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Sgraffito in Change Materials, Techniques, Topics, and Preservation

The European City HAWK Hochschule Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen

Since the Middle Ages, Sgraffito decorations have shaped the image of European cities and villages. Today, they are more and more disappearing because of contempt, ignorance, thermal insulation or decay. For decades, their preservation has been one of the most demanding tasks of monument preservation. The main objectives of the international conference are to improve the perception, understanding and appreciation of sgraffito decorations in order to stop their acute threat. A European network of experts and laypeople is to be set up, which jointly pushes forward the efforts to research and preserve.

The conference title “Sgraffito in Change” has an ambiguous meaning. In one respect, it is about analyzing the material, technical and thematic changes from the Middle Ages to the late twentieth century. Another aspect concerns the changes to the preserved Sgraffito decorations that nearly every example of Sgraffito has experienced due to conservation measures over time.

The conference from 2 - 4 November 2017 pursues several objectives:
- For the first time, scholars with acknowledged expertise from the leading European countries in this area will come together to elaborate concrete solutions for endangered Sgraffito decorations by means of representative case studies.
- In addition, decision-makers should be made aware of the importance of the qualified preservation of Sgraffito decorations by highlighting the diversity of materials, techniques, and topics involved in Sgraffito decorations as well as their cultural-historical significance.
- For the long term, the organizers would like to initiate a network that establishes a joint exchange for the purpose of quality assurance in the conservation of Sgraffito decorations.

By explaining outstanding case studies and new research findings, the conference will be particularly important for restoration scholars, as many unpublished findings will be discussed here. Through its practical orientation, the conference will also become a training event for restorers and conservation specialists. Finally, the many presented objects will demonstrate the versatility of Sgraffito motifs, techniques and tasks, and encourage their further cultural-historical research.

After extensive research, specialists from the leading countries in this field were selected for the international exchange (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland and Switzerland). wo keynote lectures will first outline the topic: These lectures will focus on Sgraffito in Europe and beyond (Rafael Ruiz Alonso) and the problems with Sgraffito conservation (Kerstin Klein). The lectures will be followed by country-specific or individual examples ranging from the Renaissance to the late twentieth century from the speakers’ home countries. The workshop will offer the opportunity to test the different steps to produce a sgraffito as well as variations in technology and material in practice.

Application deadline: 15 October 2017