The Institute of Conservation’s (Icon) first ever conference “CF10: Conservation in Focus” was recently held in Cardiff, Wales’ vibrant capital city, to consider the broad theme of UK Conservation – past, present and future. The conference aimed to:
- Advance and share knowledge about conservation issues in and beyond Icon’s members.
- To have an enjoyable conference where people have time to talk and network
- To leave Icon stronger as an organisation
The first full day of the conference consisted of a one day plenary session and focused on the two themes – ‘evidence based decision-making in conservation’ and ‘a sustainable future for UK conservation’. Highlights of the first day included an argument from Andy Calver (St. Albans Museum Service) for the use of buffering agents to control environmental conditions rather than large-scale air-conditioning systems. There was also feedback on the success of the recent ‘Conservation in Focus’ exhibition at the British Museum. I saw the exhibition in September 2008 and thought it was a brilliant concept. The display showcased the conservation of objects and allowed visitors the opportunity to meet conservators and ask them questions whilst they worked. The outcome of the exhibition seemed mostly positive allowing the conservation department to have a much greater web presence. Increased interest has led to a number of videos and pod casts of conservation work to be uploaded.
The second day provided an opportunity for the Icon groups to host specialist half day seminars. I attended the conservation science and care of collections group sessions in the morning and afternoon, highlights of which included an update on Oddy materials testing at the British Museum from Julie Phippard. The BM feels that it has a responsibility to share results of material testing and as such will publish all known results in an online database which will clearly state whether materials are safe for use within museums and archives.
The organisers of the conference had also gone to the length of creating a Facebook page for the conference (CF10: are you going? (http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=77317902593&ref=ts). I found this incredibly useful as it allowed me to easily ask any questions about conference organisation and provided me with regular updates or news of last-minute changes.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. It offered a perfect opportunity to chat with colleagues and a number of interesting papers were presented. The conference organisers made a particular effort to include evening social events in the main conference attendance cost so that all delegates could attend, creating even more networking opportunities. I eagerly look forward to the next conference which will hopefully have the same friendly atmosphere and flexible theme.
The full conference programme can be found online at http://www.icon.org.uk/images/stories/cf10_programme-110310.pdf
– From Jennifer Varallo (firstname.lastname@example.org)