All entries will be judged by the Conservation Awards Panel which includes a Specialist Conservator for each award category.

The Conservation Awards Panel

Chair: Dr David Leigh, BSc PhD DipCons, FSA FIIC ACR, Plowden Medal (Royal Warrant Holders’ Association)

Trained in London as an archaeological conservator, David went on to teach conservation at Cardiff University where he compiled the first edition of First Aid for Finds. He set up the Conservation Unit of the Museums & Galleries Commission, and established the first conservation awards.  As Principal at West Dean College he expanded conservation teaching before becoming CEO of UKIC, and then helped to forge Icon from five membership bodies.  Internationally, he was involved with IIC, notably as its Secretary-General, and with the creation of European BSI conservation standards.  He continues to be a Trustee of the Anna Plowden Trust and is currently involved as Trustee with conservation and display of the Newport medieval ship timbers and their eventual re-assembly.

Emma Jhita, Icon CEO

Emma is Icon’s Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for the development and delivery of Icon’s strategic ambitions. She manages the staff team and works closely with the Board of Trustees, Board Committees, and volunteers drawn from the membership. Emma is an experienced heritage sector leader and fundraising professional and joined Icon from Historic England where she was Head of Partnerships & Development. Emma has a track record of successful delivery in previous roles as Chief Executive of Didcot Railway Centre, Director of Development at the Jewish Museum London, and Head of Fundraising for The Postal Museum.

Mark Ross, Icon Trustee

Mark Ross has been a co-opted Trustee of Icon since 2022. Mark is Managing Director at a strategic communications and public affairs consultancy for companies in the built environment sector, and has 20 years’ experience of the UK political and media environment, delivering campaigns, stakeholder engagement strategies and community consultation programmes. 

Camella Ramjet, Icon Member, Emerging Professionals Network

Camella is part of our Emerging Professionals’ Network where she volunteers as the Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Officer. Camella has held various roles over the years - from community partnerships, learning and engagement to collection management and conservation. She recently completed an internship in Preventive Conservation at English Heritage, after graduating with an MA in Principles of Conservation at UCL. While studying, Camella was elected student officer for UCL’s disabled students, as well as an EDI representative. Her research focuses on exploring decolonial routes to contemporary conservation. Camella currently works at UCL, the Royal Collection Trust and the British Museum.

Annie McCarthy, Marsh Charitable Trust

Annie has worked for the Trust since 2015, after graduating from the University of Southampton with a degree in English Literature and History. Annie became Trust Manager in 2019 and now oversees the Marsh Awards scheme, working closely with partners to develop and run Award programmes. She often sits on judging panels for the Marsh Awards, providing an external opinion on nominations and helping to select the Award winners.

Conservation Specialists

Ylva Dahnsjo ACR
Award Judge: Heritage Conservation in Action

Ylva Dahnsjo ACR is a conservator and sustainability consultant for historic environments and collections, and advocates for conservation as a catalyst for meaningful encounters with history. She has worked extensively with engagement and visitor experience as Consultant Conservator for National Trust, and as Head of Collections Conservation at National Trust for Scotland.

A former Chair of SSCR and Past President of ECCO, Ylva helped to build Icon and its Accreditation Scheme where she has also been an Assessor since its inception. She taught on the MA Conservation courses at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Northumbria University, and was External Assessor for the University of the Arts London. She has served on various funding panels, including the Wellcome Trust, The Frederick Bearman Research Grant, and Historic Houses Sustainability Awards. 

Dr Clare Finn ACR
Award Judge: Research in Conservation

Dr Clare Finn has been in conservation for over 50 years. Trained as a conservator of paintings in NE England, then in Switzerland, Germany and Italy. She set up and ran the conservation department at Coventry Museums, then became a technical consultant to Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art department, a post she held for 30 years. She also trained as a jeweller and undertook a doctorate on Picasso’s Decorative Metalwork at the Royal College of Art, London. Clare has contributed to exhibitions in France, Belgium and Spain and published primary research in Apollo and the Burlington Magazines. She is a member of the Picasso Bronze Project with staff at the Musée National Picasso, Paris and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Clare Meredith
Award Judge: Innovation in Conservation

Clare has had a 45-year career in conservation. She spent 20 years as a paintings conservator with a private studio and developed Historic Scotland’s post-graduate internship programme as a consultant. She then became Head of Collections Conservation Services at the National Trust for Scotland for 8 years and retired in 2013. 

A constant thread has been Clare's involvement with Icon. She has been involved in a number of working groups (ie Code of Practice & Ethics), a PACR Assessor, Chair of the Accreditation Committee - and remains an Icon Mentor, a role she finds incredibly rewarding. She has recently stepped down as Chair of the Textile Conservation Foundation; providing MPhil students with bursaries and supporting their professional development at Glasgow University and beyond.

Helen Wilson ACR
Award Judge: Environmental or Sustainability Focus in Conservation

Dr Helen Wilson ACR is ‘Sector Development Manager - London and Business Archives’ in The National Archives’ (UK) Archive Sector Leadership Department. Prior to starting this role in 2023, Helen worked over 10 years as an Icon-accredited heritage scientist/preventive conservator and Sustainability Lead in The National Archives’ Collection Care Department.

As steering group member of Icon’s Sustainability Group and co-Chair of Icon’s Heritage Science Group, Helen recently led a project evidencing a sector need to develop sustainability frameworks for heritage science labs and conservation studios. In her current role, Helen is key contact for The National Archives’ partnership with ICCROM’s Our Collections Matter Initiative and is involved in developing Carbon Literacy Training for Archives, Records and Special Collections.

Lorna Calcutt ACR
Award Judge: Early Career Conservator

Lorna has been a tutor then Programme Coordinator at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation for fifteen years. Prior to this, she was employed as a conservator in national institutions and the private sector. Those experiences have helped her to develop an understanding of the profession in different contexts, and enable her to offer support to students whose career paths may also be varied. Lorna has developed research interests in enamel on metal, participating in working group meetings and maintaining affiliations with colleagues. Lorna is an accredited member of Icon, member of ICOM and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Janie Lightfoot ACR
Award Judge: Outstanding Student Conservator

Janie is the director and senior conservator at Janie Lightfoot Textiles LLP in London which she established in 1977. Working from two fully equipped studios, Janie leads a team of eight conservation specialists, with a broad skill base. 

Janie is an accredited conservator with a long history of working with National and International Museums, Heritage Houses, Textile Dealers, Auction Houses, Private Owners, Collections, Palaces, and the Church. She is a consultant to several major institutions, associate lecturer at University of the Arts London, a frequent speaker at conservation and textile conferences, an Icon CPD Reader and an accredited assessor for the Association of Independent Museums.

Janie has an established relationship with textile students, and the Janie Lightfoot Textile Archive is accessible to them, work placements, and interns both in the UK and internationally. She also writes articles, and reviews books.