Dissemination tour of western Norway

Photos: Bryggen (the dock) in Bergen and The Norwegian Coastal Express

Dissemination tour of western Norway

Six Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), together with coordinator and project manager of CHANGE headed to the west of Norway to share knowledge and new research in CHANGE, as well as discussing our common passion of preserving cultural heritage. 

NO CHANGE, also known as the Norwegian network of CHANGE, is a project funded by the Research Council of Norway. The project aims to increase the impact of the EU project on Norwegian private as well as public sector, including the museum sector. NO CHANGE has previously visited Trondheim and this time, Bergen and Ålesund, two cities on the western coast of Norway hosted the CHANGE group to share the recent achievements in the CHANGE project.

First stop was Bergen, the second largest city in Norway known for its heavy rain, though hard to believe for the first-time visitors as the sun was shining throughout our stay. Our venue was full of staff mostly from the museum sector, eager to listen to the recent advances of change monitoring of cultural heritage objects.

To set the stage, relevant research at the Colourlab was introduced by co-ordinator Jon Yngve Hardeberg, Markus Storeide and Anneli T. Østlien (NTNU)  before Agnese Babini (NTNU) presented her project on stained glass windows. 

Photo: Evdokia Saiti presenting

Her introduction to challenges of documenting the transparent stained-glass windows was a good start to the CHANGE presentations and Evdokia Saiti (NTNU) followed up nicely with the presentations of the work she has been doing on registration of 3D data of stone or marble objects. Evdokia demonstrated how the technology could help indicating erosion of marble objects over time.

Introducing technology to different applications might not be easy, but our ESRs sure did an excellent job and when Ramamoorthy Luxman (University of Bourgogne, Franche-Comté) showed the robotic arm changing the angle of the light source as the camera documented the artwork, many cameras of the audience were also busy preserving for posterity when taking photos of the impressive device Ramamoorthy showed on screen.

The audience also learned about the measurement of appearance of an object from Yoko Arteaga (Center for Research and Restoration of Museums of France). Measuring appearance is important to know for the conservators when they decide on what methods or technique to use when restoring an object to appear as similar to the original object as possible. Dipendra Mandal (NTNU) showed how he is researching to overcome the challenges of scanning with Hyperspectral cameras on an uneven surface a painting usually has, before Jan Cutajar (University of Oslo) wrapped it all up with a presentation of the work he has conducted on monitoring the changes of the monumental paintings  by Munch in the Aula of the University of Oslo.

Photo: PhD fellows fishing from the “Storeggen” a replica ship from the VITI museum

After a day of presentations, Hana Lukesova and some of her colleagues from the University Museum of Bergen took the group for a steep hike up “Fløyen” for a nice view of Bergen by night. They also invited us to the University Museum the day after where we learned more about their work and their collections.

When travelling on the west coast of Norway, what better way is there than joining the Norwegian Coastal Express overnight? We couldn’t think of any and enjoyed a beautiful journey along the coast. With barely any wind, a clear sky and no interfering city lights, we could easily look for different stellar constellations.

The journey went on to Ålesund, where we held the same presentations for a new audience. This was hosted by NTNU’s long-term cooperation partner Ottar André Breivik Anderson, head of Photography and Image Services at the Møre og Romsdal county centre of cultural heritage digitization. Ottar also hosted the ESRs at their premises the day after, to work on quality analyses of reflective and of transmissive targets for flat art reproduction.

All in all, the NO CHANGE tour of the western Norway was a good exercise for the ESRs to practice their communication skills targeting an audience also outside academia and scientific conference, in this case to potential end users. It provides a confidence boost of the project when the audience in Ålesund is excited to know when this technology will be available for the museum staff to use.

Photos: 1: NO CHANGE Group at the university Museum in Bergen. 2: Five PhD fellows in front of the sunrise at the Norwegian Coastal Express. 3: Bergen by night. 4: NO CHANGE Group outside NTNU in Ålesund (Photo cred: Piotr Cabaj)