I’ve just finalised the Secretariat Report for our INTO Board meeting next week. We hold about five of these every year by teleconference and one in person. In addition to the reporting back, it’s a chance to discuss strategic issues and to take the pulse of the broader INTO membership, through their representatives. Such close collaboration with the leaders of the global NT movement is a huge privilege. I’m therefore immensely grateful for the time, energy and wisdom they volunteer to INTO.
We’ve been thinking a lot about governance over the past few months and one of the discussions on Thursday will be about the new constitution. We are still working through the detail but are finally reaching the stage where we’ll be able to share it more widely. The plan is to invite INTO members to review and eventually approve the new arrangements at our Congress in September.
Since the INTO Secretariat is so widely spread, we also tend to meet virtually and had one of our regular catch ups at the beginning of the week.
This of course formed the basis of our Secretariat Report. A digest of activity since the last EC/Board meeting and consequently full of interesting mini-stories: Brief notes of meetings with partner organisations; ways in which we helped INTO members; how we have reached out to potential new members, and so on.
Furthermore, the team are developing ways to provide you with additional support (through information sharing, capacity building, mentoring). We are also exploring how to bring to life other aspects of the ‘Family’ strand of our strategy. This means developing a global heritage offer celebrating what is unique and special about the National Trust approach.
Under ‘Voice’, we are currently planning for World Heritage Day on 18 April and will therefore be in touch very shortly with a request for your collaboration. We are also about to launch the next tranche of the Small Grants Programme, having made two awards from the last round. Watch this space for further details!
Next month, I’m acting as host for an outreach event for SAVE Europe’s Heritage’s latest rescue mission: a 500-year old courthouse in Thuringia. The Hessischer Hof stands at the top of the picturesque German town of Treffurt. A magnificent four-storey timber-framed structure dating from the 1520s, it is however threatened with demolition. SAVE will use the event on 1 March to put forward their plan to rescue, revive and reuse this wonderful place.
I was also delighted to receive the draft programme of the forthcoming workshop at Stowe with the Czech National Heritage Institute (NPU) in April. Stowe House (owned by the Stowe House Preservation Trust) and Stowe Landscape Garden (owned by the National Trust) are twinning with the NPU’s Lednice-Valtice Estate in Southern Moravia. There are great physical similarities between the two sites and the two-day seminar aims to promote learning and cement ties of friendship initiated by Ian Kennaway and INTO members, the Friends of Czech Heritage. (I wrote another blog about that last May when celebrating Capability Brown. Funnily enough, I mentioned Marcus Binney and SAVE in that blog too – for their work to save the Grange at Northington. Everything is connected!)
Further information is available here. Please get in touch with the INTO Secretariat if you’re interested in attending.
We have been invited to contribute to a conference called ‘The Country House Revived?’ taking place in Dublin in June. Topics under discussion include:
It promises to be an interesting few days exploring the future of the European country house. Interestingly, I was very involved in an EU-funded project in back in 2005/2006 called The European Country House in the 21st Century (ECHo) and which involved INTO members (although INTO was not yet in existence!) the National Trust of Slovakia, the NTEWNI, An Taisce the National Trust for Ireland and the Gelderland Trust. (Funnily enough the Czech National Heritage Institute (NPU)’s property Castle Sychrov was also a partner – plus ça change!) But the point is, the two share very similar themes. ECHo was about re-establishing country houses at the heart of their community and finding viable new uses in partnership with local communities. I wonder how much things have moved on in the past twelve or so years? I can’t wait to find out!
In conclusion, partnership and collaboration are vital to all our work. INTO itself is a coalition of heritage organisations. Our strength is as a united family with shared objectives and a shared history. The central team is here to help broker and build relationships amongst our membership and beyond. Therefore any INTO members interested in finding out about any of the above collaborations should please contact the INTO Secretariat.
Thanks for reading!