IHBC Yearboox 2018

R E V I E W A N D A N A L Y S I S 15 COMMUNICATING CONSERVATION T HIS EDITION of the Yearbook follows the successful format of the 2017 edition by exploring the same theme as the annual school, this year in Belfast. In 2018 the theme is ‘Our Shared Heritage’. What might seem at first glance to be a rather ‘touchy-feely’ sort of title, takes on a much more profound meaning when set in the context of Northern Ireland’s politics and the implications for the UK of Brexit. But what does sharing heritage actually mean? From my own recent experience, it has meant sharing conservation philosophy, values and practice with other built environment professionals. I currently teach on the RIBA’s Conservation Training Course, which includes a lecture on the SPAB’s manifesto, international conservation charters and the importance of significance. It is very rewarding to be able to discuss these topics with practising architects, many of whom have not encountered them as part of their previous training. It is also satisfying to see how this knowledge is absorbed and used in their day- to-day practice by dealing more sensitively with listed buildings. I have also been able to promote heritage values to town planners by contributing to The Design Companion for Planning and Placemaking , which was published in 2017 by the RIBA on behalf of Urban Design London. The historic environment chapter ensures that heritage is not lost in other urban design guidance and brings the British Standards Institution’s Guide to the Conservation of Historic Buildings (BS 7913) to the attention of planners and urban designers. For me, communication is the key element of sharing and it happens to be the title of Session 1 of the day school in Belfast, which will deal with how as professionals we get our message across to others. Session 2 will deal with negotiation, another key skill for the conservation professional, and will include consideration of cultural heritage without borders. Transformation is the theme of Session 3, which will include a lecture on the RMS Titanic and how its history and interpretation are being used to generate tourism and employment in Belfast. For me, this annual school will provide much food for thought and advice in terms of how we communicate and share the art of conservation, both at home and abroad. A keynote presentation by Jukka Jokilehto, author of A History of Architectural Conservation , will provide an international perspective. I hope to meet many IHBC members and non-members at the event. Needless to say, the ability to communicate is an essential skill for conservation professionals. For full members and affiliates alike, the value of the annual school as continuing professional development in communication cannot be overestimated. I also highly recommend the IHBC’s Membership Application Training Events (MATE), a number of which have already taken place across the UK. Run as interactive workshops, they are designed to make the process of applying for full IHBC membership as simple as possible. I have taken part in these workshops as an advisor and on the basis of personal feedback from delegates, I can vouch for their value. The IHBC website provides details of forthcoming sessions. As individuals I hope that we are all skilled at communicating with our colleagues and others, but how does the IHBC advertise the skills of its members to a wider audience? In 2017, we published Conservation Professional Practice Principles in partnership with the Historic Towns and Villages Forum and Civic Voice. This publication, which can be downloaded from the IHBC website, sets out in detail what conservation professionals do, the values of heritage and key issues in professional practice. The final section provides guidance on reconciling heritage values and making balanced judgements. For me, it has been not only a valuable reminder of the wide variety of work undertaken by IHBC members, but also a useful means of promoting our skills to other professionals. I am currently a member of Historic England’s Historic Environment ‘Trailblazer’ Apprenticeships Group, which has been set up to formulate standards for apprenticeships throughout the historic environment sector with the aim of encouraging a more diverse workforce, from archaeologists to conservators. Conservation Professional Practice Principles has helped me to communicate the important and unique role of the conservation professional to others in the group. Further news on apprenticeships will appear in future editions of Context and in the IHBC’s NewsBlog, but if you would like to know more, do not hesitate to get in touch with me. David McDonald, president@ihbc.org.uk