Mark Kearney

After completing my undergraduate degree in Physics with Astrophysics at Trinity College, Dublin, I moved to conservation by studying for a Graduate Diploma in Conservation at the University of Lincoln and an MSc in Professional Conservation at Cardiff University.

My first work-based placement was at the National Library of Ireland. While very short, lasting just a week, it allowed me to gain valuable hands-on experience after completing my MSc. More importantly, it allowed to show commitment to the field: this was later crucial in securing my current placement.

I am now an Icon/HLF Intern in Modern Materials at the Victoria and Albert Museum. My work at the V&A is centred on plastics and their conservation - a relatively new and emerging discipline within conservation. My background also allows me to carry out scientific analysis on a wide range of objects and materials that come to the department. So far I've had the opportunity to study the behaviour of plastics in a very large collection, attend courses and conferences relating to plastics and undertake practical research projects.

This work-based internship allows me access to a field that would be very difficult to enter otherwise. I am gaining a solid level of experience and knowledge in an area that is set to grow in demand. I hope this will position me ideally to continue to move forward in my career. Additionally, I have been given the opportunity to shadow, interact and network with professionals who have vast amounts of experience and are generous with their time - something that is truly invaluable when beginning a career.