We interviewed Rita Udina, a spanish Paper & Book Conservator:
Here you can read the transcription of the video interview.
What did you study and where did you study?
I studied paper conservation at ESCRBCC, in Barcelona (Escola Superior de Conservació i Restauració de Béns Culturals de Catalunya).
What job do you have now?
I am a paper & book conservator.
What does your job involve?
I work on heritage assets and artwork on paper: documents, prints, books, etc. in order to preserve them. I work for Libraries, Museums, Archives and private collectors.
How does your job enable you to be creative?
Conservation is not like applying cookery recipes: every object is different and has differents demands. Besides, conservators need to know all sorts of things: chemistry, history, bookbinding, drawing… not only we need to deal with each particular solution for each object, often we need to “create” our tools and think of alternative ways to be able to apply the general treatment.
Describe the pathway you took to get from university to your current role
I studied conservation, so it was quite straight forward. However, when I finished studying, almost no one considered running a business of it, instead of looking for a stable job at a Museum.
I have been told lately that I was a reference on this regard for many generations after.
What is the one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself as a student?
In fact I am glad my ignorance and willigness to reach my dream did not blurr my motivation. It’s been quite a tough path, but I can say today I am happy and proud of every effort, because it was worth. I work at a job which is my passion, and do it my way, which gives me a freedom that I would not change for any salary.
What do you enjoy about what you do?
I enjoy the fact that every object is different and it demands some creativity. I like working with beautiful and old objects, full of history and art. My work makes me connect in a very intimate way with them: discovering hidden notes or history remnants, becoming a bit like a detective. It is rewarding because after conservation, objects are in better conditions: they can be handled, they look much better, and will be long lasting. Often they go on exhibition, and I am very satisfied to see them exhibited after working on them. My hand skills, historical knowledge and technical understanding of products and techniques are being challenged every time, making my job most motivating.