2010 Yearbook

r e v i e w 17 diversity of disciplines and skills in the IHBC as our particular strength, not least because internationally agreed requirements for conservation and the management of historic or sensitive places require a broad range of people and skills. However, this means that we have had to adopt a range of approaches to create coherent standards for our variegated family of professionals and perspectives. So, in essence, the membership standard set by the IHBC is that members must demonstrate competence in historic and built environment conservation. This is the foundation on which our conservation home is built. IHBC membership registers a person’s capacity, and responsibility, to inform their professional activity with experience that extends beyond their own professional specialism, and look to the best outcome for the place under their care or guidance. Two international statements define our approach: The ICOMOS ‘Guidelines for Education and Training in the Conservation of Monuments, Ensembles and Sites’, which defines our cultural perspective on places (http://www.icomos.org/docs/ guidelines_for_education.html) The World Bank’s model of environmental project management, which articulates the management processes within which our members must be able to apply their skills (http://tiny.cc/hs0tr/ – Cultural Heritage in Environmental Assessment ). Both statements stress the need for integrated and diverse skills, individually and as part of a team. In this, they reinforce the value of the IHBC’s own inter-disciplinary culture. ICOMOS guidelines ensure that cultural perspectives are respected, and the World Bank model ensures that their application is rooted, as conservation must be, in the real world. We test applicants against these standards, using generic systems to assess skill levels and determine competence. IHBC membership, correspondingly, demands an understanding of the values that need to be recognised in place conservation, as well as a capacity to understand pressures across the full range of processes that shape those places. Together the ICOMOS and World Bank positions circumscribe the standards that underpin the IHBC: they are the foundations of our conservation home. By extending these principles across our educational activities, we support conservation professionals from a variety of backgrounds. These foundations include: • membership criteria, our Areas of Competence • continuing professional development (CPD) • conservation course recognition • CPD service providers recognition • performance evaluation of training. Abstract standards don’t define a profession, any more than foundations define a house, but they do underpin its success for the future. 2010: conservation and future planning Our current achievements show how much the institute has done to gather the diverse specialist interests in conservation within a supportive and coherent mantel. But although 2009 has been successful, not all our hopes for the year were realised. CapacityBuild, a web resource being developed to help volunteers access capacity within the institute’s members, is almost ready for its web-launch, but urgent concerns over the draft PPS on the historic environment in England meant that all our own spare capacity had to be curtailed. Instead we now hope for a formal launch in 2010. Similarly, the huge amount of time consumed by our advocacy work, especially in England, meant that we have had to hold back on our proposed mentoring programme for prospective full members. We need to be sure that we have the right balance of support offered for all members, both volunteers and applicants, and we are progressing the plan, focusing now on fine-tuning the details before any formal launch. Once in place, however, these initiatives will add more colour and an even warmer welcome to the IHBC as the home for conservation professionals, whatever your background. These are just a few of the great plans we’re working up just now and preparing for our forthcoming corporate plan. So there’s a lot to look forward to. Seán O’Reilly, director@ihbc.org.uk Delegates at the IHBC’s sell-out Annual School in June 2009 soak up Buxton’s breath-taking architecture.