38 Y E A R B O O K 2 0 1 1 HERITAGE FUTURE-WATCH THE MARK OF THE CONSERVATION PROFESSIONAL JO EVANS and SEÁN O’REILLY Today the IHBC is recognised as the key professional body for conservation specialists operating in the historic environment. The institute defines their skills, provides training, support and advocacy, and regulates its members, underpinning their professional development as well as the needs of their employers and clients. It operates to national and international standards of conservation while its support services have become key tools for today’s conservation professional. This support ranges from learned journals, web resources, networking, guidance and events, to our unique NewsBlog email alerts. The IHBC is now established as the ‘home of the conservation professional’. The institute demands interdisciplinary skills of its members in line with international standards JO DPOTFSWBUJPO EJTDVTTFE CFMPX At its inception it developed an authoritative framework for defining competence in our discipline and it is the only professional body to link such skills with ethical duties focussed on conservation outcomes. This ethical framework is connected to the future of our heritage and this highlights a much-overlooked feature of our profession. Although we provide services based on what the past has left us, our advice is concerned above all with its future, a kind of heritage ‘future-watch’. The IHBC only finds itself at this focal point in the care and conservation of our heritage because of the foresight of its founders. In line with good conservation practice, to understand the value and potential of what we have now, we need to consider how the institute developed. The IHBC was founded in 1997 as the professional body for specialists Future-watch: Banksy’s urban astronaut, an ephemeral artwork on the dis#gured facade of a Georgian townhouse in Stokes Croft, Bristol, challenges concepts of evaluation, management and intervention for the conservation professional.