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Icon welcomes individuals and organisations from all backgrounds who identify with the conservation and preservation of our cultural heritage.  Our membership embraces the entire conservation community as well as members of the public who are keen to learn more or show their support for conservation work.


Welcome to the website of Icon, the lead voice for the conservation of cultural heritage in the UK. Icon's membership embraces the wider conservation community, incorporating not only professional conservators in all disciplines, but all others who share a commitment to improving understanding of and access to our cultural heritage.

Call for Papers: Icon Conference 2016

Icon's third triennial conference will ask the conservation profession to consider its place in a challenging cultural and economic climate.

Turn and Face the Change: Conservation in the 21st Century will take place from 15-17 June 2016 at Aston University Conference Centre in Birmingham.

Papers for both the plenary and group sessions are invited to address the following themes:

  • How can the profession get ahead of the curve and influence decision-making?
  • Is the conservation profession keeping up with changing trends?
  • What will the conservation profession of the future look like?
  • What are the factors affecting emerging professionals?
  • Is conservation in fashion?
  • Is conservation relevant in today's digital world or how do we make it relevant?
  • Does conservation need to challenge the established perception of the profession?
  • What does a modern conservator look like? Have we progressed or gone full circle?
  • What is the changing shape of conservation in the cultural sector?
  • What are the current treatment trends?
  • How is the profession using new technologies, techniques and science?
  • How will the relationship between conservation and craft evolve?
  • What are the current trends in education and training?


Send Plenary session abstracts to by 31 October 2015.

Send Group submissions to your Group Chair by 31 October 2015.

Send abstracts for the Emerging Professionals and Education & Training sessions to Susan Bradshaw by 31 October 2015

Papers will be selected by 30 November  2015


Abstracts should be 150 words and include title, names, addresses and email addresses of all authors and indicate author for correspondence.

We look forward to welcoming you to the conference. Booking will open in November 2015.



More News
Icon CEO keynote speaker at BHI forum

Icon CEO Alison Richmond is to be the keynote speaker at the British Horological Institute's Clock and Watch Conservation and Restoration Forum this September.

The forum, organised by ACRs Kenneth Cobb and Keith Scobie-Youngs, will study the differences between conservation, restoration and repair. Discussions will also cover heritage conservation and its application to horology; the use of materials, processes, tools and costs; and managing customer expectations.

Richmond will speak on Icon's perspectives on this important area of conservation. Also speaking will be Matthew Read ACR, Senior Tutor, West Dean College Conservation of Clocks and Related Objects; Jonathan Betts MBE, formally Senior Curator at the Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich; Oliver Cooke, Senior Curator British Museum Clocks Department, and Chris McKay and Keith Scobie-Youngs ACR, who both run businesses conserving and restoring turret clocks.

The event will take place on Saturday 5 September from 10.30am-5pm at Upton Hall, Upton, Newark. Tickets will be £45 for BHI members and £60 for non-members.

To book tickets email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For more information, visit the BHI website.

Creative Dimension scheme launches

A new project headed by Icon Trustee Penny Bendall ACR will help teenagers get hands-on experience in craft skills.

The Creative Dimension launches on Monday 27 July. The project is aimed at getting professional craftsmen and women to provide teenagers with hands-on crafts skills.

Penny Bendall, an Icon trustee with 25 years' experience of working with ceramics, said: "My target is to have a national network of approved Master Craftsmen and Women who will give tuition to students in groups of one to five on a weekly basis in the same way as piano lessons or tennis coaching.

"We hope this will improve the perception of craft within society and enable students to see craft as an exhilarating career."

The Creative Dimension begins with a five-day course at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in east London. This will be followed by more courses around the country.

The courses will cover specialist crafts areas – such as decorative drawing, gilding and parquetry, with the Royal Collection Trust's Tim Ritson to teach gilding, Tom Bree to teach parquetry and the Royal School of Drawing to teach drawing skills during the first course.

The aim is to give talented young students, who show a particular aptitude with hands-on skills, the opportunity to learn from world-class professionals. Students will be eligible for an Arts Award, monitored by the Crafts Council. The techniques will be filmed and made available on YouTube.

