The International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) held its biennial conference in Cambridge, UK, from 7-11 September 2015, co-hosted by the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
With the theme, Common threads; Different patterns, the 16th International Conference of National Trusts (ICNT) set out to explore the question ‘what is the role and purpose of the National Trust movement in the 21st Century?’.
INTO’s role is to make the National Trust movement greater than the sum of its parts by providing a global focal point through which the movement, from every corner of the earth, comes together and works together. The ICNT provides the space for this to happen in real time and it was wonderful to see so many of INTO’s 65 member organisations and other delegates from across the world in Cambridge last week. Thanks are due to our sponsors, especially those who have enabled attendance from such a wide range of countries, including American Express, the Helen Hamlyn Trust and the Headley Trust.
Delegates from more than 70 countries including Australia, the United States, Canada, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Bermuda, Indonesia, Slovenia, Korea, China and Japan arrived in Cambridge for the conference with events held at King’s College and West Road Concert Hall before heading out for workshops held at National Trust properties Wimpole Hall, Anglesey Abbey, Wicken Fen, Theatre Royal and Ickworth.
Focused on understanding the threats to our global heritage, and sharing new strategies to counter these in the future, the conference was a perfect opportunity for the different countries to come together and recognise that whilst each organisation is different, they face shared challenges and opportunities such as increasing pressure of land and landscapes, economic volatility and staying relevant in an ever-changing society.
The week began with the INTO Congress on Monday 7 September, during which Fiona Reynolds was elected the new Chairman of INTO, succeeding Simon Molesworth, who has led the organisation for the last ten years. New Executive Committee members and officers were also elected – there is a full list here. The conference then officially opened with an address from Helen Ghosh and a video welcome from HRH The Prince of Wales.
Environmentalist Jonathan Porritt gave the keynote address for the day and delegates took part in first day debates and lectures before spending the evening in the surroundings of Kings College, Cambridge for a drinks reception together with talks from the National Trust Chairman Tim Parker and Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance.
The rest of the week saw them travel to National Trust places around Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, with property and regional staff and volunteers on hand to welcome them and act as ‘conference-makers’ as well as leading workshops and discussion groups. These sessions provided delegates with the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of their work and share expertise in the three themes of the conference: growing the movement (the business of heritage conservation – how to get better at fundraising, volunteer management, membership development); in owning and managing land and landscape and how to ensure that heritage remains relevant.
Amongst the discussions there was time for some fun and traditional culture with croquet on the lawn and Morris dancers at Ickworth whilst a barn dance got everyone up and dancing for the final night party at Wimpole Home Farm.
Closing the conference, delegates responded positively to a speech from journalist George Monbiot, who challenged us all to interrogate the conspiracy of silences that somehow prevent action in the present day.
From the extraction of fossil fuels, the rapid erosion of soils, the treatment of farm animals and the rate of species decline there was strong food for thought and George ended by asking the assembled National Trusts of the world to ‘ask how future generations might judge you, and live according to what they might ask of you, not just according to what the present demands’. Full text here.
Finally, the conference ended with a beautiful performance of Balinese dancing, as a handover to the next International Conference, which takes place in Indonesia in 2017.
There is a full summary of the 2015 Conference here.
For the latest INTO posts about the conference click on the titles of those listed below:
ICNT 16 Videos are now available on-lineMany of the inspiring presentations at ICNT 16 in Cambridge were recorded and we are excited to have them now posted on YouTube. To watch these click on the links below.
Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chairman, INTO
Barbara Erickson, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Trustees of Reservations
Tim McClimon, President of the American Express Foundation
Natalie Bull, Chief ...
Anika Molesworth’s Blog from ICNT16Anika Molesworth, the Manager of the INTO Farms program attended ICNT16 in Cambridge and provided our members with a daily report. These posts are on the INTO Farms website, but we know that all our members will find them fascinating. To view Anika’s Blog FOLLOW THIS LINK.
Common Threads; Different Patterns
Cambridge 2015: Guest blog from David Brown, executive vice president and chief preservation officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, USA
What do magnificent English country estates, the intangible heritage of Uganda, Canadian lighthouses, Australian ranches, the historic center of Shanghai, nature preserves in the Caribbean, Balinese traditional dance, Texas courthouses, and India’s Mehrangarh Fort in ...
Catherine Leonard appointed INTO Secretary GeneralOn September 11th at the close of the 16th International Conference of National Trusts, Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chair of INTO announced that Catherine Leonard had been appointed as the first Secretary General of INTO.
Catherine Leonard has served as the Head of the INTO Secretariat for 9 years.
Dame Reynolds told the conference attendees that the time ...
Full programme for 16th International Conference of National Trusts published
INTO, the International National Trusts Organisation together with co-hosts, the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has published the full programme for the 16th International Conference of National Trusts.
The International Conference of National Trusts, taking place from 7th – 11th September 2015 at the University of Cambridge and surrounding National Trust properties, will ...
INTO Congress Papers Available on-lineIn preparation for the INTO Congress to be held in Cambridge on September 7th, 2015 the following papers for delegates are now available:
INTO Nomination Form for Executive Committee 2015 v2
INTO By-law No 2 re Tenure of Office bearers 11 06 2015
INTO By-law No 1 re Candidates for election to Executive 11 06 2015
Mémoires of an East Anglian Land Agent, by Oliver Maurice, Hon Director INTOFor those coming to ICNT 16 in Cambridge I thought it might be of interest to have a little background from my personal experience of managing some of the NT properties that we will be visiting as part of the Conference itself and also, for those coming early or staying on afterwards, other NT properties ...
A Spirit as Rare as the Rains: Creating a Contemporary Paradigm for Cultural IdentityWe are all absolutely delighted that Maharaja Gaj Singh, Managing Trustee of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust in Jodhpur, will be giving a keynote address at the International Conference of National Trusts on 7 September. It is nearly five years since my visit to Mehrangarh and I look forward to hearing how things have developed since then.
I had the honour of meeting ...
800 years ago today (Monday 15 June 2015) King John sealed Magna Carta at RunnymedeToday Runnymede meadows are looked after by the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but they were very nearly lost to development in the 1920s, only saved by the generosity of the Fairhavens, a wealthy Anglo-American family who recognised Runnymede’s significance and its transatlantic connections. They went on to bequeath Anglesey Abbey to ...