Pip Laurenson, Head of Collection Care Research

Work at Tate

Pip Laurenson develops, leads and supports research at Tate into the care, conservation and management of Tate’s collections. She has over twenty years’ experience in the conservation of contemporary art, beginning her career in Sculpture Conservation and going on to establish and lead Time-based Media Conservation from 1996 to 2010. She has led a number of major research initiatives for Tate, including Inside Installations (2004–7), Collecting the Performative (2012–14), Matters in Media Art (2004–ongoing) and New Approaches to the Conservation of Contemporary Art (2015–19). She has secured research awards from a range of funders including private foundations, the European Union’s framework programme and the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. Pip Laurenson is currently working with colleagues across Tate to develop a vision for research that takes its lead from evolving art and museum practices. 

Joined Tate 1992. 

Professional expertise

Pip Laurenson’s expertise is in contemporary art conservation. She is an accredited member of the Institute of Conservation, a trustee of the National Heritage Science Forum and a member of the steering committee for the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA). In addition to sitting on Tate’s doctoral training board she is also a member of the steering committee for the doctoral training centre in Science and Engineering in Arts Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA). In January 2016 Pip Laurenson was awarded a special chair as Professor of Art, Collection and Care at Maastricht University. 

Research interests

Pip Laurenson has a long-standing interest in contemporary art conservation with specific expertise on new forms of artistic practice, including the conservation of time-based, lens-based works of art and performance art and the changing relationship between the artist and the museum. She is the lead researcher for Tate on Pericles (2013–2018), a Horizon 2020 research project that is developing new approaches to digital preservation. She is currently supervising doctoral students with Leiden University, Kings College London and Maastricht University and enjoys a network of close research collaborations with colleagues in universities and museums within the UK and internationally. In her role at Maastricht University she will concentrate on research into the networks which underpin the making of artworks, their associated practices and their impact on conservation and the museum. 

Selected publications             

  • With Patricia Falcao and Annet Dekker, ‘An Exploration of Significance and Dependency in the Conservation of Software-Based Art’, Electronic Media Review, vol.2, 2016 (forthcoming). 
  • ‘Old Media, New Media? Significant Difference and the Conservation of Software Based Art’, in Beryl Graham (ed.), New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art, Farnham 2014, pp.73–96.
  • With Vivian van Saaze, ‘Collecting Performance-Based Art: New Challenges and Shifting Perspectives’, in Outi Remes, Laura MacCulloch and Marika Leino (eds.), Performativity in the Gallery, Bern 2014, pp.27–41.
  • With Catherine Dillon, Nancy Bell, Kalliopi Fouseki and others, ‘Mind the Gap; Rigor and Relevance in Heritage Science Research’, report for the Arts and Humanities Research Council, National Archives, London 2014, 35pp.
  • ‘Emerging Institutional Models and Notions of Expertise for the Conservation of Time-Based Media Works of Art’, Techne, no.37, 2013, pp.36–42.
  • ‘Vulnerabilities and Contingencies in the Conservation of Time-Based Media Works of Art’, in Tatja Scholte and Glenn Wharton (eds.), Inside Installations: Theory and Practice in the Care of Complex Artworks, Amsterdam 2011, pp.35–42.
  • ‘Authenticity, Change and Loss in the Conservation of Time-Based Media’, in Judith Schachter and Stephen Brockmann (eds.), (Im)Permanence: Cultures In/Out of Time, Pittsburgh 2008, pp.150–64, and in Tate Papers, no.6, Autumn 2006, accessed 4 March 2016.
  • With Rosie Cardiff, Maggie Hills and Hugh Williams, ‘Inside installations: Mapping the Studio II’, e-learning package on the preservation and presentation of Bruce Nauman’s Mapping the Studio II with color shift, flip, flop, & flip/flop (Fat Chance John Cage), Tate, 2006, accessed 4 March 2016.
  • ‘The Management of Display Equipment in Time-Based Media Installations’, in Ashok Roy and Perry Smith (eds.), Contributions to the Bilbao Congress, 13–17 September 2004: Modern Art, New Museums, London 2004, pp.49–53.
  • ‘Developing Strategies for the Conservation of Installations Incorporating Time-based Media with Reference to Gary Hill’s “Between Cinema and a Hard Place”’, Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, vol.40, no.3, 2001, pp.259–66.

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Last updated March 2016.