The Creative Dimension is supported by the Eranda Foundation, The Princes School of Traditional Arts, The Royal Drawing School, the Crafts Council, the Arts Awards and the Worshipful Company of Carpenters.

Penny added: "I have been overwhelmed by the response from talented and renowned individuals who have enthusiastically come on board to inspire students from all backgrounds".

Icon announces shortlist for 2015 Conservation Awards

The Institute of Conservation has announced the shortlist for the 2015 Icon Conservation Awards, which has this year attracted a “huge increase in entries”.

Some of the highest-profile conservation projects in the world have been shortlisted, including work at the Tate, Imperial War Museum and Sissinghurst Castle.

Icon Chief Executive Alison Richmond said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the huge increase in entries this year, and thrilled about the range and calibre of those entries."

She added: "The screening panels had a hugely difficult task putting the shortlists together from a strong group of applications but we have a final list that reflects the diversity of the many wonderful conservation projects being undertaken by skilled professional conservators and dedicated volunteers throughout the UK.”

Sponsored by Beko, the Icon Conservation Awards recognise the highest standards of conservation, research and collections care within the UK art and heritage sectors.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 22 October 2015 at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1 Birdcage Walk, London.

Find out more about the Conservation Awards. Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with news about the awards, using the hashtag #IconAwards15.

The shortlist in full:

The Pilgrim Trust Award for Conservation
Recognising excellence in conserving an individual or collection of cultural heritage objects in the UK

Wrest Park Collections Store - Amber Xavier Rowe, English Heritage

Conservation of The Great Parchment Book - Caroline De Stefani, London Metropolitan Archives

Staffordshire Hoard Conservation Programme: Stage 1 - Pieta Greaves, Birmingham Museums

The Swiss Garden Restoration Project - Russel Turner, Eura Conservation, Simon Swann Associates, and Crick Smith, University of Lincoln

The Icon Award for Conservation in the Community
Recognising the excellence achieved by volunteers working with conservators

Conservation Club - led by Derek Brain, Birmingham Museums Trust

Resurrecting the Coffin Works: Sharing Skills, Building a Legacy - led by Deborah Magnoler and Dawn Holland, Birmingham Conservation Trust

Sissinghurst Castle Library Book Conservation Project - led by Caroline Bendix and Vicky McBrien

Skeleton Crew - led by Natalie Jones, Vicky Singleton and Neil Smith, Museum of Zoology Cambridge

The Pilgrim Trust Student Conservator of the Year Award
Recognising the accomplishments of a student conservator in conservation

Abigail Moore, Durham University – Museum of London Handbag Collection: Condition Survey and Identification of Plastic Components

Francoise Collanges, West Dean College – Conservation of an Early Electric Master Clock: Making a Copy as a Conservation Tool

Gemma McBader, Cardiff University – The Investigation and Conservation of a 19th Century Ethiopian Emperor’s Shield

Charlotte Gamper, University of Glasgow – Viscose Rayon: An Absorbing Problem

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers Award for the Conservation of an Industrial Heritage Artefact
Recognising excellence in conservation of operational or static examples of engineering

Crosslé Mark III Motor Racing Car - National Museums Northern Ireland in partnership with Crosslé Car Company

Grand Fountain Restoration, Paisley - Renfrewshire Council, Historic Scotland, Lost Art and Industrial Heritage Consulting Ltd

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers Award for Volunteering in the Conservation of an Industrial Heritage Artefact
Recognising excellence in engineering conservation of an artefact or collection for a project that has significant volunteer engagement

Steam Pinnace 199 - Group 199 (Volunteers at the National Museum of the Royal Navy)

EDSAC Replica - EDSAC Replica Project

The Anna Plowden Trust Award for Research and Innovation in Conservation
Recognising achievements in conservation research and development

The Magna Carta Project – The British Library

IWM and the War Against Dust: Space vacuums, air bazookas and duster drones - Imperial War Museum

The Rothko Conservation Project - Tate

Recognition for heritage in Queen's birthday honours

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2015 has shone a light on the outstanding conservation and restoration work being undertaken at present in the UK heritage sector.

