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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.


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What are the Professional Standards and why are they relevant?

To undertake the work of a conservator-restorer you are obliged to comply with ethical standards and practices. The promotion of the philosophy behind conservation practice dates back to the late 19thC but it is over the last over the last sixty years since World War II and the formation of UNESCO that international and national legislation was agreed. These laws support the work and codes of ethics of such organizations as the IIC, ICOMOS, AIC and ICON. Charters such as the Venice Charter influenced development across the profession to enforce a binding commitment to protect cultural heritage and works of art from harm or interventions that change to its significance or meaning in any way.

These codes of practice cover all aspects of conservation. The description, conservator-restorer, is internationally understood and helps communication across many different specialist fields.

The Professional Standards as defined by the Professional Accreditation of Conservator-Restorers (PACR) are a useful and dependable description of professional practice. They were created in 2000 and approved by practitioners in the UK, and are kept up-to-date by regular review. PACR is the professional practice assessment for conservation professionals wishing to gain accredited status

Five standards are used to describe professional practice, each of which has a number of defined elements, plus the professional judgement and ethics criteria which must be applied to each standard. More detail for each standard is available when you click on the individual headings.

Summary of the professional standards and professional judgement and ethics

Professional Standards

Professional judgement and ethics

1. Assessment of cultural heritage
assessing and reporting on condition, environment  and
threats, assessing risks, identifying any  problems to be

2. Conservation options and strategies
identifying and evaluating options; negotiating  courses
of action for conservation measures.

3. Conservation measures
advising on, developing policy for and  implementing
conservation measures; ensuring  high standards are
maintained; planning to minimise the effects of disasters
and emergencies;  maintaining conservation records;
advising on aftercare.

4. Organisation and management
managing projects and workflow; client/internal and
external relations; health and safety; security;  records
and reports; communication.

5. Professional development
maintaining up-to-date practice; extending and
communicating knowledge; promoting  conservation and the care of cultural heritage. 

i.  understanding principles and practice

ii.  conversance with guidelines

iii. understanding the wider contexts of    conservation

iv. critical thinking, analysis and synthesis

v.  openness to alternative methods and approaches

vi. understanding the ethical basis of the    profession

vii. observing code of ethics and practice

viii. observing legal requirements

ix. responsibility for the care of cultural heritage

x.  responsible and ethical dealings with others

xi. respect for the cultural, historic and spiritual context of objects

xii. handling value-conflicts and ethical dilemmas

xiii. understanding and acting within the limits of  own knowledge and competence 


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