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  • Secretariat News (February – April 2020)

    Posted on April 24, 2020

    Latest news from the INTO Secretariat

    It’s only just over a month ago that the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic.  And since then the world has changed completely.  For many, this has been a terrible and painful time and our hearts go out to our members, supporters and friends affected by the crisis.

    There have also been some amazing stories of hope and opportunities for us to live up to the values of our great National Trust movement however.  Values of compassion, solidarity and connectivity.  Of finding beauty and joy in the simplest things, of learning from others, of finding creative solutions together.

    We continue to meet via social media, webinars and other wonderful technological solutions.  These enable us to support our member organisations, pool experiences and knowledge, and provide one-to-one advice where we can.  We know this is a difficult time for everyone but it has never been more important to have a strong, united INTO family.

    – Catherine, Alex and the Secretariat team

    HighlightsINTO Africa delegates

    The inaugural meeting of the INTO Africa regional group took place in Nairobi in February

    We launched our latest round of TAP-INTO travel grants

    INTO members shared their best #virtualvisit on World Heritage Day

    We supported a TAP-INTO exchange between Rempart in France and the St Helena National Trust

    With the V&A, WMF-UK and INTBAU, we celebrated the Pakistan Heritage Foundation

    INTO Trustees joined BPPI in Indonesia to mark World Heritage Day on 18 April

    We completed planning the Incubator with thanks to our supporters, the Helen Hamlyn Trust, 1772 Foundation and INTO Amicus, Trevor JohnsonOur Trustees learned and shared on their February call (Emily shared CCFU’s TAP-INTO experience)


    ICNT news: We continue to work on plans for our next Conference, due to take place in Antwerp from 19-23 April 2021. The golden thread running through the programme is the importance of collaboration for a sustainable future. The current crisis underlines the importance of working with a variety of different partners.  It also highlights the role of tourism in the financial sustainability of our INTO member organisations.  And lastly, if we are able to meet in person next year, how much sweeter it will be after this lock down?  Our webpages will go live very shortly, so watch this space!

    Reciprocal visiting: We have received 22 signed MOUs and continue to prepare for the launch of our new INTO global heritage pass in 2021.

    Technical Assistance Programme: The current round of TAP-INTO is still open (until 27 April!).  If you would like to to spend time with another INTO member organisation to learn and share expertise, do please submit an application.   Given the current travel restrictions, we will be flexible about when the travel should take place.  But get your project submitted as soon as you can!

    Karin Taylor, Head of Planning at the NTEWNI finished her TAP-INTO placement to the National Trust of Fiji just before the travel bans began.  We are working with Karin on the best way to share all the amazing learning resulting from the project.  Justin Scully had to leave Uganda slightly earlier than planned and we have just received the first draft of his report on a National Trust for Uganda.  Watch this space for further information!

    Working Holidays: It is unlikely that any international working holidays will take place this summer.  However, following our webinar on the subject, we are collaborating with a number of members to develop their offer for future years.  The webinar was a result of a recent TAP-INTO collaboration between Rempart in France and the St Helena National Trust.  Tara was looking to build a longer-term programme of heritage volunteering on St Helena.  And the two organisations explored how that might work at an international scale to benefit global heritage.

    Covid-19 response: The Secretariat has been supporting INTO members in a variety of difference ways.  From Catherine’s weekly updates to member webinars on re-opening or membership issues.  From pooling resources to sharing uplifting social media posts.  You can read more on our dedicated webpage.


    Membership growth: We are delighted to welcome our newest members, the US National Parks Service and the Mehrangarh Museum Trust in India!

    We have unsurprisingly postponed our Incubator Programme until September.  However, we are still expecting many of the original participants to join us then, all being well.  You can read the final programme of the postponed version here – it looks fantastic!

    INTO Africa: We were delighted to be able to support the first face-to-face gathering of the INTO Africa group, outside of our biennial conferences. INTO members and potential future members from across Africa attended a four day programme in Nairobi in February at the National Museum of Kenya. Days one and two were an opportunity for attendees to take part in the Culture Grows programming and get some networking done, thanks to a partnership with the British Council. Days three and four explored themes of common interest for INTO’s African membership.  You can read more about it here.

    Partnerships: Given the current crisis, many decisions on grant applications are being delayed.  However, Alex had a really useful call last week with an influential group of funders where he presented INTO’s work and the needs of our organisations during and coming out of the current pandemic.

    We had to withdraw our application to undertake a project in Russia with the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (NTEWNI).  But we are hopeful of resubmitting again next year.


    Communications: As the NTEWNI has put many of its staff on temporary leave to take advantage of the government’s furlough scheme, we have lost Emma Taylor for the time being. Over the past few months, Emma has given INTO’s social media a new lease of life.  And we actually need her more than ever as so much of what we’re doing at the moment is communications-related!  (See our pages on C-19.)  However, we look forward to her returning once the crisis is over.

