We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate to work on the chemistry of oil paintings with the aim of making the transition to more sustainable conservation strategies.Van 't Hoff Institute Molecular Sciences at the University of Amsterdam
(HIMS-UvA) has a vacant PhD position as part of the GoGreen project. The PhD position is offered within the EU Horizon-CL2-2021 Heritage project "GoGREEN: green strategies to conserve the past and preserve the future of Cultural Heritage", a four-year research project with 12 partners (universities, museums and research institutes) from 5 European countries and 2 affiliated countries and led by principal investigator prof. dr. Katrien Keune
(HIMS). GoGreen responds to the UN 17 sustainable development goals by providing conservators with solutions to practice conservation with lower energy consumption, less use of toxic materials and fewer plastics. This is done by developing theory, tools, materials, decision making aids and educational material that will support conservators in choosing and applying green strategies, focusing both on preventive and remedial conservation.
At HIMS, chemical mechanisms, reaction kinetics, molecular transport processes and internal paint conditions are investigated by means of chemical syntheses, spectroscopy and experiments involving well-designed model paint systems. They are specialized in ageing and degradation studies of oil paints at the microscale and down to molecular level, especially related to pigment-binding medium interactions. HIMS is affiliated to the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art, Science (NICAS) and has a close collaboration with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, with the MSc Programme Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at the UvA.What are you going to do
This PhD project will develop a series of damage functions for canvas oil paintings that include chemical processes. These damage functions allow more evidence-based decision making for acceptable museum climates to preserve paintings for future generations. The damage functions will be based on a combination of spectroscopy/microscopy studies of oil paint materials and computational models that combine molecular transport and reactivity. New applications of time- and spatially resolved ATR-FTIR spectroscopy will be developed to study the kinetics of chemical processes inside oil paint films. A versatile computational transport model will be used to calculate how water/solvent concentrations vary throughout the painting stratigraphy when external conditions change.
In parallel, in the GoGreen project advanced analytical techniques are developed to assess the newly developed conservation methods. The PhD candidate will assist in evaluating low-tech tests currently present in the conservation field with the advanced methodologies used in GoGreen to gain more insight into the benefits/limitations of low-tech methods.You will/tasks:
- Complete and submit a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
- Plan and perform experiments in an independent manner;
- Critically analyze and interpret results;
- Take a leading role in writing manuscripts for publications;
- Participate in and present your research results in GoGreen meetings, national and international meetings and conferences;
- Interact with international and local researchers participating in the project;
- Participate in the Research School and PhD training programmes;
- Assist in teaching undergraduates and MSc students;
- (Co-)supervise MSc/BSc student projects;
- Participate in knowledge dissemination activities.