News and Views
Unlocking the secrets of paper
A major international conference hosted by UCC's Department of Modern Irish this weekend will examine the history of hand-written, hand-made books in a world context.
Ireland has a rich tradition of paper Gaelic manuscripts from the 15th to the 19th century, and this tradition is now to be provided with a world context by speakers from Yale, Vienna and further afield. For example, the close parallels between the Irish tradition and that of Iceland will be explored in detail by Prof. Matthew Driscoll of the University of Copenhagen.
In the study of paper, the history and documentation of watermarks - the hidden signatures that paper-manufacturers embedded in their paper - is crucial. UCC is the sole centre in Ireland for the study of watermarks, through its Watermarks in Irish Documents project (watermarks.ucc.ie). The leading world practitioner of the study of watermarks, Dr Maria Stieglecker, of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, will present to the conference on the current state of watermark capture using beta-radiography.
Paper has its origins in the Far East, and the leading expert on the scientific study of these manuscripts, Dr Agniezka Helman-Wazny, University of Hamburg, will speak to the conference about her annual field-work in Nepal and Tibet, where village records are preserved on paper made by travelling paper-makers.
UCC is also delighted to welcome Theresa Fairbanks-Harris, Senior Conservator for Works on Paper, Yale University, who will discuss the state of the art in paper conservation around a world where conservation challenges posed by paper are an increasingly important issue.
The conference, to which admission is free, is being held in the Boole Library today, Friday 26th and Saturday 27th May. The programme is available here: https://www.ucc.ie/en/modern-irish/seminars-conferences/