CHANGE School France

Photos:  Ramamoorthy Luxman are working on the robot arm during the training school in France (Photo cred: Alexis Komenda)

CHANGE School France

The event had been postponed several times due to Covid-19, but now it was finally time for the ESRs to visit the University of Burgundy Franche-Comté (UBFC) and the Center for Research and Restoration of Museums of France (C2RMF) to learn more about Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) as well as other imaging tools.

Like the Poland training school, the France training school was primarily hands-on, a quality that was highly cherished by the ESRs. The group started out in Dijon, at UBFC or, more specifically, at Le laboratoire Imagerie et Vision Artificielle (ImViA) where the focus was on different kinds of RTI and processing of data as well as data simulations in Blender. 

Photo: Robot arm. (Photo cred: Alexis Komenda)

Free-form RTI acquisition, also called highlight RTI, is a challenging and time-consuming technique as it requires one person to take the images with a camera and another to hold the light at different angles. This requires a lot of effort and planning which might be hard to repeat. One of our PhD fellows, Deepshikha Sharma, appreciated the chance of learning more about the research of Ramamoorthy Luxman and David Lewis, the two CHANGE fellows recruited by UBFC. She was very impressed by the work with the robotic arm that is being developed in ImVia for RTI acquisitions and she thinks it is going to be path-breaking if it can also be cost-effective.

Photo: David Lewis (Photo cred: Yoko Arteaga)

In Paris, both C2RMF and Institut national du patrimoine (INP) provided training for the fellows and David Lewis tells us he was introduced to some interesting concepts in both C2RMF and INP. – “I liked that the training at C2RMF was a bit more on the conservation side and INP was a bit more on the scientific side, but both were two sides of the same coin and closely related” he says before he adds that this was according to his point of view. As David is more on the acquisition and processing side of the field, he thought it was interesting and helpful for his career going forward to have a better understanding of how the “other half” of cultural heritage studies works. 

Deepshikha on the other hand, who considers herself a conservation scientist, was really impressed by the multi-analysis device developed in-house by Thomas Calligaro (C2RMF). – “He presented a unique device assembled by himself at a very low-cost and it provides inspiration to conservation scientists like me that cost-effective devices can be developed by oneself in one’s own institute with a good level of knowledge and resourcefulness”, she says before she adds – “this is something inspiring for every one of us who wish to work in a conservation research institute or who wish to start their own consultancy or practice in this field”.

In Paris they also learned about black and white photographs developed on silver halide paper and Deepshikha highlighted this as one of her favourite parts of the training. – “This was something I had only seen in movies. To be able to experience the whole complicated long process inside a dark room with so many different trials and chemicals made me appreciate the complexity of imaging techniques before the start of the digital era”, she says. This is perhaps not so easily understood in today’s world unless you go through the experience yourself. – “For millennials like myself, this is totally unknown unless they try actively to learn the history of imaging. I could understand and value how far the world has advanced in imaging sciences and how easy imaging is in the digital age”, she continues.

Photo: When in France.. (Photo cred: Alexis Komenda)

Socially, the joint dinners served as a nice place to share and learn, as some of the supervisors and other cultural heritage experts joined the fellows also in the evening. All in all, the training event lived up to its expectations and the fellows as well as the organisers can look back on a successful event.