International conference of the HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen in cooperation with the Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (Lower Saxony state service for cultural heritage)
2 – 4  November 2017

Thirty years after the arrival of the first students of mural painting conservation, the HAWK is hosting in November 2017 an international conference together with the Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (Lower Saxony state service for cultural heritage) on  the topic “Sgraffito in Change - Materials, Techniques, Topics, and Preservation”.

Sgraffito decorations are severely threatened in their original form by environmental damage, overpainting, thermal insulation, and wide ignorance. Often only a small part of the original has survived. European cooperation is therefore necessary to deal with the problems of the practical restoration as well as with the lack of appreciation.

The conference title “Sgraffito in Change” has an ambiguous meaning. In one respect, it is about analyzing the material, technical and thematic changes from the Middle Ages to the late twentieth century. Another aspect concerns the changes to the preserved Sgraffito decorations that nearly every example of Sgraffito has experienced due to conservation measures over time.

The conference pursues several objectives:
-    For the first time, scholars with acknowledged expertise from the leading European countries in this area will come together to elaborate concrete solutions for endangered Sgraffito decorations by means of representative case studies.
-    In addition, decision-makers should be made aware of the importance of the qualified preservation of Sgraffito decorations by highlighting the diversity of materials, techniques, and topics involved in Sgraffito decorations as well as their cultural-historical significance.
-    For the long term, the organizers would like to initiate a network that establishes a joint exchange for the purpose of quality assurance in the conservation of Sgraffito decorations.

By explaining outstanding case studies and new research findings, the conference will be particularly important for restoration scholars, as many unpublished findings will be discussed here. Through its practical orientation, the conference will also become a training event for restorers and conservation specialists. Finally, the many presented objects will demonstrate the versatility of Sgraffito motifs, techniques and tasks, and encourage their further cultural-historical research.