Conservation United Kingdom

Study to examine UK’s conservation workforce

Changes in the sector have made previous research “out of date”

Icon is preparing for its triennial conference “Positive Futures in an Uncertain World”, which is due to be held at the University of Glasgow from 10 to 12 April

The UK conservation organisation, Icon, is putting the finishing touches on a major research project to study the conservation workforce in the UK— the first in-depth study of its kind in recent years. Funded by the Arts Council England, English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Conservation Workforce Intelligence Research Project seeks to identify the nature of work for professional conservators across the UK.

The study “will answer a fundamental question: do we have a workforce with the appropriate skills to ensure that the [UK’s] cultural heritage is preserved and accessible?” says Alison Richmond, Icon’s chief executive, adding that that the conservation sector has undergone tremendous changes since the last survey, making previous research “very out of date”. Although other research has “included conservation in a wider context, [it] has not provided data that is fine-grained enough to be useful”, she says. The results of the project are due to be announced on 30 April.

In the run up to the announcement, Icon is preparing for its triennial conference “Positive Futures in an Uncertain World”, which is due to be held at the University of Glasgow from 10 to 12 April. The conference will focus on the challenges faced by the heritage sector in today’s uncertain economic climate, when cuts in staff and funding are at an all time high. Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish government’s cabinet secretary for cultural and external affairs, will address the congress. Clare Cooper, the co-director and founder of the arts think-tank, Mission Models Money, is the event’s keynote speaker, and she will deliver a lecture on major global challenges and the role of arts and heritage in confronting these challenges.

The deadline to register for the conference is 28 March. For more information go to: www.iconpf13.com.

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