Aankomend Symposium

16th International Symposium on Wood and Furniture Conservation, Stichting Ebenist


Divine Interventions
Challenges in the conservation of wooden religious art objects

11-12 April 2024
De Duif, Prinsengracht 756

Call for papers

Religion has profoundly shaped human history and culture, giving rise to a multitude of beliefs, practices, and sacred artifacts. Due to its availability and material characteristics, wood has served as a source material for religious and sacred objects and buildings worldwide and through the ages. When we speak of religious art, we refer to a wide range of sacred objects, for example altars, temples, sculptures, interiors and furniture in religious buildings, religious icons, ancestor statues, spiritual objects, sacred musical instruments and ritual weapons. Some of these objects have evolved towards what we call art objects, others might still have a functional status. Some are part of museum or private collections, while others can still be found in their original religious context.

The symposium aims to explore conservation practices of religious and sacred objects and buildings, including the ethical considerations and the challenges met in relation to this practice. Discussion could touch upon the comparison of traditional and modern conservation practices, highlighting the need for innovation, while preserving authenticity 

Stichting Ebenist welcomes proposals for lectures on the various aspects of religious art and invites professionals and students in conservation and restoration, art history and materials science to submit an abstract for a presentation at the upcoming symposium. Among the many topics to consider are:

Treatment of religious objects: Reflections on the conservation of altars, religious icons, ancestor statues, spiritual objects sacred musical instruments, ritual weapons, objects that contain spirits or gods and the challenges met preceding or during treatment.

Challenges in Conservation: This topic addresses the unique challenges and considerations involved in preserving wooden religious artifacts, including issues related to aging, environmental factors, and the integration of modern conservation techniques while respecting cultural and religious sensitivities.

Techniques and Best Practices: Discussion of conservation methodologies, case studies, and best practices for the restoration and maintenance of religious wooden artefacts and furniture. Examples of innovative approaches that balance preservation with authenticity.

Ethical and Religious Considerations: Can we respect religious beliefs and practices while undertaking preservation efforts? Ethical dilemmas and religious considerations related to the conservation of religious artifacts.

Traditional vs. Modern Conservation Practices: How to use innovative techniques while preserving authenticity and practices from source communities.

Site-Specific Artifacts: How important is the site-specific aspect of religious artifacts, their cultural context, and what kind of challenges do we meet related to their conservation?

Collaboration: Here we invite you to speak about your experience or thoughts about collaborations with conservators, art historians, religious and spiritual leaders and communities to ensure successful preservation initiatives.

In addition to 20-minute presentations we also welcome 5-minute flash talks, as well as posters. 
On-going projects where final results have not necessarily been obtained can also be submitted. 

Please send your 300-word abstract, a short biography and contact details to info@ebenist.org. Abstracts are accepted until November 1st, 2023. Successful applicants will be required to submit the full text for the proceedings by April 1st, 2024. Feel free to contact us directly by e-mail to discuss ideas or topics..


Aankomend Symposium