Methodology and contributors

This guide was written by Susan Lambert. She also developed the methodology which enabled its content to benefit from advice from a wide range of experts drawn equally from academia, industry and museums, while being driven by those for whom it was intended. It was funded  by a Museums, Libraries and Archives Subject Specialist Network Implementation Grant.

The content was derived mainly from papers given at four regional workshops organised by the Museum of Design in Plastics based at the Arts University Bournemouth for the Plastics Subject Specialist Network. Publications cited in the Bibliography were also consulted.

The workshops were held at the:

  • Design Museum, London, in partnership with the 20th Century Society
  • Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, in partnership with the Modern Materials in Collections: Scotland
  • Tate Liverpool in partnership with the UK Centre for Materials Education, University of Liverpool
  • Wakefield Museum in partnership with the Social History Curators Group.

Each workshop followed the same pattern with three speakers in the morning on:

  • Milestones in the development and use of plastics.
  • Identification: plastic materials and production techniques.
  • Care of plastics.

And in the afternoon, four sessions:

  • Venue and/or partner specific plastics.
  • Open discussion of delegates objects.
  • Group discussion with speakers.
  • Feedback.

The speakers at each workshop were different but their briefs, based on responses to a questionnaire by Plastics SSN members, were the same. Each speaker interpreted it in their own and very different ways, thus providing wonderfully rich materials on which to build this resource.The workshops were independently evaluated by Liverpool University. A copy of the evaluation is available from modip@aub.ac.uk.

The guide's structure and content was discussed in an iterative process with all those involved who are its potential users. Additionally, it was peer-reviewed by six experts with complementary knowledge in the field of plastics.

Those involved:

Chairs

Each chair brought to the workshop their particular expertise and observations, and created an atmosphere that enabled free-exchange between speakers and delegates.

Design Museum workshop:  Catherine Croft, Director of the 20th Century Society

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art workshop: Ray Bush, President of the Society of Plastics Engineers, UK and Ireland

Tate Liverpool workshop: Colin Williamson, Managing Director of Smile Plastics, founder member of the Plastics Historical Society, writer, lecturer and collector

Wakefield Museum workshop: Zelda Baveystock, Lecturer in Museum Studies, Newcastle University; Treasurer of the Social History Curators Group


Speakers

The speakers’ papers, in their wonderful variety, provided rich materials for this resource. The author is most grateful to them.

Steve Akhurst, Editor of the Plastiquarian, Plastics Historical Society, collector and formerly plastics design consultant

Fran David, Conservator, Science Museum, London

Gemma Curtin, Curator, Design Museum, London

Colin Hindle, Lecturer in Polymer Technology, Napier University, Edinburgh

Tom Fisher,  Professor of Art and Design, Nottingham Trent University

Brenda Keneghan, Senior Conservation Scientist, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Alistair Leeson, Product Development Manager, Paragon Print and Packaging

Chris Lefteri, Senior Lecturer, Central St Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, London; designer and writer

Susan Mossman, Gallery Content Manager, Science Museum, London

Cordelia Rogerson, Modern Materials Specialist Conservator, British Library, London

Joyce Palmer, Director of the School of Design, Arts University Bournemouth

Derek Pullen, Head of Sculpture and Video Conservation, Tate

Emma Roodhouse, Curator, Falkirk Council Museums; coordinator, Modern Materials in Collections: Scotland

Chris Taylor, Resource and Project Manager, UK Centre for Materials Education, Liverpool University

Colin Williamson, Managing Director, Smile Plastics; Plastics Historical Society; writer, lecturer and collector

John Whitaker, Curator, Wakefield Museum

Delegates

All delegates had input to this resource through what they said they wished to learn from the workshops and through their participation at them, their questions, observations and feedback. Those with an asterisk* beside their name brought objects for discussion to the workshops. Those in bold commented on the manual as a draft. The participation of all delegates in the development of this resource is very greatly appreciated.

Clair Battisson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Catherine Badley, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
Denise Brace, Peoples Story Museum, Edinburgh
Ellen Breheny, Freelance Conservator
*Laura Briggs, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston
*John Burnie, Scottish Railway Preservation Society
*Andrea Bishop, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
Dionysia Christoforou, Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester
Stephanie Clemens, Stockport Heritage Services
*Andrew Connell, Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh
Nicola Constantine, Stockport Heritage Services
*Rachel Cornes, Tameside Museums and Galleries Service
Dan Coughlan, Paisley Museum
Christopher Craig, National Museums Scotland
*Angela Cox, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
Darren Cox, National Museums Scotland
*Pamela Cranston, University of St Andrews Library
*Louise Dennis, Museum of Design in Plastics, Arts University Bournemouth

Susan Doyle, UK Centre for Materials Education, Liverpool University
Catherine Eagleton, British Museum, London
*Charlotte Eddington, National Trust
Angela Edgar, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh
Mary Edwards, Greenwich Heritage Centre
Carla Flack, Conservation Student
Vanda Foster, Gunnersbury Park Museum

