Amsterdam in 1996, she went on to complete the five-year postgraduate training program in the Conservation of Paintings and Painted Objects, with a specialization in Modern Art at the SRAL with honors in 2003.

She then worked as contemporary art conservator at various collections and museums in the Netherlands and headed the Conservation Department of Contemporary Art and Modern Sculpture at the Kröller-Müller Museum for nearly eight years, where she also curated several exhibitions on art conservation. She takes part in various advisory boards and has been involved in many research projects devoted to the conservation of contemporary art. In 2016 she was awarded a Ph.D. on her dissertation ‘Between Concept and Material. Working with Conceptual Art: A Conservator’s Testimony’.

Her research interests lie in conservation theory, museum practice, oral history and artist interviews, with a special focus on installation art, photoworks, and conceptual art. She has lectured and published widely on these topics.

Sanneke Stiger © Eduard ter Schiphorst

Ellen Jansen

Ellen Jansen is a conservator of modern and contemporary art. After finishing her MA study in Art History in 2006 at the VU University Amsterdam, she enrolled in the training program in Conservation and Restoration of Modern and Contemporary Art at the UvA (2007-2012).

During the program she did internships at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede and the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. She has a long history in museum practice, mainly focusing on analogue and digital imaging, working closely with conservation departments.

In 2012, she started as a lecturer in conservation practice and assistant coordinator within the contemporary art training program at the UvA.

Ellen Jansen ©

Evelyne Snijders

Evelyne Snijders is a conservator of modern and contemporary art. After graduating from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and obtaining her Propedeuse in Art History at the University of Amsterdam, she started the postdoctoral training program in Conservation of Modern Art at the SRAL in Maastricht (2005-2009).

She worked at the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Contemporary Conservation in New York, the Kröller-Müller Museum, and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam as an intern.

Today she works as an independent conservator for several Dutch museums, auction houses, and private collectors. Besides that, she works at the University of Amsterdam as a lecturer in Contemporary Art conservation practice.

Evelyne Snijders ©

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