Special Interest Communities

Discuss Special Interest topics - or begin your own community group

The IIC Community platform is home to our Special Interest Communities - where you can talk in depth about specialist topics or emerging trends in conservation.

To gain full access to the IIC Community platform you will need to be a member of IIC.

The site is at https://iiconservation-community.org/ If you are a member and have not received instructions for first login, please contact iic@iiconservation.org.  You can join IIC as a member, we will then send you the link to set up an account.

Getting started will only take only a few minutes - then explore topics, follow colleagues and join a conversation among conservators from New York to Beijing.

We have four themes:

Authenticity & Ethics

Led by IIC Fellows Jonathan Ashley-Smith (focusing on ethics) and David Scott (authenticity) who will explore the current state of debate in the profession. They will also ask questions such as how we make judgments when forced to choose between preserving original material and the traditional appearance of objects.

Following the inaugural online symposium in 2020, Conservation and Philosophy: Intersections and Interactions, you can read the papers published online in the  special issue of Studies in Conservation in early 2022 here. We are hoping to make this a triennial event with support of the special interest community.

You can also take part in follow on events for students, early career professionals as well as individual members and Fellows during 2024 linked to this theme, including a series of Socratic Dialogues hosted by IIC Fellow - Bill Wei , by logging into the IIC Community platform.

Sustainability & Climate Action

The IIC Special Interest Community for Sustainability, championed by IIC's Executive Director, Sarah Stannage and IIC's Regional Programme Manager, Marina Herriges, will be organising a series of meetings,  webinars and initiatives with the help of our friends within the sector. For 2024 IIC is supporting a Net Zero pilot programme to promote positive change within the sector. 

The programme will engage IIC members and participants with discussion points that aim to inspire and lead change,  exploring solutions and ideas for how to move the profession forward in a sustainable way. 

Further details on how to take part and contribute can be found here. 


Notable figures from the profession including IIC Fellows Joelle Wickens and Debra Hess Norris from the University of Delaware,  lecturer and IIC President Emeritus Sarah Staniforth, will be sharing insights and encouraging discussions with members on leadership. The community will explore changing ideas about what leadership looks like in the 21st century.

We are encouraging conservators and cultural heritage professionals to participate in an International Leadership Mentoring programme, supported by IIC Fellows and leaders from the profession. Details on how to apply can be found here, the programme is open to IIC members only at this stage. 

IIC also launched a new online open access collection in partnership with Routledge F1000 for professionals to contribute thought leadership papers as well as opinion pieces and essays focused on conservation and leaders. 

A new leadership and conservation global leadership programme, Adapt: conservation and leadership during a time of change, was launched at the IIC Wellington Congress in 2022 and there are plans for a follow up programme to support emerging leaders as part of the IIC Lima Congress in 2024. The programme is kindly funded by the Getty Foundation.

Online resources, tooklits and focused topics on Leadership, from authentic leadership to leading with impact are available on the IIC Community platform.  

Conservation Data & Documentation

Like every area of life, conservation is being transformed by the digital world and the insights of Big Data. At the same time, far too much knowledge is fragmented, inaccessible in institutions across the world. IIC Fellow and Reader in Documentation, Athanasios Velios  from the University of the Arts London, will be co-leading a discussion with Kristen St.John of Stanford University, on how we can use data more effectively to the benefit of our projects and our profession.

Further information including a engagement and consultation for a new policy document in 2021 undertaken at IIC's Edinburgh Congress Online, as part of the Linked Conservation Data project funded by AHRC,  with a final policy document launched in 2022. Further information can be found here  on the IIC Community platform.

A responsive approach, led by members' interests and needs

These groups will be shaped over time by members' changing interests and emerging new issues. If you have an idea for a Special Interest Community and would like to lead, either alone or with another member, you can submit a proposal to IIC at iic@iiconservation.org .  We are really keen that our Regional Groups and members from band 3 and 4 countries are able to access and engage with our SICs.

We welcome short proposals (less than 500 words) for new SICs from any IIC member. A member may wish to take the lead in proposing a specialist theme and set up the community but then seek support from other members to help co-ordinate any proposed activities. 

  • SICs are open to all members of IIC who want to develop their knowledge and expertise and who can contribute to the interest area;
  • Communities can also invite non-members and representatives of other organisations to take part in some of its activities;
  • SICs can be time limited – in fact we recognise that some SICs may wish to exist for less than 6 months.
  • We encourage SICs to deliver meaningful outputs and outcomes, this could be by contributing articles that promote innovation or best practice to feature within IIC’s publications, including our digital bi-monthly publication News in Conservation.

Proposals should be submitted to iic@iiconservation.org and will be considered by IIC’s Membership Committee*.

*IIC will review SICs after a year and will also consider whether small amounts of funding can be made available to support SIC events and activities in the future. Funding would be made available via a direct application to IIC. Further information will be made available in due course.


You can also contact us at iic@iiconservation.org for further information.