Academic elected to International Institute for Conservation

31 August 2015
Dylis Johns
Dilys Johns. Picture credit: Tim Mackrell

The University of Auckland’s Dilys Johns has been elected as a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic works (IIC) in London.

Dilys is a Senior Research Fellow, School of Social Sciences – Te Pokapū Pūtaiao Pāpori, Faculty of Arts. Her research and teaching focus on in situ wetland archaeological site sustainability, conservation of at risk materials and the importance of cultural orientation to materials conservation.  Recent publications include articles with Oxford University Press (UK) and the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (USA). Two of her most recent projects have included  the analysis and conservation of two South Island waka; the 600 year old waka with a distinct turtle engraving recovered near Anaweka estuary and a 500 year old waka complete with braided waterlogged fibrework excavated with iwi late last year on the Papanui Inlet.

Fellows are nominated and elected by their peers in the IIC. Dilys is the only Fellow of the IIC in New Zealand.

“I am especially indebted to the many iwi I have worked with over the years for their guidance and trust and to my overseas and NZ colleagues,” Dilys says.

Dilys was nominated by Dr Ian MacLeod, Executive Director, Fremantle Museums and Collections in Western Australia.

Ian has known Dilys since 1987.

“Dilys has a sparklingly fresh and open mind. The energy that she demonstrates in her creative care for complex objects and treatment programmes is wonderfully refreshing and is an inspiration to upcoming generations of conservators,” Ian says.

The IIC is an international organisation to advance knowledge and standards for cultural heritage conservation through research, conferences and publication of the leading international conservation journal Studies in Conservation.  

After completing a thesis ‘Waterlogged Wood Conservation – an investigation of radiation induced polymerisation of monomers’ Dilys secured a Government scholarship to study conservation science in Rome and Canada.

Returning in 1987 Dilys established a unique, national facility for conservation at the University of Auckland. Since then the laboratory has completed thousands of conservation projects for at-risk artefacts in New Zealand and the Pacific, including 11 waterlogged canoes conserved in satellite facilities. Dilys is a Coordinator of the International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation Wet Organic Archaeological Materials and a founding member of New Zealand Conservators of Cultural Material- Pu Manaaki Kahurangi.


Anna Kellett, Media Relations Adviser