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  • Conservation conversations (Weekly blog, 10 June 2018)

    Posted on June 10, 2018
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General

    Every now and then it feels worth doing an ‘update’ blog. Just to give an impression of the variety of activity at the INTO Secretariat.

    Conservation conversation

    So this week began with an early meeting with Ben Cowell, Director of the UK’s Historic Houses and Irena Edwards, Chairman of the Czech National Trust Abroad. I had connected them with a view to Ben speaking at the CNTA event later this month. And this meeting was to fine tune plans for the evening.  The conversation will be about the role of the state in heritage protection.  You may remember Ben from our Cambridge ICNT as he was the Regional Director then. He will bring his experience therefore in the government (having worked in our Culture Department), NGO and private sector to the debate. Can’t wait!

    UNESCO World Heritage town of Telc

    From there, I went straight to the NTEWNI Government Affairs and Advocacy Team Away Day. It was good to check in and brief them on our forthcoming EU project, which has a strong policy angle. It was also interesting to be part of the team discussion about communication techniques and networking with stakeholders. Furthermore, conversations in the margins were equally helpful regarding COP, the SDGs project as well as INNOCASTLE.

    At lunch, I caught up with Joe Watson, NTEWNI Creative Director for London. Joe is keen to connect with other Trusts active in urban areas. We agreed to start with New York and I hope to make those links when I am there in a few weeks.

    INTO Trustees Meeting

    The following day started with a long call with Justin Albert, the NTEWNI’s INTO Trustee, about our important forthcoming board meeting.  Then a call with a researcher in Italy who wants me to write a chapter for a book about the history of the National Trust movement.  I’m only too delighted, particularly now I know the deadline is December!  The last notable conversation of the day was with Hilary McGrady, the NTEWNI Director-General. I updated her on our discussions with the Helen Hamlyn Trust and we also talked about the Trustee meeting in New York. It really does feel like everything is aligning at the moment.

    Overseas visitors

    This week I have been trying to set up visits for the Director of the Nordic Museum in Sweden.  An Italian group who want to undertake a stage in the UK.  And an outward visit to Spain to speak about the National Trust model. It’s nothing if not varied!

    On Wednesday I popped in to the NTEWNI shop near me to buy gifts for a visiting group the following day. I was looking for something from the Winchester City Mill‘s 20% local range and was not disappointed.  The group was from one of the Japanese National Trusts (Kiritappu Wetland and Julie Thompson and I met them in Swindon on Thursday.  They were particularly interested in wetland management and working with volunteers.  It was an interesting and wide-ranging conversation which will hopefully result in them joining INTO.

    Kiritappu Wetland National Trust

    On Friday, I was back in London to meet Tom Cassidy, Vice President for Government Relations and Policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  He was travelling with his wife Joy Oakes of the National Parks Conservation Association and we were joined by Brenda Barrett of US/ ICOMOS and Rick Hebditch, NTEWNI Director of Government Affairs.   We shared a wide variety of insights, particularly about World Heritage, and plan to stay in touch in the future.

    And in the meantime …

    In the between times, I have been chasing paperwork to enable us to open a new bank account for our new organisational structure; preparing thoughts, writing papers and arranging logistics for the forthcoming Trustee meeting in New York; following up funding applications;  preparing for our Secretariat meeting on 18 June; chasing 360 feedback for my coaching; encouraging people to attend the CNTA event; working on a reciprocal visiting query from Malta; liaising with a new volunteer who will be reviewing the INTO Directory;  offering advice to the Swedish General Heritage Fund on the legal implications of donating property; responding to an enquiry for INTO membership from Indonesia; following up with a German group interested in leaving their gardens to a ‘National Trust’; feeding back thoughts on the Bermuda ICNT programme; finding time to chat with Nadia Hardie, the new CEO of the Cayman Islands National Trust; responding to enquiries about our working holidays programme – what a week!

    Thanks for reading!


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