Sustaining our built environment: review on the state of conservation education and training in Ireland

McMahon, Paul, Bergin, Helena, Dennehy, Jane, Duffy, Fintan and Roche, Nessa (2009) Sustaining our built environment: review on the state of conservation education and training in Ireland. Technical Report. ICOMOS Ireland 22p. [Book]

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Abstract (in English)

This report is a succinct overview of the state of conservation education and training in Ireland and follows on from a precursor issued in 1994. In the years since the issuing of the first report the protection of architectural heritage has experienced a shifting environment. New legislation, increased prominence of the issue of conservation in building procurement, new measures to upgrade expertise within certain professions, the emergence of conservation officers as a new profession, the increased range of NGO engagement and enhanced public interest have created a milieu different from that which prevailed in 1994. The report sets out the major elements of this changing environment. Yet the dominant message of this new report is that much still remains to be done. More seriously, much of what remains to be done touches, at a fundamental level, the practice and potential of conservation here. Informed opinion would recognise that, while research into historical and theoretical dimensions of material heritage conservation has progressed among a range of academic disciplines, equivalent development in technical studies has yet to appear. The potential for the development of research into decay processes and repair across a wide spectrum in the area of materials conservation has still not been exploited, and adequate institutional supports required for such research to be undertaken in this country have yet to emerge. While the range of educational provision has increased, it is, I think, widely felt that the availability throughout the country of an adequate range and level of construction crafts skills remains uncertain. While representatives of the construction industry have expressed satisfaction with availability of craft skills, practitioners encounter a different reality. Shortcomings in knowledge of traditional materials, techniques and methods of repair are still experienced on a regular basis – it is often the case that standards are maintained by a judicious mixture of nationally-based craftspersons’ and imported expertise. And, again at the level of basic provision, the only training programme specifically devoted to training in building recording has ceased to operate. The report calls for a review, sponsored by the State, of the provisions already in place, as a precursor to the development of a comprehensive education and training policy. Policy formulation in any sphere needs to be based on evidence. The core requirement as spelled out in this report is that sound evidence is essential on a range of issues. Well informed as opinions may be, hard information is a prerequisite for considered action. Paradoxically, it may be that the achievements of the past fifteen years themselves obscure the importance of resolving the issues that are outstanding. Perhaps the advances made have created the impression that effective provision for material heritage conservation has been largely put in place. The report indicates that substantive problems remain to be addressed and that focused examination of the field of education and training is required. Comprehensive frameworks are not easily established, but a comprehensive framework for education and training is required if the necessary cooperation and collaboration between agencies and institutions is to occur. Development of such a framework needs to be led by the state. In the interim, organisations such as ICOMOS (which incorporates expetise from many disciplines and from the public and private sectors) can contribute further to this endeavour. A first step might be to focus on contributing to the terms of reference for the enquir hat lies at the core of the recommendations of this report. [Introduction by Pr. Loughlin Kealy]

Item Type: Book (Technical Report)
McMahon, Paul
Bergin, Helena
Dennehy, Jane
Duffy, Fintan
Roche, Nessa
Corporate Authors: ICOMOS Ireland Sub-committee on Education and Training
Languages: English
Keywords: Ireland; reports; architectural education; training of architects; training of craftsmen; training programmes; legislation; recommendations
Subjects: E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 10. Education and training
K.LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES > 03. National/Regional legislations
National Committee: Ireland
Number of Pages: 22
Depositing User: ICOMOS DocCentre
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2023 15:19
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2023 15:19

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