Theory and ethics of conservation and its significance in practice

by Prof. Dr. Ursula Schädler-Saub

How should we act? Theory and ethics of conservation and its significance in practice

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by Prof. Dr. Ursula Schädler-Saub

Next period: Part 1: 19 April – 13 June 2021
Course fee: 169,- €
Entire course series: 369,- €
(students get a reduction of 20%)
The series of courses conveys the significance of theoretical and ethical principles for today’s practice of restoration by means of numerous historical and current examples from the most diverse areas of the conservation of art and cultural artefacts. It becomes clear that these principles are indispensable in practice, but are always adapted to the specific requirements of the individual case, in order to do justice to the individual problems of a cultural monument. It also shows the necessity of interpreting and further developing “classical” restoration theories in a contemporary way, in order to find answers to current problems. There is also the question of how the professional profile of restorers and all other professionals working in the field of cultural heritage conservation should be developed to meet current and future requirements. Interviews and contributions by experts from various fields encourage reflection on current positions and views.

Part 1: Historical roots in the Renaissance and Baroque periods (with a contribution to the archaeological restoration by Sophie Haake-Harig)
Part 1, on the beginnings of restoration work in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, is of striking topicality: basic considerations and practical examples illustrate how experts and citizens of the time were committed to the appreciation and preservation of cultural monuments that were often under threat. Historical restorations, which still shape the appearance and substance of most art and cultural assets today, are therefore an important part of our cultural history. How we can preserve this multifaceted history, despite some technical problems, is a current challenge that we should take up.

Part 2: Fundamentals of restoration and monument preservation from K. F. Schinkel to C. Brandi
(expected in spring 2021)
The 2nd part covers the period from the early 19th century to the 1960s, with the basics of restoration and monument preservation from Karl Friedrich Schinkel to Cesare Brandi. Numerous examples illustrate how far theory and practice could diverge, often to the disadvantage of cultural monuments, and how it is possible to combine theoretical principles and practical action in a profitable way.

Part 3: Current developments, from the European Year of Heritage Conservation 1975 to the present
(expected in Autumn 2021)
The 3rd part deals with the innovations in restoration and preservation of monuments and historic buildings since the European Year of Monument Protection in 1975 and explains, among other things, the expanded concept of art and monuments, which has led to an enormous expansion of the field of activity of all experts in the field of preservation of art and cultural assets. Social changes on a regional and international level led to the recognition of diversity and to inter- and transdisciplinary dialogue.

The author of the course series is Prof. Dr. Ursula Schädler-Saub, full professor at the HAWK, Faculty of Building and Conservation, for the subject area History and Theory of Restoration and Art History.

Every course is supervised by the author herself via e-mail. General and technical questions can also be directed to the tutor of the course series, Dipl.-Rest. Barbara Hentschel M.A.

These courses can be credited as part of the master’s degree course “Restoration and Conservation Science” at the HAWK.

Direct queries can be sent to