We held our biennial conference, the International Conference of National Trusts (ICNT) in Cambridge from 7-11 September 2015, kindly co-hosted by the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (NTEWNI). With the theme, Common threads; Different patterns, the 16th ICNT set out to explore the question ‘what is the role and purpose of the National Trust movement in the 21st Century?
“One-Hundred and twenty years after the establishment of the National Trust, the movement returns to the UK to draw on experience and lessons not only from our work here, but from across the world, and to develop new strategies and tools to combat the forces of globalisation, economic volatility and development that we face in the 21st Century.” Ben Cowell, Director of the East of England, National Trust
This was the first time the Trusts of the world had met in England since 1986 and things have changed a lot over the past 30 years, including the establishment of INTO.
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.
Participation at ICNT offers vital access to information, experience and resources enabling delegates to bring back new learning, which can be transformational for their organisation and country. Feedback has shown that the ICNT helps Trusts (particularly the far flung and burgeoning ones) to feel part of an international movement and provides the opportunity to build partnerships with other Trusts.
Thanks are due to our sponsors, especially those who enabled attendance from such a wide range of countries, including American Express, the Helen Hamlyn Trust and the Headley Trust.
The ICNT has been bringing together the National Trusts of the world since the 1970s and is very much at the heart of our movement but it is not the only way for our members to collaborate.
A more detailed report can be found here.