International co-operation is increasingly necessary to tackle global challenges, which is why we seek to celebrate and foster the international presence and outlook of the conservation profession.
The UK conservation sector is a dynamic and international field. A substantial contingent of Icon’s members (17.5% of the membership in 2019) are based outside the UK. Large numbers of international students come to the UK to study, to undertake research and to develop their conservation skills.
There is also a positive ongoing exchange of knowledge, as UK-based conservators frequently take part in overseas conferences and welcome international speakers to events in the UK. These activities all contribute to strengthening the conservation skills-base and professional expertise internationally.
In 2019, Icon’s Board of Trusteed outlined its commitment to international collaboration by adding an international element to Icon’s Strategy. The International Addendum supports Icon’s work with other international conservation bodies, sets out our strategic priorities for international activities, and helps to expand our reach to deliver on Icon’s vision.
The aims of Icon’s international engagement are to:
- grow our membership and increase the number of Icon accredited conservator-restorers supporting the care of cultural heritage across the globe
- identify opportunities for existing members to develop their skills through travel and exchange and fostering access to an international pool of innovation and best practice
- identify opportunities for members to access international markets to support and grow their commercial practices
- foster domestic support by demonstrating the value of conservation and its ability to support national priorities such as soft power and tourism
- unlock the potential to collaborate with new and existing partners to facilitate the development of effective and innovative solutions to common challenges for the benefit of our shared global heritage
- cultivate widespread appreciation and understanding of conservation through actively engaging with a global audience
- increase the diversity of the Icon membership, partnerships and collaboration at an international level to ensure that conservation maintains its relevance to contemporary society and future generations