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Ines Madruga

I worked as a structural engineer over a period of four and a half years in Portugal and the UK. My growing awareness of the importance of preserving cultural heritage together with my fondness of paintings led to a particular interest in and admiration for conservation of fine art, as it brings together art, science and history. This ultimately led me to pursue a career in paintings conservation.

Where are you doing now?

I am a Paintings Conservation Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution. I have been a Fellow at the Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) since June 2012, where I was involved in conservation treatments, technical analysis and research which focused on the mechanical behaviour analysis of a new stretcher for paintings on canvas. Currently I have a joint Fellowship with MCI and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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

Receiving my Master of Arts degree in the field of conservation of Fine Art from Northumbria University allowed me to enter the professional world of conservation.

What was the best thing about your course?

The best thing was that it covered a wide range of conservation treatments and materials and provided a thorough insight into recent and past conservation practices.

Who inspired you the most, and why?

Nicky Grimaldi and Dr. Jane Colbourne, the main tutors of the degree for paintings and paper, respectively.

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

The practical skills developed throughout the subjects in Conservation Studies and Conservation Practice. Manual dexterity is very important to the career of a conservator, therefore the techniques and materials for conservation treatments  learnt have been extremely important. In addition, the need to keep researching in order to stay up to date regarding new methods and materials.

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

My colleagues played a very important part during my time at Northumbria. What we learnt during classes and by ourselves was essential, but the support and friendship of my colleagues was crucial.

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

Make the best of your time whilst studying at Northumbria University. Reach out to the tutors for the support needed, making sure you're getting all the information included in the course curriculum. And also make good friends.

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

Interesting, intense and swift

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