To the great delight of Barley Studio in Yorkshire, their Founder and Managing Director, Icon member Keith Barley ACR is to receive an MBE "for service to cultural restoration and conservation". The honour follows conservation treatments undertaken by Barley Studios at both St Nicholas, Stanford on Avon and St Mary, Fairford. The work carried out at Fairford earned Barley Studio the National Award for Conservation, presented jointly by the Jerwood Foundation and the Museums and Galleries Commission, in 1998.

Barley said he was "surprised and enormously delighted". He said he was particularly pleased with the citation for both restoration and conservation, as it reflects his desire to treat stained glass windows as a work of art rather than merely an object of antiquity.

Having begun his career as the first apprentice of the newly formed York Glaziers Trust, based at York Minster, Keith became the pioneer of using environmental protective glazing to preserve vulnerable medieval windows.

Icon member Sarah Brown, Director of the York Glaziers Trust, commented: "The sensitive approach to the balance between conservation and restoration achieved by Barley Studio at Stanford on Avon and Fairford revealed to many the capacity of stained glass conservation to transform public engagement with the medium."

Also an ambassador for our built heritage, Dr Loyd Grossman OBE, FSA, will receive a CBE for services to heritage. Currently Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust and of the Heritage Alliance, Dr Grossman is also President of NADFAS.

Other accolades in the arts and heritage sector include, Mrs Philippa Glanville, for services to the Decorative Arts and Arts Heritage (London); Ms Perdita Hunt, DL Director and Mrs Gergaud, Watts Gallery, for services to the Arts (Godalming, Surrey); Dr Maria Jane Balshaw Director, Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery, for services to the Arts.

National Trust releases statement on Clandon Park fire

The National Trust has released a statement from head conservator Katy Lithgow regarding the devastating fire at Clandon Park in Surrey, which broke out on 29 April.

An investigation is currently undergoing into the cause of the fire, which has left the Palladian mansion extensively damaged. According to Lithgow, "Thankfully no one was injured but, as media photographs have shown, damage is extensive. Nevertheless, significant elements of the collection as well as the interior have survived."

She also expressed thanks for offers of help.

The statement in full:

"Since the awful fire on Wednesday 29th April at Clandon Park, near Guildford in Surrey, the National Trust has received much sympathy and many offers of support from conservators, for which it is immensely grateful.

"This Palladian mansion, dating from the 1720s, boasted fabulous interiors including the double-height Marble Hall, and extensive collections of eighteenth century furniture, paintings, textiles and ceramics. Thankfully no one was injured but, as media photographs have shown, damage is extensive.

"Nevertheless, significant elements of the collection as well as the interior have survived, thanks to the heroic efforts of the Surrey Fire and Rescue Services working with National Trust staff. This demonstrates yet again the value of establishing an emergency plan and regular training and liaison with the emergency services.

"The collection which was removed from the house during the fire has been checked, inventoried and sent to safe storage, and the salvage of remaining objects and excavation of the interior will be taking place when the structure is declared safe. We are drawing on our experience at Uppark in 1989, as well as others’ experience of more recent events.

"We hope that the excavation will offer learning opportunities for, not only experienced conservators and curators, but also trainees and those newly qualified, as well as volunteers. We will keep you posted as our plans progress."

Katy Lithgow, Head Conservator

Free Journal articles from Taylor & Francis

This April saw Icon's successful Adapt & Evolve Conference hosted by the Icon Book & Paper Group.

Academic publisher Taylor & Francis have generously uploaded a selection of articles from the Journal of the Institute of Conservation relating to the conference. The articles are free for both members and non-members to read.

The articles explore a number of the themes from the conference including the materials and techniques being used in the conservation of East Asian pieces in Western collections. 

All of the articles listed are free for both member and non-members to access online until the end of June 2015.

Read the articles.


© 2015 Icon - The Institute of Conservation. Icon is registered as a Charity in England and Wales (Number 1108380) and in Scotland (Number SC039336) and is a Company Limited by Guarantee, (Number 5201058)
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