I work in the field of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in the area of Technical Art History and Materials Degradation. My research motivation focus on the preservation of our material cultural history and on enriching the knowledge of our shared past through the history of historical objects.
I started to work in this field as a result of my PhD, where I focused on the degradation mechanisms of medieval stained glass. My research reaches far wider than my direct scientific community due to the use of glass in several fields of material science, in particular materials for optical and electronic devices and vitrification of radioactive waste.
After my PhD, I was a co-coordinator of a project focussing on the materials and techniques used by the Portuguese artist Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso (1887-1918). Our findings directly contributed to the artist’s catalogue raisonné (Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian) and impacted on the knowledge of the quality of paints produced by different historical companies and its influence in degradation of paints.
At this time, I initiated the conservation and exhibition of a previously unrecognised stained glass collection from the Palácio Nacional da Pena (Sintra). My goal, achieved in 2011, was to present this collection to the general public for the first time, while illustrating the steps undertaken in the restoration of the stained-glass panels in the exhibition. My next step was to create a research project on King Ferdinand II of Portugal’s collection of glass and stained glass. I assembled a team, which included curators, historians and conservation scientists. This project resulted in publications (9), conference presentations (10 oral and 3 posters), and supported two PhDs and the publication of book, which is currently at the production stage (http://sites.fct.unl.pt/stainedglass-ferdinand/). More importantly, it resulted on the disclosure of this collection, ensuring its valorisation and appreciation by present and future generations.
Since 2011, I have been the Director of the Research Unit VICARTE (Vidro e Cerâmica para as Artes: Glass and Ceramic for the Arts, www.vicarte.org). VICARTE is devoted to trans-disciplinary research applied to glass and ceramics, focusing on where art and science intersect, and stimulating the sharing of knowledge, experiences and methodologies. The research team of VICARTE has 36 members (16 PhD students) and joins together chemists, physicist, conservation scientists, archaeologists, art historians and artists.
Since 2010, I have been the coordinator of the Master in Glass Art and Science. This truly unique two-year course of study leads students through both the scientific and artistic aspects of what makes glass the special state of matter that it is, and simultaneously offers students time, space, tools and experience in most traditional and innovative glassmaking techniques. As an Assistant Professor of the Conservation Department of Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, I am responsible for the creation of the courses Introduction to Conservation Sciences and Collection Care (in collaboration with museums, palaces and archives around Lisbon). I am also responsible for the Analytical Method for Cultural Heritage course. I have been the principal supervisor of 15 MSc theses and 2 PhD theses in conservation and restoration.
Currently, at the national level I am regarded as a leader in research for historic glass and stained glass, and my work is recognized by the scientific community worldwide. To date, I have co-authored one book and five book chapters, as well as 58 scientific papers and conference proceeding with peer reviewed. I have participated in more than 35 conferences, as an invited speaker (5), in oral presentations (24) and posters (24). In developing my research, I have established national and international collaborations, in particular with the Imperial College of London, and University College of London, U.K., the Institut de Recherche sur les ArchéoMATériaux, CNRS, France, the Vitrocentre Romont, Switzerland, and in Portugal, the Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares, Direcção Geral do Património Cultural, Parques de Sintra-Monte da Lua, SA, and the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.