When and why the program was started
The program was started in 2006, based on a grant from the State Culture Foundation Baden-Wuerttemberg. The reasons to install it at the "Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste" in Stuttgart were manifold: The academy has academic programs for fine art, art teachers, industrial, graphic and communication designers, architects and conservators. It has excellent facilities for printmaking, analogue and digital photography, video production, and various well-equipped workshops for metal, glass and wood working and conservation. Its conservation programs are among the oldest in Germany, dating back to 1948.
The academy already has four well-established conservation programs: Conservation of Paintings and Polychrome Sculptures; Conservation and Restoration of Archaeological, Ethnographical and Craft Objects; Conservation and Restoration of Murals and Polychrome Stone, and Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art on Paper, Archives- and Library Materials. It is this department's broad focus on and long-term experience with fine art, library as well as archival objects, and its close relationships to regional, state, national and international institutions in these fields, which convinced the founders and the state government to start the initiative for the new programme from here.
The program however does not provide a degree in conservation/restoration, but concentrates on preventive preservation and project management. It was agreed by all people involved in the planning and evaluation of the program that the current need is more towards preservation managers for museums, libraries and archives with a rather general approach, than towards specialized conservators.
The type of contemporary artwork covered in the program
The program covers the preservation of analogue and digital photographs, digital prints, analogue and digital video records and digital information. A good example would be the conservation of the Nam June Paik video installation "Two-Way Communication" (1996) on the academy's campus, consisting of 90 monitors, various electronic parts and a personal computer. Other examples are preservation plans for medium and large photographic or video collections in public and private archives.
The program include installation art, as long as photography or time-based media is involved. The focus then is on thorough documentation, compilation of technical and other metadata, identification of the objects' life expectancy, art historical evaluation, preservation planning and long-term preservation of this information.
Sponsorship/endowments or bursaries that support the program
The academy has no financial aid program or stipends to offer. There is some flexibility for the payment of the program's tuition fee of 1,500 Euros per semester.