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Icon welcomes individuals and organisations from all backgrounds who identify with the conservation and preservation of our cultural heritage.  Our membership embraces the entire conservation community as well as members of the public who are keen to learn more or show their support for conservation work.


Photographic Materials Group News and Events PDF Print E-mail


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Please forward news of any events relating to the conservation of photographic materials to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and we will add details here and on our facebook page and twitter feed.


Future Events: Icon Photographic Materials Group

New! Sharing Photographic Collections: digitisation and display

Icon Photographic Materials Group is pleased to announce that we will be co-hosting a one day event with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales on the theme of digitisation and display to coincide with their exhibition, Historic Photography Uncovered and the recent launch of their online database of images from their historic photography collections.

Speakers at the event will be talking on a range of subjects such as support for digitisation projects, considerations relating to the display and loan of photographs, and mounting methods for water sensitive materials. There will also be behind-the-scenes tours and a guided tour of the exhibition.

Date: 16th April 2015

Time: 11.00 - 15.30 (registration/coffee from 10.30)

LocationCardiff, National Museum Cardiff

Cost: £20 Icon members; £30 non-members; £7.50 Icon member concessions

We would like to thank National Museum Cardiff for their support in hosting this event.

Click here for full event details including how to book.

Cyanotype Workshop at Lux Darkroom

The Icon Book & Paper Group Co-operative Training Register and the Icon Photographic Materials Group are delighted to present an evening workshop at Lux Darkroom.

You will learn how to mix light-sensitive cyanotype chemistry, how to sensitise, expose, and process cyanotypes, and a brief history of the process.

Date: 26th March 2015

Time: 6pm - 9pm

Location: Lux Darkroom, London, EC1V 1NQ

Cost: £54 ICON members; £66 non-members

Please note this is an opportunity to have hands-on experience of a historical printing process, and does not address conservation issues or treatments of cyanotypes.

Click here for full event details including how to book


Past Events: Icon Photographic Materials Group 

Let’s Talk About Photography Event Series
Liverpool 1 day Event and AGM

Date: 8th May 2014
Time: 10.30 onwards
Location: Liverpool, Various
Cost: £15 Icon members; £30 non-members; £7.50 Concessions

Click here for event details

Let’s Talk About Photography Event Series
A Visit to “Surviving Tsunami” Exhibition, Cellulose Nitrate Project and Photo Store Tour at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

Date: 17th December, 2013
Time: 11:00 - 15:00
Location: Pitt Rivers Museum
Organised by: Icon Photographic Materials Group

The Pitt Rivers Museum cares for the anthropology and world archaeology collections of the University of Oxford. It is known for its unique collections originating from all parts of the world, as well as its method of display – with objects arranged according to type – within a renovated, environmentally-controlled building.

The “Surviving Tsunami” exhibition highlighted a volunteer-led project in Japan to salvage and conserve historic photograph collections after two museums and a library in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, were destroyed in the 2011 tsunami.

The Museum’s Photograph Collections Store Rooms are normally hidden from public view, but provide an excellent example for museums holding small but important collections of historical photographic material.

This event provided a rare opportunity to look around the exhibition with the curator of the exhibition (Philip Grover), as well as to see “behind the scenes” of the Museum (with Christopher Morton, Curator of the Photograph Collections).

This was a free event for all Icon members. 

PF13: Positive Futures in an Uncertain World

Many thanks to our speakers during the photographic materials session at the PF13 conference in Glasgow: Andrew Megaw, Jenny Harvey, Sarah Allen and Rachel Nordstrom really did us proud. Additionally, Ian Moor contributed a very well received slot on behalf of Photographic Materials to the joint session on adhesives and Saya Miles contributed an excellent poster on her recent project. Well done and a BIG thankyou to all our contributors!


We are very pleased to be able to share Saya Miles’ poster presentation from the photographic materials session at the recent Icon conference PF13 with our members.


The Red Box Project: conserving and digitising an open access photographic collection 

Visit to the British Film Institute's off-site cold store

Date: 18th October, 2012
Time: 11:00 - 15:00
Location: The BFI Cold Store, Warwickshire
Organised by: Icon Photographic Materials Group

The BFI is the lead organisation for film in the UK - Since 1933 they have cared for the BFI National Archive, and celebrated the best of British and international filmmaking through festivals, film restoration, DVD releases and cinema programming.