    In the meantime, Catherine and Alex are handling INTO comms.  And your response on World Heritage Day was wonderful.  We asked you to share your best virtual visits and you responded.  With beautiful drone-shot footage, online tours and virtual walk-throughs that together show how heritage trusts globally are responding to C-19.  Thank you for your engagement!  There is a lovely quick BuzzFeed-style summary here.

    There is a delay to our new website.  This is because the NTEWNI is generously supporting the work.  And they have paused all their non-critical projects during the current crisis. However, the work is half-completed and we look forward to picking up the project in due course.  In the meantime, we are exploring with our Webmaster, Bill Turner, what we can do to improve the look and feel of our current website.  Watch this space!

    Climate change: As COP26 has been postponed, we are rethinking our plans for Glasgow 2021.  And how we will engage with the issue of climate change in 2020.  Alex has been working with the Climate Heritage Network on a possible joint project, for example.

    One of the encouraging things about the coronavirus pandemic is how quickly people have been able to change their behaviour.  We need to learn from this and build on it in the climate change context.  When people understand the need to make lifestyle changes, they can do it!

    Speaking opportunities: Many of the events we had planned have been postponed. Including the INTO Asia meeting planned for March in Singapore as part of the ‘Inspiring Solutions – Culture in Crisis: Preserving Heritage in a Post-colonial Era’ conference.

    However, Alex did a great job of representing us at the INTO Africa and British Council events in Nairobi in February.   Catherine joined members of THA (The Heritage Alliance) at their postponed Heritage Day.  INTO supported the attendance of the Director of the Saint Helena National Trust.  So it was a great opportunity for her to network with relevant and interesting colleagues too.  Read more here.

    Catherine and Alex joined celebrated Pakistani architect and co-founder of the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, Yasmeen Lari, at a V&A Event. We had hoped to be part of a recent conference with the Foundation and INTBAU Pakistan.  So, it was wonderful to meet Yasmeen and hear more about her work in person.  Particularly what the Foundation is doing to support community-based strategies for preserving cultural heritage.  You can read more here.

    Since then we have had to take our ‘voice’ opportunities online.  Like Catherine’s presentation on ‘visiteering‘ on an Interreg Europe webinar in March.   And the INTO panel ‘Conservationists Solidarity Against COVID-19’ during BPPI (Indonesian Heritage Trust)’s World Heritage Day programme on 18 April.

    Webinars: Speaking of which … we launched our new webinar programme earlier in April.  We are inviting experts from the INTO family to talk about their work. Many of these will be delivered by returning  TAP-INTO grant recipients.  Members will have the opportunity to hear about the exchange of expertise from each project, and ask questions.  You can find out more here.


    Governance: Our 2019 Annual Report and Accounts has been independently examined for approval by the Trustees at their meeting on 29 April. As our Communications Assistant Emma Taylor is on furlough leave, it may be a while before we can share a ‘glossy’ version of the report with you all.  But we will at least have all the numbers and formal elements ready to file with the Charity Commission.

    Membership fees: Our new membership renewal system has worked well this year.  We have given those who have not paid a little longer than we planned, due to the current situation.  But we will be removing those we don’t hear from from our membership roster on 1 May.

    Innocastle: Our work with the Innocastle project continues virtually.  Including an online study visit in May (!) and a mid-term conference in Gelderland in September.

    Coming up

    On 5 May we will hold our second Town Hall session on ‘Re-engaging Historic Sites’ at 12 noon GMT.  Do let us know if you would like to join that conversation.   A summary of the first discussion can be found here.

    We will continue to share your ideas and experiences as we face this crisis together.  From discussions with our members, we learned that you were eager to learn and share communications ideas.  There are two previous blogs with some nice examples on our website: 10 April 2020 and 3 April 2020.

    And don’t forget to put our TAP-INTO webinar on ‘Creating Destinations’ into your diary for 13 June, 3pm GMT.    Last year, the National Trust for Trinidad and Tobago hosted Clea Warner from the National Trust for Scotland as part of a TAP-INTO project.  In this webinar, you’ll hear about creating a destination that people will purposely set out to discover, even if they have to get on a boat to do so. Examples will originate in sites from Scotland’s Highlands to the tropical archipelago of Trinidad and Tobago.

    Catherine’s blogs are available here.

    Find out more about the INTO Amicus supporters programme here.

    Remember, you can now save on hotel bookings and help INTO at the same time with Goodwings!

    The International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) is a non-profit organisation registered as a charity England and Wales (No 1175994). The Secretariat is based at our registered address, 20 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0DH, UK.

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