Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA), Nicole Monjeau is currently based in London, and here she takes over Camberwell’s blog to talk about her journey from college to working life.
My time at Camberwell was wonderful, and I look back on it fondly. I was lucky to be surrounded by an amazing group of people on my course. I was very inspired by my course-mates, and our varying backgrounds allowed for great discussions to take place. I am still close with many people on the course, and find them to be not only a great resource professionally but also incredibly supportive friends.
I came to Camberwell with a degree in Fine Arts, but no Conservation background. I was a blank slate, and wanted to soak up as much information as possible. I’ve learned the importance of thinking critically and of staying on top of new research. Carrying out work placements was a huge part of the course and the experiences gained at the various institutions I worked in was invaluable. Not only did it give me contacts in the field, it gave me practical, hands on experience with the opportunity to learn from people with far more experience than I had.
My first position after graduation was an internship at Iowa State University’s Library. The internship focused on the conservation treatment of photographs from a collection of a local family’s documents. It was an incredible learning experience—I expanded my conservation treatment skills and was also given a great amount of independence.
Following that, I interned at the Corning Museum of Glass’ Rakow Library in conjunction with West Lake Conservators in New York. I treated stained glass cartoons from the Whitefriars Collection, Conservation treatment was focused on stabilising the drawings for digitisation. This was a great learning experience in batch treatment of oversize archival documents, and taught me a lot about being proactive and self-motivated.
I have also had an article published in ‘Icon News’ on the treatments I carried out on Japanese hair ornaments, part of my final project at Camberwell. The article is titled “Treatment Three-Dimensional Paper Objects” and can be found in the July 2015 issue.
I have recently returned to the UK and I am seeking a paper and/or photographs conservation position. I presented at two conservation conferences this summer. I co-presented a poster at ICOM-CC Interim Meeting in Paris (1-3 June 2016) and co-presented a paper at ICON Conference 2016 in Birmingham (15-17 June, 2016). Both of these presentations were about aspects of the internship at the Corning Museum of Glass. My co-intern and I have also been asked by the editor of the Journal of the Institute of Conservation to publish an article expanding on our ICON Conference 2016 talk.