2. RESEARCH STRATEGY
In order to analyse the purposed subject, some specific questions should be addressed:
Why are conservators important for the art market?
Why can conservators be a reliable source in determining the authenticity of an artwork? Either talking about paintings, antiques or antiquities.
Why restoration processes and the knowledge of conservators and restorers can be determining to uncover the illicit art and antiquities market?
Why are ethics in conservation so important for the art market?
2.1. Research approaches
For the purpose of this study, the research methodology chosen is a combination of positivistic and phenomenological research philosophies.
It tries to describe, translate, explain and interpret events from the perspectives of the people who are subject to the research.
It will be based in case studies referring to literature and to the results of the interviews. This approach will be descriptive and explanatory in order to understand the different approaches in conservation between professionals of the sector and why they behave in such way.3. DATA COLLECTION AND PROPOSED ANALYSIS
3.1. Data Collection
For the collecting of data, different libraries will be consulted in order to obtain books, articles and other relevant information for the study. The literature that will be chosen for the purpose of this research will be mainly written by conservators or professionals working in a conservation team. Due to the limitations in the literature existing in the University library referring to this subject, other main libraries like the British Library or the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London will be consulted. Online articles and journals will be consulted as well since online resources nowadays are large and reliable. It is a fact that many serious publications are available online. We can cite specialized journals like “Studies in Conservation” or the “International Journal of Cultural Property” amongst others. Other academic publications like JSTOR and other museum publications will also be taken into account. This will be the first step in the research, and sources will be consulted until the end of the project.
In addition to the literature revised, another kind of research is programmed to be performed based on individual interviews to conservators working in different institutions, either public or private. This involves conservators working in museums, auction houses or private restoration and research labs. This methodology will be founded in a structured interview, being always open to an unstructured interview if other questions derived from the discussion are relevant to the subject. For this purpose, professionals will be contacted via email or telephone individually to request their participation in the project, and if it is possible, the interview will be conducted face-to-face.
A cover letter explaining the aims of the project will be sent to the participants along with the interview questions via email. A commitment in confidentiality will be guaranteed to the participants and the results will not be published at any time.
3.2. Data Analysis
The method of data analysis will be qualitative. This is the method that has been chosen because the major concern of this study is the variety of meanings, attitudes, and interpretations found within each participant or interviewed and author.