The Icon Photographic Materials Group visited the BFI Cold Store in Warwickshire on Thursday, 18th October. The day included a guided tour of inside and outside of the cold store, followed by a visit to a country pub for lunch, drink and informal discussion about conservation of photographic materials and environmental control.

Visit to The Photographers' Gallery & a talk by Yoko Shiraiwa

"Rescuing Tsunami damaged photographs in Japan - Saving images and memories of family photographs"

Date: 19th July 2012
Time: 17.30 - 20.00
Location: The Photographers' Gallery, London
Speaker: Yoko Shiraiwa (Conservator)
Organised by: Icon Photographic Materials Group

This event included a tour of the newly-opened Gallery with a curator, and a lecture from visiting conservator Yoko Shiraiwa who has been working on photographic materials damaged in the Japanese tsunami:

"Rescuing Tsunami damaged photographs in Japan - Saving images and memories of family photographs"

We believe this was the first time a conservator had spoken about the tsunami in the UK so we are very grateful to Yoko for coming to talk to us.

The event was offered at a reasonable cost thanks to the generosity of The Photographers' Gallery and Harwell Document Restoration Services.

Travel Directions:

Yoko's talk was also delivered at an event in Edinburgh. For details, see entry below.

"Rescuing Tsunami damaged photographs in Japan - Saving images and memories of family photographs"

A talk by Yoko Shiraiwa

Date: 12th July 2012
Time: 15.00 - 16,30
Location: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
Speaker: Yoko Shiraiwa (Conservator)
Organised by: Icon Scotland & Icon Photographic Materials Group

The Scottish event will took place at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh on Thursday the 12th July. We were able to offer the event thanks to the generous sponsorship of Icon Scotland and the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

Travel directions:

ICON Photographic Materials Group Day Conference 2011

22 September 2011- Day Conference.
A one day conference was held in September 2011 at the Manger Barn, near the Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire.

About 40 delegates listened to the presentations, and during breaks and lunch viewed the exhibition of photographs by George Bernard Shaw in the Fox Talbot Museum and examples of platinum prints from the Burnett Collection. Posters by Dorothy Kenn of the British Library on the conservation of Daguerreotypes by Antoine Claudet from the Talbot Collection, and by Saya Miles on her time as an Icon intern and beyond were also displayed.

The Day finished with the Annual General Meeting of the Group during which Anita Bools Group Chair updated the meeting on the activities of the group, events happening at Icon generally and her work with the chairpersons of other Icon groups. Dominic Wall as Group Treasurer updated the Icon members present on the new funding arrangement for Icon Groups, all other funding having been taken from them and centralised. Most significantly 4 new Committee members of the Group were elected (see Officers & Committee page).


  • Man and Cameraman: The Conservation, Cataloguing and Digitisation of the Photographs of George Bernard Shaw
    Anita Bools ACR, National Trust and Ed Fay London School of Economics
  • Investigating Glass Deterioration and Delaminating Emulsion on Glass Plate Negatives: Causes, Consequences and Treatment of the Bedford Lemere Collection
    Sarah Allen, English Heritage
  • The Conservation of Harold Pinter and Lawrence Durrell’s Photographs
    Julia Wiland, British Library
  • Positive Negative
    The photographic negative and its relationship to the contact print: practice, conservation issues and photographic aesthetics.
    Simon Fleury, Victoria and Albert Museum
  • The History, Chemistry, Usage and Conservation of the Platinum Print Process
    Ian Moor, Centre for Photographic Conservation, London
  • Towner Contemporary Art Museum and its Photographic Collections
    Corinne Hillman Farmer ACR

The Photographic Materials Conservation Group are grateful to the National Trust and the Fox Talbot Museum for generously hosting the day.


The photographic collection of George Bernard Shaw is owned by the National Trust but is housed and maintained by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and is now accessible at the LSE. More details at the links above 

Lacock Abbey is the former home of W.H.F.Talbot, inventor of the positive-negative process and innovator of many other photographic techniques. While the main Talbot collection is now housed at the British Library the Fox Talbot Museum still has a collection of material relating to his life and work, and holds temporary exhibitions on historic photography and processes.


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