Sharing Heritage skills- through workshops, conferences and heritage open days- is an integral part of our business, both within the professional sector and for the general public.
Heritage outreach is an important component of many of our contracts, through talks and demonstrations about our work as it is being carried out- with schools, local parishes and/or the wider community. It is vital for the sector to promote heritage skills and conservation but it is also incredibly rewarding for the team as it often leads to a genuine curiosity and interest in understanding building skills and even a renewed sense of pride, or wonder, in the place.
Over the years Matthias has given talks to societies, schools and clubs about his craft training in Germany and his professional experiences working in the Heritage sector in the UK and on the Continent. Matthias has also participated in academic seminars on subjects including conservation philosophy, building history and methodologies of building repair. Our Foreman, David Switalla, has also given numerous talks about his experiences working in the sector and his training as a German Master Stonemason, in addition to regular talks during working hours to school children who visit our projects.
In terms of practical training, we have led demonstrations within the professional sector on the uses of lime based products, and has given numerous masonry and carving demonstrations at heritage open days for the general public. In addition, he has taught in the York College masonry department for a number of years and remains connected to this important training centre through our apprentices.
In general, we are very interested in helping bridge the gap between academic and hands-on pursuits. Our professional work straddles both fields, and as such we have participated in conferences which explore the ways in which crafted objects have played an integral part in the development of cultural and intellectual history. The perspective of the craftsperson is central to any broader discussion of made things, and we support forums which also value and explore the historical relationship between the mind and the hand.
A selection of recent lectures:
Stone Building Conservation Conference at the Weald + Downland Living Museum/ 2019- Preserving Craft/Preserving Buildings: German and UK Craft Training in Context
York Consortium for Conservation and Craftsmanship (YCCC) John Shannon Lecture/ 2018- Preserving Craft Training in the UK
Construction History Society/ 2017- The Clay Tile Repair: Form, Function and Value
Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)/ 2017- Keynote address: Preserving Buildings/Preserving Craft: How German and UK Approaches Differ and the Impact on Training
Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (CREMS) Research Seminar/ 2015- Making Lines
Canolfan Tywi/ ‘The Future of Heritage Construction in Wales- Training, Collaboration, Mainstreaming’/ 2015- Keynote address: Craft, Repair and Conservation
Friends of Beverley Minster/ 2014- Matthias Garn Master Mason & Partner
York Art Workers Association/ 2014- Matthias Garn Master Mason & Partner