2008 Yearbook

16 Y e a r b o o k 2 0 0 8 BUILDING · CONSERVATION INSTITUTE · OF · HISTORIC · This year’s annual school in Liverpool was a tremendous success. Liverpool provides an inspirational example of how historic buildings and areas can help a city to reinvent itself and adapt to 21st-century demands. The Institute’s current membership drive has proved to be very successful already, triggering an increase of more than 100 in the membership in a very short time. We have a good balance between members in the public and private sectors, with many also undertaking voluntary activities. A real strength of IHBC as a professional body is its multi-disciplinary nature. The Institute is not about protecting professional silos, but effective delivery of historic environment services. Many members have skills crossing disciplines, encompassing heritage management, planning, architecture, surveying, urban design and other related competencies. Despite the very real impacts heritage has delivered, funding for the sector has diminished over recent years. Interestingly, at the same time, urban design has become more of a priority. This may be partly due to the efforts of CABE and others to put forward evidence on how urban design delivers benefits for economic development, regeneration and public value. The heritage sector can learn from this. In particular, there is a need to shift the focus from those who visit heritage sites to those who live, work and use the historic environment. This will demonstrate the very real contribution historic environments make to climate change, economic development, social inclusion and the creation of sustainable places. IHBC is vigorously promoting this agenda, as our director’s introduction to this Yearbook shows. The sector also needs to learn to deliver its messages more effectively. It is important to channel research to demonstrate the wide benefits heritage delivers. We need to create a more positive image for the sector, challenging negative stereotypes. Key messages include: • the historic environment is helping to deliver high-value economic development and regeneration, especially in areas of high deprivation indices • older areas have a key role in fostering social inclusion and community cohesion • the conservation of historic environments is part of the solution to reducing carbon use • adaptation of historic environments can often provide the optimum balance between economy, community and environment. IHBC members have a central role in delivering these benefits and providing high levels of professionalism and effectiveness in the delivery of historic environment services in all sectors and across professional disciplines. The Institute’s director Seán O’Reilly, projects officer Fiona Newton and other staff have driven a modernisation agenda over the past few years to make IHBC an efficient and effective organisation, fit for the challenges of the 21st century. None of this would have been possible without the contribution of volunteers at UK, national and regional levels, all of whom have given their time freely to build the Institute to its current level. If you would like to get involved in IHBC’s activities or governance, please get in touch with your branch chair or with Seán, the director. The world has changed considerably over the past decade. Global warming, international terrorism, globalisation and developments in genetic engineering, IT and communications continue to transform how we live and work. IHBC leads the way in making the sector fit for the present and future and I am proud to have been elected as chairman in this tenth year of its existence. Dave Chetwyn, chair@ihbc.org.uk Photo: Marcin Balcerzak, ©iStockphoto.com