MA Conservation Studies, Specialising in Clocks and Related Objects 2013 - 2015

Tabea Rude

Dynamic Objects Conservator

What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
I see my biggest achievement as juggling many different projects at once, while also finding the time to sit down and work concentrated on a single object.

Talk us through your career path since graduating.
I left West Dean in 2015 and worked at The Clockworks - a museum for electrical horology - as a conservator in residence, as well as taking on projects from private clients. In 2017, I took a job as Clock Conservator at the Vienna Clock Museum, which is part of the Vienna City museums group. Since 2019 I have also taken on the curatorial responsibility for the horological collection of approximately 7000 objects.

What projects are you currently working on?
I am working mostly on collection care, preparation and documentation of objects for our online database. Furthermore, I am collaborating with my colleague Gerhard Milchram in research and restitution. This is ongoing and you can view one example case here. Also ongoing is the continuous care for objects in operation and on display.

Do you have any tips for recent graduates?
Be a yes-person: take opportunities, ask all the questions you have without hesitation, contact other conservators or experts without worrying what they might think. Everyone has questions all the time; open dialogue and discussion is useful for everyone.

How do you think studying at West Dean College prepared you for what you do now?
West Dean offered opportunities to easily enter networks that helped, especially in the beginning, to find experts and receive advice, as well as with funding and opportunities to collaborate, and to participate in conferences and make friends from all over the world.

What's your favourite memory from your time at the College?
That’s very difficult! Probably when a group of us cut each others’ hair outside Dower House.

Did you receive any form of funding to study at West Dean?
Yes, I received a bursary from the Edward James Foundation and, during my second year, a scholarship from the Sidney Sanders Charitable Trust, without which I would not have been able to complete my MA studies.

All images copyright Michael Goldrei.