Fellowships and internships provide professional training and research opportunities for students and scholars at various levels, as well as the chance to engage with F|S staff and utilize the museums’ rich resources. Several fellowships are available to support graduate students and visiting scholars through the Freer|Sackler, the Smithsonian, or outside institutions. The Freer|Sackler also offers internships to students and interested individuals in its many departments. See below for more information.
Mellon Indian Conservation Fellowship Program
The Freer|Sackler is thrilled to partner with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL) in the Mellon-funded Indian Conservation Fellowship Program. These fellowships are designed to broaden the experience of conservators currently working in art and cultural heritage museums and institutions in India. Six to eight fellowships are awarded annually, each for a period of three to six months. The Freer|Sackler hosts one of these fellows per year.
Applicants must be conservators with daily responsibility for the care of objects. Preference will be given to conservators at a relatively early stage of their careers (approximately three to eight years conservation experience) and employed by museums or other institutions in India concerned with the study, conservation, and display of the country’s artistic and cultural heritage. Knowledge of conservation principles and a basic academic background in conservation practice and artists’ materials are expected, as well as a strong grasp of spoken and written English.
The fellowship includes support for travel to the host institution as well as research travel for conferences, seminars, and visits to other conservation laboratories or cultural institutions. Health care coverage, visa expenses, and costs for residence permits are also covered. At the end of their fellowship, fellows will be able to purchase tools, equipment, and supplies for use at their home institutions.
2019 Fellow: Tariq Azhar Syed, Senior Technical Restorer and Museum InCharge at the Rampur Raza Library, Rampur, India
Tariq received degrees in museology and conservation at the Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India. He also received a MSc in Chemistry from Chaudhary Charan Singh University in Meerat, India. Tariq has received additional training at INTACH ICI Orissa Art Conservation Centre, Bhubaneswar, India, and at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, India. Tariq has organized both conservation workshops and exhibitions for the Rampur Raza Library in India as well as internationally. His interests go beyond paper and manuscripts and include natural history specimens and taxidermy.
2018 Fellow: Subir Kumar Dey, paper conservator at the Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, India
Subir received his conservation training as an apprentice with Dr. Debika Chatterjee, head of conservation at the Victoria Memorial Hall. He received additional training from British paper conservators during the Calcutta Tercentenary Trust project from 1992 to 1997 at the Victoria Memorial Hall. He interned in paper conservation at the British Museum and worked with conservators Michael Wheeler at the V&A and David Jacob at the British Library.
Hagop Kevorkian fellowship
In early September 2013, the Freer and Sackler welcomed Hagop Kevorkian Fellow Amanda Malkin to the paper conservation lab. The two-year Kevorkian fellowship supported conservation treatment of at least one hundred Islamic manuscript folios, helping to preserve and stabilize the many treasures within the manuscript collections. Islamic manuscript paintings are inherently unstable due to the way they were created. The application of numerous layers of paint, burnishing of each layer between subsequent applications, and painting on top of layers of gold paint or leaf all contribute to insecurity and a lack of adhesion of the pigment to the paper support. This leads to the cracking, lifting, and flaking of the media, which can eventually fall off the support if it is not treated. Additional condition issues observed in Islamic manuscripts include the presence of accretions, or foreign material, such as adhesives, wax, or fly droppings that have become stuck to the surface of the paint or the paper. These can obscure the minute details that distinguish these miniature paintings, as well as cause deterioration or discoloration of the paint or paper.
During her fellowship, Malkin worked under the stereomicroscope to document the condition of the manuscripts’ pages, illuminations, and illustrations; consolidated unstable media; and mechanically reduced surface accretions. Additionally, Amanda worked with paper conservator Emily Jacobson and senior conservation scientist Blythe McCarthy on a research project to provide further insight into the treatment of darkened lead white on Islamic works.
Malkin graduated from Northumbria University in 2012 with an MA in the conservation of fine art, specializing in works of art on paper. She was a Kress Fellow at the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts. She has interned at the National Galleries of Scotland, with a private paper conservator in the United Kingdom, and at the Williamstown Conservation Center in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The Kevorkian fellowship at the Freer and Sackler enhanced and encouraged Amanda’s appreciation of miniature paintings while preparing and training her to assist other museums with their Islamic collections in the future.