3 FOREWORD That hackneyed old adage that says time goes faster as one gets older is true I’m afraid. This will be the third and final year that I’ve had the honour of being your president and the time has quite simply flown by. Whirlwind or not, it has been by degrees demanding, challenging, supremely enjoyable, a tremendous privilege and, above all, thoroughly rewarding. This is all the more so because of the wonderful, dedicated, knowledgeable, passionate and thoroughly nice bunch of people you all are. If there’s an art to growing old(-er) gracefully I’m not sure I have – or indeed want – that particular skill! But I do know that there’s an art to what we do best. The conservation of the built environment is essentially an idealistic pursuit, invariably challenging, occasionally depressing, but usually rewarding (albeit not in a financial way for most of us) provided one adopts a sufficient level of healthy, self-preserving pragmatism. As your past chair Jo Evans suggests in her piece on the art of negotiation (see page 37), it pays to pick the battles you believe you can win, to be reasonable (that old planning cliché!), and to maintain the moral high-ground. That way, no matter whose case you are fighting, you should stay (relatively) For this year it only remains for me to thank the thoroughly talented and energetic team led by Seán O’Reilly for their warm support and untiring efforts, and to wish you all well. I will, of course, hope to see as many of you as possible in Edinburgh in June. It promises to be a great annual school for I cannot think of a more apposite venue to host our ‘Art of Conservation’ theme; and although you may think I am Welsh, I was born in Scotland so in a way it will be like coming home. Slàinte! Trefor Thorpe IHBC President sane, balanced and (and this is important) right, or on the side of the righteous at the very least. It’s the art of being a professional. The pressures of delving deep into the labyrinthine legal complexities of our institute’s governance have prevented me from seeing as much of you all at branch level as I had wished, and I apologise for that. The governance review has been, and continues to be, a messy business (although someone’s got to do it). However, as we get closer to achieving a new model that can deliver fuller, more transparent and more flexible representation for all involved in our broad, eclectic church, I’m certain that it will be worth it in the long run. This is important, for while we have been blessed with a group of people at the helm of this organisation who care, who strive to fight our corner in practical ways and, above all, who seek to exercise and extend our influence, they, unlike the heritage we care for, cannot last forever. Their foresight, initiative and the brand of professional adeptness that has drawn us admiration from within the sector and beyond is a skilful art and one that is vitally important to the survival and prosperity of our function, if not always to our day jobs. If we want our profession to survive, develop and prosper, we need your support, we need your input and we need your time. If my three years as your president have taught me anything it is that those who devote their energies to this organisation, whether in a paid or unpaid voluntary capacity, find it incredibly rewarding and not just because, indirectly, it provides valuable, marketable career experience at executive levels. I am supremely grateful to, but mostly humbled by all those of you who give your time to make this institute what it has become today, but I look with eager anticipation for those who will make it what it will be tomorrow.