The International Museums and Collections (IMAC) Award is presented to one student from The University of Melbourne and one from The University of Birmingham annually, and is an opportunity for the selected students to undertake a one month placement within the museums, collections, archives, conservation studios and galleries of each U21 University. The IMAC award covers the costs associated with travel, accommodation and other expenses while the student is placed at either university.

I’m Irene Finkelde. I am the 2017 recipient of the International Museums and Collections Award from the University of Melbourne.  I have been studying my Master’s degree in Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne on a part-time basis over the past 3 years. Studying part-time means that I can also work part-time as a picture framer, and undertake volunteer projects to develop new skills in conservation, collections management and curating at a number of institutions.

I have a keen interest in the conservation of natural history collections, and was fortunate enough to be able to undertake a conservation internship placement at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in April-June 2016.

Prior to my current conservation studies, I complete a Graduate Certificate in Audiovisual Archiving at Charles Sturt University and volunteered at the National Film and Sound Archive. I completed my Fine Arts Degree at the Victorian College of the Arts and a Diploma of Arts (Photography) at North Melbourne Institute of TAFE. I have exhibited my art works widely throughout Melbourne, served on board of Seventh Gallery and on a number of conservation committees, including my current role as Treasurer of the AICCM Victoria Division Committee.

I am honoured to be able to represent the University of Melbourne and very thankful to the staff at the University of Birmingham for hosting me and sharing their skills and expertise.