Skip navigation


Rhiannon Clarricoates

Where are you doing now?

Since starting at Hirst Conservation as an assistant paintings conservator, I have progressed to the position of senior paintings conservator, a role which remains consistently challenging yet hugely rewarding. Having further developed my skills that I acquired during the course at Northumbria, I am about to undergo my professional accreditation assessment. In addition to my work at Hirst Conservation, I have acted as secretary to the ICON Paintings Group since 2008. In this position I assist with the organisation of annual conferences, evening talks and workshops for the continual professional development of my peers, and to ensure that painting conservators are using the most up to date techniques and are abreast of current academic thinking in this field. I recently attended the Conservation Unit at the University of Lincoln as a visiting lecturer to undergraduate and post-graduate diploma students.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals / give your career an edge?

The Conservation of Fine Art MA programme at Northumbria was extremely rigorous and intensive throughout the two years (full time). Importantly, it gave me an adequate skills set that would facilitate a smooth transition into the profession - whether that was to be in practice or if I were to remain in academia. The work placements in the summer months not only helped us to develop further skills but also to start meeting and networking with other conservators in our profession.

What was the best thing about your course?

It provided a good balance of theoretical lessons, practical sessions, self-directed learning and research that provided an excellent foundation on which to build my career. At interview it was clear that the relatively few number of places on the course were hotly contested and all of the students selected were hardworking and diligent - but this also helped to develop a sense of camaraderie and many of my fellow course-mates and I remain friends to this day. As the conservation department is in Burt Hall, we had a working environment which felt intimate and dedicated to our work, whilst still having access to the main university and facilities close by.

Who inspired you the most, and why?

The course tutors were all excellent, but overall the course leader Anne Bacon inspired me the most as she had great belief in us all and was also a great support, both academically and emotionally.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now/throughout your career?

I use ALL of the knowledge and skills I acquired. I kept the self-directed learning files that we put together during the course (testing and evaluation of materials and various techniques i.e. lining materials, adhesives and recipes for varnishes, solvent gels etc.) and refer to them regularly, as well as adding to them.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The city of Newcastle is vibrant, friendly and very welcoming and so when we did have free time we made the most of it.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

If you are thinking of undertaking the Conservation of Fine Art MA, I would ensure that you have as many skills under your belt as possible to increase your chances of getting a place. Perhaps consider undertaking the 'Chemistry for Conservators' correspondence course and make sure you have an up-to-date and well-thought-out portfolio.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in 3 words?

Rigorous, challenging

Latest News and Features

Poetry collection shortlisted for prestigious international prize
Northumbria University launches series of events to help businesses retain top talent
More news
More events

Upcoming events

Rewriting The Rules - Unlocking People Potential
Roma Agrawal Lecture - 30 March 23

Back to top