Icon Textile Group shares results of events survey

In May and June 2020, the Icon Textile Committee undertook a survey regarding our events, open to both members and non-members.

27 Aug 2020

Icon Textile Group shares results of events survey

In May and June 2020, the Icon Textile Committee undertook a survey regarding our events, open to both members and non-members.

The aim of this survey was to get a sense of how we could be making our events more accessible and relevant in the future.

We share these results to be transparent and to demonstrate the ways in which we are including opinions of the membership in our future planning.

In total we received 80 responses, with most seeming to be members of the textile group. One question asked for feedback specifically from non-members and there were only 4 responses in this category. There was a concentration of respondents based in London, but 70% of all UK responders were based outside of the capital, spread between 26 UK counties.


As a committee, we are aware of the London-centric nature of many conservation activities and conferences. The success of our Colour Conference in Manchester last year demonstrated an on-going desire for variety in the location of our events. Whilst the survey results held London as the most popular venue of those on offer, Manchester was a strong second. Birmingham was also suggested in the comments section due to its good national transport connections.

We have made plans to hold a student event in Glasgow in March 2021 and are pleased to offer a carpet conservation workshop in Norfolk later in the year (this has now been postponed until 2021). The current Covid-19 crisis and subsequent budget cuts will no doubt influence where we hold our events in the future, but we have already taken on board how online offerings, such as our recent AGM, have the potential to open events to a geographically wider audience.

Travel and Timings

Respondents’ concerns about location often went together with how they were going to get to that particular venue and, in turn, how expensive peak travel can be. For mid-week events in large cities there was a preference for a later start to the day, to allow greater choice of train ticket. Weekend and evening events were generally preferred if there was a more social or informal focus to the event.

We will use this information to help guide our selection of date and timings for our Spring Forum next year, which will include an optional day of workshops and tours. Several comments pointed out that events outside of London were more affordable as associated costs, such as accommodation, were cheaper. The general theme of answers also highlighted that members were willing to pay more for practical events, where materials or tools etc. were provided, than they would be for a lecture or conference.

The topic of increased online activities in a post-Covid world was raised as a way of decreasing event costs such as catering and room-hire. Over 70% of replies requested at least 2 months notice for events, with longer lead-in times needed if applying for external funding.

Sharing our events

We are pleased to report that our Spring Forum 2021 is hosted in conjunction with the Historic Interiors Group. We are even more pleased that this group topped the list of groups textile members wanted to run a joint event with! Almost all other Icon groups were mentioned, with Book and Paper being as highly requested as Historic Interiors, followed by Collections Care and the Ethnography Group in joint second.

Over the next year we will reach out to these groups and discuss how we could work together to potentially deliver events useful for all members.

A workshop on paper conservation basics for textile conservators was highlighted as a desirable future event, along with a general adhesives workshop.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all those who took the time to fill in our survey. The committee are always open to feedback, so if you missed the chance to fill in the survey please reach out to one of us through the Textile Committee page.

In Spring 2021 a couple of the committee will be stepping down; we encourage all members to consider putting themselves forwards for these roles and join us in shaping the future of the Icon Textile Group.

Full results are available on the Textile Group Committee page.


Image: Creative Commons

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