Kate Jennings

Subject Leader, Conservation Studies specialising in Metalwork

Kate's background includes practicing as a solicitor before making a career change to train as a blacksmith and specialist Metals Conservator. She earned an MA in Conservation Studies from West Dean, following which she founded a small business specializing in the conservation of forged and architectural metalwork. Through this experience, she gained valuable insights into the opportunities and challenges involved in running a small conservation business, which she integrates into the Metals conservation programs.

Projects completed whilst working as a private conservator range from micro projects such as reforming individual pieces of silverware through to removing, treating and re-installing circa 10 tonnes of ironwork on complex architectural projects. One of Kate’s projects (a set of 18th century gates at the Miserden Estate near Stroud) received a runner up prize in the inaugural National Heritage Ironwork Group (NHIG) awards for heritage metals conservation.

Working and training alongside three generations of Metals Conservation Subject Leaders at West Dean, as well as experienced blacksmiths, has allowed Kate to observe and be involved with very different approaches to craft and conservation education. As a result, she blends these approaches into two highly specialized Metals conservation programs which reflect the importance of craft, science and well-grounded decision making. Kate has received a Special Commendation for the ICON Marsh Awards for teaching and research in conservation.

Kate is a member of ICON, and part of the NHIG committee. She has organised various conferences, including the inaugural West Dean Student Conference (Transitioning: Emerging professionals and cross-disciplinary conservation) and an NHIG conference (Living in a material world: Material choices in ironwork conservation). Her research interests include replication of historic metalworking techniques and the interface between craft and conservation.

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