5 Minutes with... Adam Godijn

DATE:26TH APR 2024

What is your current role at ICS?

I am the Head of Conservation of fine and decorative arts at ICS. I work with a fabulous group of paintings, paper, textile, framer and furniture conservators to preserve, conserve and restore art and heritage artefacts for private and public clients.

How did you get into conservation?

My first work experience in conservation was in 1993 and I decided it was the career for me. I studied painting conservation at the University of Canberra and graduated in 2000.

Early in my career, I specialised in paintings, frame and diorama conservation. As my career progressed, I expanded into disaster response, mould in conservation and insurance claims.

Through exposure to a broad range of conservation work and specialist conservators, I have gained a broader knowledge of paper, furniture, objects, and textiles conservation, however, I am also lucky to have a team of experts who specialise in these disciplines.

What is the best part of your job?

Over time my focus and interests have changed. I used to love a challenging painting conservation, in particular contemporary art. One of the many joys about conservation is that every problem is different and there is the constant need to learn every day. I’ve particularly enjoyed developing research into mould in conservation and the challenges it presents. I also love seeing my team undertaking great conservation work, challenging themselves, and growing as conservators.

Tell us about some of your favourite projects?

There are so many fabulous projects. I have been fortunate to have a job I love with many challenging treatments and great clients.

White Rabbit Gallery with contemporary art issues, the World Heritage murals at Fremantle Prison, and the amazing galleries I get to work with such as NERAM, Newcastle, Mosman, Goulburn and Lismore. 

Churches of all denominations, the key 200 artworks from Australian Parliament house, gilding coats of arms all over Australia and clients from all walks of life with precious sentimental or valuable artworks. These are my favourites for various reasons; challenging treatments that tickle the brain cells; amazing results; the change from before to after treatment; and finally great clients who are passionate and appreciative of the work carried out.

What is your current research?

ICS has been undertaking research into mould in conservation for over a decade and in recent years we have revisited it to update our knowledge. Initially, we covered how to work safely with mould, and treat it within conservation boundaries and dispelling misinformation. We have updated our research and have begun experiments to better understand mould growth on artworks and plan to develop tools to help prevent mould growth. I’ve always understood how problematic mould is but never realised how fascinating, resilient, and complicated it is. There are very exciting developments and discoveries yet to be made.

What are your interests outside of work?

There is too much to talk about, I am fascinated with the amazing world around me.

Does art count? I love visiting art galleries and being inspired by the amazing work created.

On the weekends, I get away from the details through bushwalking, camping, and experiencing the joy of nature and sharing it with my 2 children. We forage for wild foods and grow food together, there is nothing better than a baby carrot fresh out of the soil or a tomato ripened on the vine.

Travel is another great joy in my life, experiencing new cultures and foods.

I am a keen brewer, in particular traditional apple cider that I make once a year in season. I love making and drinking craft beers and sharing them with the beer brewing club. I leave the winemaking to the experts.

Any other thoughts on conservation?

Conservation requires lifelong learning. We are in a field which is rapidly improving and changing, new materials, techniques, technology and understanding. The exciting part of our job is striving to always learn and always get better at what we do. It is humbling that the more you learn, the more you need to learn. A career in conservation will never become boring.

More Articles Like This One

The remnants of Colonel William Light’s homestead discovered at the old West End Brewery site on Port Road will be preserved in line with expert conservation advice provided to Lion.

Lion commissioned renowned conservation specialists, International Conservation Services, to provide a plan on how best to protect the discovery, working in consultation with archaeologists and...


5 Minutes With... Mei Wilkinson

In Oct of 2023 Mei Wilkinson, ICS Technology and Collections Coordinator, was the lucky recipient of the George Alexander Foundation Fellowship from the ISS Institute...


Activism on art – what’s going on and what you can do about it?

Political activists seeking publicity have taken to attacking significant artworks, with the most recent incident at the Art Gallery of WA. As a gallerist or...


More Articles Like This One