20 Sep 2021

Icon's Impact: Supporting student members showcase their skills


The Icon Student Gallery has been launched to provide Icon Student Members with a platform to showcase the skills they have been developing as part of their studies – taking their work from the studio floor into the wider world.

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Student project gallery

Welcome to Icon's student project gallery where you can find information about the projects our student members have completed during their conservation studies


What was the goal we set out to achieve?  

The idea sprang from a conversation between Sara Crofts, Icon Chief Executive, and Alex Owen, a furniture conservator at the British Museum and former Chair of Icon’s Furniture and Wooden Objects Group (FWOG) during a group event. Finding ways to support students facing the challenges of the pandemic lockdowns was a key driver to put the idea into action.

Sara explained:

Suddenly, all of the institutional doors were bolted and there were none of the usual degree shows. We realised that lockdown had reduced the opportunities for students to demonstrate their achievements but the move to digital platforms showed us that there might be other ways we could help students to showcase their projects.

Alex Owen also thought the Student Project Gallery could provide clear scope to raise the profile of student research across the board:

‘Such a great deal of research is carried out by conservation students that is never made accessible to the wider conservation community,’ he explains – even though this research involves ‘hundreds of hours of work, heaps of innovation, and some really interesting ideas.’

In this light, the Gallery provides a venue to retain these ideas, in an accessible format that can provide inspiration for others grappling with similar questions.


What did we do?  

The result was a new addition to the Icon website, fully accessible to all.

Icon Student members can create project profiles with text and images to bring their hard work out of the studio and into the wider world at large on the Icon website.

With a brief biographical sketch, the Icon Student Project Gallery is designed to provide a complete online portfolio that gives Icon Student members the edge they need to make the transition from student to employed conservation professional. Templates in the backend help Student members consider their projects and structure content effectively.


What was the outcome?  

 Icon Student member Alice Law commented on the wider impact her profile could have on the Icon website:

Since my undergraduate degree I’ve had an interest in making Heritage accessible to wider audiences. This was a brilliant opportunity to both write informally and also to share the work I have done in my first steps as a member of the conservation community.



The idea was also welcomed by Icon Student member Stefanie Muller of Durham University, who was the first to launch a profile. For Stefanie, the Gallery offered a valuable chance to communicate her experience to potential employers, alongside the usual methods.

I like the option to link my profile to my LinkedIn site as this gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about my work experience. It is a digital version of a portfolio, so to say.



What will we do next? 

Icon Chief Executive Sara Crofts also points to the legacy the Gallery can leave to benefit the profession:

As successive years of student projects are added to the gallery, it also gives us the potential to use them as an engagement tool to showcase the value of conservation and attract people into the profession.

The project helps to ensure that every generation of conservation students can leave their mark, and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

Icon encourages all students and new graduates to take advantage of the Emerging Professionals resources and events to support their entry into the conservation profession. Icon will continue to provide tailored entry-level information and opportunities, and will be running student events in the early autumn to engage young conservators in Icon’s aims.



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