Claire Foley, Derby Museum and Art gallery
Sue Franklin, Hampshire County Council Museum and Archives Service
Sam Gatley, Graduate Student
Sarah Gerrish, National Museums Scotland
Kate Gillespie, Aberdeen Art Gallery
Laura Gray, Harris Museum and Art Gallery , Preston
Tate Greenhalgh, Thackray Museum, Leeds
Rachel Hammond, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
Elizabeth Henderson, Conolly House, Westlothian
Hannele Hentula, Burrell Collection, Glasgow
Jackie Heuman, Tate
*Colin Hill, Collector
*Emma Hogarth, Colchester and Ipswich Museums
Jill Holmen, Epping Forest District Museum, Essex
Sarah Howard, Hampshire County Council Museum and Archives Service
Judith Hoyle, Market Drayton Museum, Shropshire
Helen Hughes, Burrell Collection, Glasgow
*Alan Humphies, Thackray Museum, Leeds
Jane Hunt, Manchester Metropolitan University
Paul Hyman, Luton Museum
*Marion Ingle, Polymer Centre, London
*Marta Inglesias, Freelance Conservator
Sally Johnson, English Heritage
*Jonathan Jordan, Collector
Elena Kallas, Royal Armouries at HM Tower of London
Sylvia Katz, Plastics Historical Society, collector and writer
Joanna Kehusma, UK Centre for Materials Education, Liverpool University
Komal Khetia, Design Museum, London
*Ray Balongo Khaemba, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi
*Lan Khuu, Thackray Museum, Leeds
Sarah Lambarth, English Heritage
Rachel Lambert-Jones, Wolverhampton Art Gallery
*Pam Langdown, Museum of Design in Plastics, Arts University Bournemouth
Sarah-Jane Langley, National Trust
Charlotte Lavin, National Trust
Joanna Macrae, National Museums of Scotland
*Elizabeth Main, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
Linda Matthews, Queens Park Conservation Studios, Manchester
*John McGoldrick, Museum of Lancashire, Preston
Meg McHugh, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
Miriam McLeod, National Museums Scotland
*Michael Major, National Railway Museum, York
Sandra Martin, Perth Museum & Art Gallery
*Paul Meara, Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, Widnes
Dave Moffat, National Museums Liverpool
Sarah Morton, Museums Resource Centre, Cotswold Dene, Witney
Peter Oakley, South West Lifelong Learning Network
*Michael O’Conaire, Unilever Archives & Records Management, Port Sunlight
Peter Ogilvie, Salford Museum & Art Gallery
Robert Opie, Brand and Packaging Museum, London
Sarah Park, National Museums Scotland
Carrie-Anne Parkes, Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, Widnes
*Jeanette Pearson, Inverness Museum
Tacye Phillipson, National Museums Scotland
Amy Preece, Royal Armouries at HM Tower of London
Alyson Pollard, National Museums Liverpool
Derek Pullen, Tate
Sarah Rainbow, Queens Park Conservation Studios, Manchester
*Linda Ramsay, National Archives of Scotland

Kate Reeder, Beamish Museum
Rebecca Regan, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
*Martin Reid, Museum of Fire, Edinburgh
Emma Richardson, Southampton University
Sarah Riddle, Lancaster Maritime Museum
Stephanie de Roemer, Glasgow Museums Resource Centre
Pauline Rushton, National Museums Liverpool
Chris Russell, Queens Park Conservation Studios, Manchester
Lydia Saul, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
Tracey Seddon, National Conservation Centre, Liverpool
Kim Seoyoung, Glasgow Museums Resource Centre
Arianna Shackle, Graduate Student
*Paul Sillitoe, Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies
Paul Simpson, Isle of Wight Heritage Service
Vicki Slade, Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
*Emily Somerville, Lancashire County Museum Service, Preston
Bethan Stanley, English Heritage
Klaus Stauberman, National Museums Scotland
Zoe Stewart, Lancashire Record Office, Preston
*Emma St John, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
*Gail Stewart-Bye, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
Josh Tidy, First Garden City Heritage Museum, Letchworth Garden City
*Shelley Tobin, National Trust
*Shona Thomas, Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne
*Jenny Truran, Lancashire County Museum Service, Preston
Peter Turner, Salford Museum and Art Gallery
Jeremy Uden, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter
Elaine Uttley, Fashion Museum, Bath
Nova Marcic Vans, Freelance Conservator
Julie Vint, National Trust
*Sue Webber, Elmbridge Museum, Weybridge
Clare Weir, Learning and Leisure Services, Coatbridge
Theodore Wilkins, Leeds Museums and Galleries
Corina Westwood, Isle of Wight Heritage Service
Leona White, Hartlepool Museums and Heritage Service
Gareth Williams, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
*Sandy Wood, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh
Margot Wright, Marischal Museum, University of Aberdeen
Georgina Young, National Museums Liverpool
*Jen Young, British Red Cross Museum & Archives, London
Sophie Younger, Freelance Conservator

Peer reviewers

The author is most grateful to the peer reviewers for their advice. They were|:

Steve Akhurst, Editor of the Plastiquarian, Plastics Historical Society, collector and formerly plastics design consultant

Sylvia Katz, Plastics Historical Society, private collector and writer on plastics

Susan Mossman, Curator of the Plasticity Gallery, Science Museum

Brenda Keneghan, Senior Conservation Scientist, Victoria and Albert Museum

Cordelia Rogerson, Modern Materials Conservator, British Library

Colin Williamson, Smile Plastics Ltd, Plastics Historical Society and private collector

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