METAL22 solki verkko
A close-up of a silver filigree bead necklace (KM2570:4) which dates to the end of the Crusades and the beginning of the Middle Ages. This necklace, which belongs to a collection discovered in Joensuu in the former municipality of Halikko, consists of 36 silver filigree beads. The set also includes three silver crosses with chains. Photo: Finnish Heritage Agency

METAL conference comes to Finland for the first time this September


The main theme of the five-day conference, organised by the National Museum of Finland, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and the International Council of Museums’s (ICOM) Committee for Conservation, is sustainable development in the conservation of cultural heritage. The keynote speaker will be Caitlin Southwick from the United States, who is well-known as the founder of Ki Culture, an organisation that promotes sustainable development. The conference will run from 5 to 9 September and can also be accessed on-line. Tickets for the conference and workshops are now on sale.

The METAL conference, which is organised every three years in a different location, will be held this autumn for the first time in a Nordic country and in Finland. For the first time, the conference will be held in hybrid form: a couple of hundred participants are expected to attend in person, while a much larger number will be participating on-line.

The main theme for the conference is sustainable development in cultural heritage conservation work. The programme for the conference includes around 80 presentations covering topics such as ecological conservation methods, multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary cooperation, and sustainable values in conservation education.

“Also of much interest to people in our field are methods for supporting sustainable development through analytics, data science, information technology and visualisation” explains Conference Chair Liisa Näsänen, Conservator at the National Museum of Finland.

Lectures and workshops from top international experts

The conference will feature three special lectures from leading experts in the field. The keynote speech, entitled Sustainability in Conservation, will be given by Doctor Caitlin Southwick, who is widely known within the cultural sector as the founder and leader of Ki Culture, an organisation that supports sustainable development, and the CEO of Sustainability in Conservations (SiC), a branch of Ki Culture which focuses on sustainable development in conservation. Southwick’s career has included work as a conservator at the Vatican Museums and the Getty Research Institute.

The conference will be held in Suomenlinna, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It will also include workshops held on the previous weekend, on 3 and 4 September 2022. These will take place at the Finnish Heritage Agency’s Collection and Conservation Centre in Vantaa. In the Saturday workshop, Professor João Cura D’Ars de Figueiredo (Department of Fine Arts at the School of Fine Arts at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) will teach participants how to clean silver using sodium glycinate. The search for more ecological solvents to replace the chemicals previously used in conservation work is part of the sustainable development agenda for the field. For the Sunday workshop, the topic will be the use of oxygen consumption measurements to assess metal corrosion. This workshop will be led by Nicola Emmerson and David Watkinson from Cardiff University, Senior Researcher Henning Matthiesen from the National Museum of Denmark, and Senior Conservation Scientist David Thickett from English Heritage.

The conference is being organised by the National Museum of Finland, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and the ICOM Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC). The partners for the event are the Governing Body of Suomenlinna and the City of Helsinki.

For further conference information and tickets purchases, visit