From the President's Desk, "News in Conservation" June-July 2024, Issue 102

Julian Bickersteth, IIC President

(Find translations of this text in the attachment below: German, Portuguese, Spanish Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Italian)

In three months’ time IIC’s 30th Biennial Congress will be staged at the Universidad de Ingenieria & Tecnologia (UTEC) in Lima, Peru from September 23rd to 27th. 

IIC congresses are major events in the conservation calendar. Sometimes they are remembered for their theme, whether it has been works on paper (Baltimore 2002), preventive conservation (Ottawa 1994 and Turin 2018) or public art (Los Angeles 2016). Sometimes they are remembered for their location; Melbourne in 2000 and Istanbul in 2010 stand out for me.  We hope that this year’s Congress will be remembered both for its location in Peru and its theme.

This will be the first time that IIC has held the Congress in South America, and its choice reflects IIC Council’s priority around ensuring it truly represents and supports conservators around the globe. South America has, of course, an incredibly rich and ancient cultural heritage and a long tradition of training conservators to care for it, but IIC feels that we can do more to foster interaction with our fellow South American conservators.  So much can be learnt from sharing our experiences, and we trust that the IIC Lima Congress will address this. We would like it to act as a catalyst to improve IIC’s visibility and relevance to the region, as well as create a lasting legacy of connecting professionals and training programmes globally.

The theme of the Congress is Sustainable Solutions for Conservation: new strategies for new timesSustainability is a priority of IIC Council, both ensuring it is a core part of our professional work and, more broadly, that we are playing our part in the sustainability of our planet.   The field of conservation has not developed equally and equitably around the world, and it is not uncommon for countries with some of the richest heritage to be among the least developed. These discrepancies are widely recognized to have become more extreme with climate change. Sustainable conservation strategies are needed to create safe and more affordable approaches that will increase protection for the world’s heritage and provide greater resilience to future world events and crises.

Check out the papers in the rich conference programme to learn how sustainable solutions are being addressed from Central Asia to South America, and from Nepal to Antarctica whether it relates to archaeological silver or engraved rock sites, the use of bioplastics or the soft wrapping of paintings.

We hope many of you will be able to join us in person, but we recognise the cost of making that happen is not small, and we are all trying to limit the carbon footprint that our travel generates. So as with our last two congresses, this one will take a hybrid format. In addition to the Virtual Live Hubs that have been such a feature of previous congresses, we are also running Local Live Hubs in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Chile, casting a wider net for in-person dialogue and networking.

As with every IIC Congress, we will announce this year’s Keck Award for promoting public understanding and appreciation of the accomplishments of the conservation profession, and the Forbes Prize lecture will be given by Professor Luiz Souza. Luiz has been an outstanding advocate for South American conservation over many years, and you can read a Q&A with him in this issue of NiC.

So do please check out the programme, come to Lima if you are able, or sign up for the Virtual or Local Live Hubs. Both the latter are free for IIC members. 

With my best wishes

Julian Bickersteth AO   

IIC President


(Find translations of this text in the attachment below: German, Portuguese, Spanish Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Italian)