Lucy Cokes, Conservator
I am lucky to have lived and studied in beautiful places. I grew up on the Isle of Wight, where I could both play in the woods and go rock pooling, and then study English Literature and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, among honey-coloured buildings steeped in history.
I am a book and paper conservator. I find I am happiest with a sad-looking object in front of me, broken beyond use, and trying to figure out how exactly to bring it to life again without erasing evidence of its life over the centuries. Being a conservator is a little like being a time traveller; I find myself reliving the Dunkirk evacuations in a soldier’s diary, or encountering evidence of atrocities committed by people who thought their way was the only way. It is my job to make this evidence available so people in the future won’t make the same mistakes. And that is why my job is so very important.
You could say my place finds me; and here I am, surrounded by history at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, with the drone of flying Spitfires as my background noise. It’s fascinating to think that World War II officers who were stationed here stood on the same floors and looked out of the same windows as I do every day.
My place, then, is somewhere where I can uncover stories.
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