In July 2013 the GCI and the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage welcomed scientists and conservators from the United States, France, and Brazil to a five-day workshop, "Recent Advances in Characterizing Asian Lacquer." The workshop, held at Yale's Center for Conservation and Preservation, aimed to disseminate new tools and procedures for uncovering detailed information about lacquered objects; it was developed as part of an ongoing research project undertaken by the GCI and the Getty Museum. During the workshop, scientists and conservators worked in research teams to study historic lacquer samples from their own collections, putting new techniques into practice. They then presented their findings to the group.
Michael Schilling, a GCI senior scientist, and Arlen Heginbotham, a Getty Museum associate conservator—along with Nanke Schellmann of Vienna's Academy of Fine Arts— presented an integrated set of complementary high- and low-tech tools for characterizing Asian lacquers. Daisy Wang of the Freer and Sackler Galleries and GCI visiting scientist Julie Chang, both of whom are conducting research into historical Chinese literature on lacquer, contributed valuable insights into lacquer manufacture and traditions.
Future workshops are planned for Paris and Beijing. The workshop series supports a growing international community of lacquer researchers and is organized as part of GCI Education's Research into Practice Initiative.