Paul Hepworth

Paul Hepworth got exposed to and interested in Islamic culture at an early age during the many years he lived with his family in Afghanistan and Turkey in his youth.  After obtaining a B.A. in Molecular Biology, he returned to the Middle East and taught mathematics and science for 13 years in Turkey and Syria during which time he also took an M.A. degree in Educational Administration.  When he decided to embark on a career in conservation, he attended the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University where he received an M.A. in Art History and an Advanced Certificate in Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.  His course-work was evenly divided between textile and paper conservation with a particular focus on Islamic cultural heritage.  For his final-year internship he worked in the manuscript conservation laboratory of the Walters Art Museum.  This was followed by a year-long Fullbright scholarship in Turkey to study Islamic papers and binding structures.  He then returned to the Walters Art Museum for three years as an Assistant Conservator with special responsibility for its Islamic manuscript collection.  In 2005 he returned to live and work in Turkey as an independent conservator.  There he has undertaken numerous projects for cultural institutions and collectors in Turkey and other countries in the Middle East.


Paul has used his background in education to further the conservation profession.  Major projects in Konya (Turkey), Algiers (Algeria), Constantine (Algeria) and Erbil (Kurdistan, Iraq), some of them on-going, have involved the training of local conservators.  Additionally he has taught workshops and seminars – often in collaboration with Karin Scheper – in Cairo, Kuala Lumpur, Doha, Istanbul and other locations.

Professional Activities

A founding member of the Islamic Manuscript Association, Paul has served on the association’s Board in both an elected and co-opted capacity.  He participated in the European Union sponsored project, Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies, and contributed a section to its publication.  He has presented on topics related to the conservation of Islamic manuscripts and textiles at international conferences and has published several articles in scholarly journals.  Research is always an integral part of his conservation treatments.