Frequently Asked Questions

Question:
How did the Centre come to exist?

Answer:
On the basis of a European-wide evaluation procedure

In January 2008 Patricia Engel came up with a suggestion of establishing a European Research Centre for Book and Paper Conservation-Restoration. The paper submitted in support of the idea was based on her 25-year experience as conservator-restorer and her 8-year experience of heading a university chair of book and paper conservation-restoration.

For the next half year the suggestion was evaluated. It was sent to conservator-restorers in key positions, such as the presidents of ENCoRE and IADA, many head conservators of National Libraries and National Archives, professors of conservation-restoration in Universities and heads of further education schools all over Europe.

The commentators were unanimous in their answer: Yes, we need such a centre – but how could it be financed?

This stating the need for a European Research Centre for Book and Paper Conservation-Restoration in the way suggested, gave the Verein Buchstadt Horn the profound basis for implementing the Centre into its activities on 22nd March 2010.

 

Question:
What is it that is European about this Research Centre?

Answer:
It is its general approach and basic philosophy.

Those invited to create the Centre are the entire European community of conservator-restorers. The conference in May 2011 is one of the possibilities for networking and cooperation. The degree of support already enjoyed by the Centre's activities can be seen from the fact that the conference is going to have 50 speakers from 28 countries, and this level of interest is really much higher than the organizers initially hoped to achieve. Any suggestions from members of the professional community are very welcome. The Centre must be shaped on the basis of the real needs of the profession.

There are already some activities going on, for example, bridging down the language barriers faced by European conservator-restorers by providing a Bibliography Network that can help every member of the profession in Europe and is a useful tool for practitioners and researchers alike to find what was published already on a special topic in any (!) language.

 

Question:
Where does the money for the Centre come from?

Answer:
From the EU, the country of Lower Austria and the town of Horn.

 

Question:
How many people are working for the Centre at the moment?

Answer:
At the moment, there are about 20 people working for the Centre; most of them work on voluntary bases. Those who are employed have contracts with unlimited term.

We have experts for all the activities we need to pursue – so, apart from conservator-restorers, the team includes representatives from many fields, such as politicians, lawyers, EU funding experts, managers, strategists, etc.

 

Question:
Doesn't the global crisis create problems for the Centre?

Answer:
The opposite is the case.

The economic crisis is a very good demonstration of how shaky the financial and monetary worth values can be, as opposed to the real cultural value that are the true object of the Centre.

We are not only getting funding by officials, but also donations by private colleagues and other people.

 

Question:
Are you a university chair?

Answer:
No, the education we offer is further education for conservator-restorers enabling them to implement the results of research into practical work in book conservation-restoration in Europe.

For the time being, we are offering further education which seems to be needed badly. Every course is new and is developed at the most contemporary and highest level possible. No course is repeated, which is our principal philosophy.

 

Question:
Do you also do practical restoration work at the Centre?

Answer:
The European Research Centre is dedicated to research and further education and some further services, such as equipment sharing etc. However, there is a conservation-restoration studio next door, the "Horner Werkstätten",

where an international team of young highly skilled and enthusiastic conservator-restorers run a studio for all field of book and paper conservation-restoration, such as conservation-restoration of books, prints, drawings, wall papers, leather objects, parchment charts …

They are working as freelancers in Horn.

They also offer digitization of manuscripts, fragile books and large flat objects such as maps.

Later they will also be invited to perform specific tasks and assignments for the Research Centre, associated with particular projects.

 

Question:
Why is the Centre in Horn?

Answer:
The idea is deeply rooted in the historical context of the city.

Horn and its vicinity have traditionally been a special region for books, printing and paper production.

As early as 1570 books of protestant confession were produced in large editions in the nearby Rosenburg castle. Between 1520 and 1880 the mill, which later became known as Sparholzmühle was used exclusively as a paper mill. In the 16th century there was a print shop in the castle of Wildberg in Messern. Parts and machinery from there were later moved to Horn, establishing a well-documented printing tradition. Between 1792 and 1820 Josef Hengstberger ran a print shop in the city. In 1868 Ferdinand Berger started a printing business which has been handed down through five generations and presently employs more than 300 skilled workers.
The Kunstverein (art club) in Horn declared books one of its main focuses in 1989. Since 1992 it has been hosting the BuchKunstBiennale (biannual book art festival) in Horn for which internationally renowned artists are invited to create original works on paper, exchange ideas and exhibit their art.

 

Question:
How can I use the Centre?

Answer:
For the moment, you can participate in research activities (depending on your skills and professional background), conferences and further education, to name but a few possible areas of activities. Subsequently, conservator-restorers will be able to use the bibliography network to get information for both research and practical work, borrow equipment and rent rooms. Doctorant students in conservation-restoration can use the Centre's facilities via the Erasmus contracts with their universities.

As a result, the Centre is expected to have a catalytical effect on research in our field, thus keeping the need to preserve our cultural heritage alive in the mind of the European public and further supporting the conservation activities.

However, we warmly wellcome any requests put forward by the European community of conservator-restorers or other professionals and book-lovers designed to help the Centre evolve more and more as OUR Research Centre shaped on the real needs of the field.

 

Question:
How can I support the Centre?

Answer:
Any support is welcome.

It might be donations, e.g. books focusing on special book- or conservation-related topics, equipment for our projects, materials, financial aid, but also contributions of time and effort of any sort. We welcome any support in areas such as proofreading , database mannagement, design-making, etc. In case you feel like supporting us, please do not hestiate to send us an email or give us a call.