Julian Bickersteth was educated at Oxford University, and later completed a Diploma in Materials Conservation from West Dean, specialising in furniture. In 1983 he joined the Conservation Department of the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, and became Curator of Conservation before leaving to establish International Conservation Services (ICS) in 1987.

Julian is actively involved in the conservation profession and the broader cultural heritage industry both in Australia and internationally.

Julian is deeply networked within the conservation and museum professions, both national and internationally.  He regularly writes and commentates on conservation matters, and has an abiding passion and involvement in the historic heritage of Antarctica. He is closely involved in the planning for the conservation of Mawson’s Hut at Commonwealth Bay and the huts of Scott and Shackleton in the Ross Sea region. He visited the Ross Sea huts in 2004 and 2006, and is currently leading a program to conserve the contents of the huts over the next decade.  He worked on the National Museum of Kuwait after the Gulf War, the ancient quarter of the historiccity of Hanoi, Vietnam, and the Ayala Museum and the Museum of Manila in the Philippines.

On the international stage, Julian is the President of the Council of the International Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC).  He was the Chair of the Organising Committee for the IIC biennial conference held in Melbourne in October 2000.

In Australia, Julian is an active member and office bear of many important cultural heritage institutions and organisations.  His ongoing roles include:

  • Professional Member of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM), serving as AICCM National Treasurer for 9 years, Editor of the AICCM Bulletin for five years, and Editor of the AICCM Newsletter for 5 years. He was AICCM’s Conservator of the Year in 2003.
  • President of the Association of Australian Decorative and fine Art Societies (ADFAS), Chair of the Board of Directors for The David Roche Foundation.
  • Founding Director and co-owner of Smarttrack RFID Pty Ltd.
  • past Deputy President of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and continuing Board Member undertaking the roles of Chair of the Museums and Collections Committee, Member of the Finance and Audit Committee, and Member of the Risk Management Committee
  • Honorary Vice President of the Australian Decorative and Fine Art Societies (ADFAS)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts

Julian’s previous roles have included:

  • Director of AusHeritage Ltd, the Commonwealth Government’s initiative for networking heritage professionals, for five years
  • Member of the Heritage Council of NSW’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG)
  • Member of the Council of the Furniture History Society of Australasia

Julian has a particular interest in the interface between materials conservation and the context in which artefacts, collections and buildings are placed. This involves interaction with a wide range of associated disciplines and industries, including museum planning, archaeology, architecture, and exhibitions.  Major projects led by Julian include:

  • Sydney Conservatorium of Music archaeological conservation
  • St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney fabric restoration
  • Sydney Town Hall restoration
  • Sydney City Council, outdoor sculpture and bronze conservation program
  • Australian War Memorial, Canberra – Hall of Memory mosaic conservation
  • Australian Museum, Sydney cultural collections review
  • University of Adelaide museums and collections review
  • Parliament House, Canberra furniture conservation program
  • Australian Red Cross, heritage review
  • Arts Victoria Cultural Collections storage review
  • NSW Treasury Gateway Review – Cultural Institutions Joint Storage Project

In 2003 Julian completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors company director course.

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