Stained glass pioneer awarded 2023 Plowden Medal for Conservation

Stained glass conservation pioneer Professor Sarah Brown has been awarded the 2023 Plowden Medal for Conservation, recognised for her significant contribution to the stained glass conservation sector.

Prof Brown, who is Course Director of the MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management at the University of York and the Director of the York Glaziers Trust, is a household name in the stained-glass industry.

Prof Brown said she was "knocked for six" when she found out she'd been awarded the prestigious Medal, which honours the life and achievements of the late Hon. Anna Plowden CBE - a leading conservator. "Anna Plowden made such a big difference to the conservation community that to be awarded this medal in her memory is very moving, it was very humbling to be told I had been chosen — I am not often speechless but momentarily I was! It's a tremendous affirmation especially because I never feel like I am working, and I love what I do so much. I am grateful to my colleagues and peers for making a nomination on my behalf."

Inspired by her own father, who had begun his career as a joinery apprentice and continued to love using tools throughout his life, Prof Brown has been a tireless champion of the stained-glass community since the 1980s, playing a key role in introducing academic training for stained-glass conservators. "While doing my Masters at the University of York, I became aware of threats to stained glass, but I was equally aware of the fact there were very few people who could care for this heritage. So, we worked hard to establish a national accreditation scheme for stained glass conservators, which subsequently became part of ICON’s national scheme. After a period of development, the University of York launched the Masters Course in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management in 2008."

Professor Sarah Brown was presented her award at the RWHA President's Reception on 26th September at Westminster Abbey, London.