Durham University is seeking proposals for a one-day symposium in November 2024 to explore themes on conservation ethics and decision-making. The symposium will be in celebration of the conclusion of a year-long project looking at the conservation, preservation and interpretation of the University’s copy of William Shakespeare’s First Folio, which was recovered in a disbound and heavily vandalised state in 2008 a decade after its theft. The course of our project has compelled us to ask questions like, “What does it mean to a local community to possess a book that has assumed the status of a cultural icon? How do we celebrate the future of a book while preserving its history? What role does a binding play in the lifetime of a rare book?” The answers have consistently surprised and excited us, causing us to rethink how we understand the objects we conserve, how we make our decisions based on that understanding, and how our decisions affect the community surrounding a book.

We invite proposals concerning difficult conservation decisions, collaborative decision approaches and methods, and community-centric conservation outcomes. We are eager to hear from conservators at all stages in their career including students, as well as community members from associated fields whose work has influenced or been influenced by conservation decisions. Those who would like to present about these themes are invited to submit proposals for a 20-minute presentation to https://forms.office.com/e/SMZ784t21v. We also welcome joint panel discussions, and ask you to contact us at ulc-conservation@durham.ac.uk to make arrangements. The submission period is open until 12 June 2024.