Growing pains: the development of a conservation profession in the UK

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Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Henderson, Jane; Dollery, Diane;


Tradition and innovation: advances in conservation: contributions to the Melbourne Congress, 10-14 October 2000, p.88-91 (2000)


conservators, professional standards, UK


In developing from craftspeople to professionals, individual conservators have seen their intellectual and manual skills evolve in many specialist fields. However, because many conservators define themselves primarily by their specialisms, defining conservation as a unified profession is problematic. This in turn restricts the ability of the profession to influence the wider world. Recent events in the UK, such as the development of a professional accreditation scheme, have returned the focus to the standards and core functions of conservation. By examining the defining characteristics of "professions" and analyzing the activities of conservation bodies, this report considers what is required to develop fully fledged professional bodies for conservation. A case study is used to illustrate how cooperative initiatives focused on clearly articulated professional goals are the most efficient way to develop the profession, and that attempts to pursue conservation through a federation of material specialisms hold it back.