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The South African Institute for Conservation is a specialist training institute, unique in its home country, and of established reputation internationally as a conservation resource facility.

The primary aim of the Institute is to generate and foster expertise in the restoration and conservation of historic architecture, stone, mortar, metals, ceramics, textiles and paper. These skills constitute the principal subjects of the Institute's long-standing training programme, and it is anticipated that the programme will resume as a one-year, post graduate diploma course in January 2017.

Secondly, the Institute's experienced field unit, the Heritage Conservation Group, permits highly specialized conservation services for the built environment to be routinely deployed country wide. As a unique and proven resource, this unit remains much in demand as a specialized sub-contractor, working comfortably across the full range of scale. (enquire)

Thirdly, the Institute's Capacity Development Programme permits public and private entities within the heritage sector access to both consultative and staff development services – even including the establishment of actual and profitable conservation capacities within such client institutions. (enquire)

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What is conservation?

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In part, the science of heritage conservation deals with the restoration or preservation of man-made objects, fine art and structures in order to reinstate or safeguard their historical or cultural value and significance, aesthetic worth or physical integrity. Heritage objects and structures commonly in need of conservation care include collectible wares, archaeological artefacts, corporate or commercial art, public sculpture or installations and historic buildings. In practice, the scale of such objects is indefinite – varying from mammoth structures (think the Great Wall of China) to a rare Victorian thimble, from a priceless archaeological artefact to a humble object of sentiment...
The practice of materials conservation constitutes a specialized field of science, and a highly practical field of expertise. As a profession, conservation science has gained impetus since the 1950's, today occupying a central place within the heritage sciences. Through scientific research, heritage science seizes upon a fundamental understanding of cultural heritage, through accenting the technical and material (as opposed to philosophical) aspects of art history. In doing so, it facilitates a natural symmetry between the humanities and the sciences, forging an inspiring bridge across this divide...

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What is the duration of the average course?

January 2017 anticipates the launch of The S.A. Institute for Conservation's full-time, post graduate diploma programme. This resident, on-campus programme will be conducted as a trimester-shaped curriculum, between late January and early November, annually. The post graduate programme will observe short recesses during April and July, with graduation scheduled for mid-November. Minimum enrolment prerequisites for this NQF level 8 programme will be a bachelor's degree, though recognition of prior learning and manifest work experience will also be assessed for possible consideration.

 
What are the career prospects and initial costs?

ConservationExperience has shown that participants on the Institute’s training courses enrol with diverging objectives: Some enter and pursue objects conservation as a primary career, while others have a supplementary vocation in mind - or perhaps only an active retirement.

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