"Capability Brown: perception and response in a global context"

An ICOMOS-UK Conference, 9-11 Sept 2016, University of Bath

This is an ICOMOS-UK International Conference in collaboration with the University of Bath, in association with the Garden History Society and the National Trust, and supported by the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes.

9–11 September 2016, University of Bath, England

Contact: admin@icomos-uk.org

The landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716-1783) changed the face of 18th-century England. Yet Brown left no written explanation of his work. Much must be inferred from his surviving landscapes and by seeing his work in the wider context of the naturalistic style that developed in Europe and in countries influenced by Europe.

In 2016 the tercentenary of his birth is being celebrated as an opportunity to reflect on his life, work, style and significance.

This international conference, organised by the ICOMOS-UK Cultural Landscapes and Historic Gardens Committee in collaboration with the University of Bath, will be one of the major events in the Capability Brown Tercentenary year. Internationally renowned researchers and practitioners will present Brown’s work in a global context and explore the ways in which it has been interpreted over the last 250 years.

With partners including the Garden History Society and the National Trust, this conference will be one of the highlights of the first-ever Capability Brown Birthday and Festival, bringing together in a national campaign a huge range of events, openings, exhibitions and publications.

More information coming soon!


Past Events

ICOMOS-UK Annual Christmas Lecture and Reception

Professor Rob van der Laarse:  ‘Heritage, Conflict and the Dynamics of Memory’

Wednesday 03 December 2014 - 6.30pm

The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ

ICOMOS-UK or ICOM UK Members £15.00 / Non-members £18.00 / Students £10.00  
(includes wine and festive refreshments)

The world is increasingly full of conflicts: how do these colour our perceptions of places associated with historical events over decades if not centuries? In the past ten years, interest in the heritage of European regional and ethnic conflicts has grown explosively in relation to collective memory, but also in political debates, heritage tourism, the museum sector, and city branding. The so-called Crimean Treasures collection of Scythian gold, now stateless after the separation of Crimea, is claimed by Ukraine as well as by Moscow and five Crimean museums.

We are pleased to welcome Professor Rob van der Laarse who will discuss how the Balkans and Ukraine demonstrate the transnationalization of ‘memory events’ in present-day Europe. Van der Laarse's research is born from a fascination with cultural power, narratives of representation, and the shadow of the Enlightenment.


Intangible Cultural Heritage in the UK: promoting and safeguarding our diverse living cultures
An ICOMOS-UK Conference

Saturday 20 September 2014

At The Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse West India Quay, London E14 4AL

ICOMOS-UK Members: £65.00 / Non-members: £75.00 (includes light refreshments and sandwich lunch)
Pay in advance online via Paypal or pay by Cheque.

Storytelling, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, and traditional crafts knowledge and skills are a key part of the UK’s traditions and cultural heritage. They have also provided us with a means of living and a way of life, while informing us of our history and shaping our identities.

These intangible cultural practices are not static, like buildings and artefacts—instead they continue to evolve as they are passed down from one generation to the next. This brings with it a risk that some may not survive, raising questions of what we value in our intangible cultural heritage, and whether and how we should take steps to document and safeguard it.

ICOMOS-UK presents the first-ever conference to focus exclusively on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the UK, combining theoretical contexts with practical examples. The primary aim of the conference is to raise awareness about the different types of ICH, both rural and urban, as practised by the UK’s culturally diverse groups of people.

The conference will also explore some of the key issues and challenges relating to the safeguarding and transmission of traditions or living cultural expressions to future generations.

This conference has been organised by the ICOMOS-UK Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee in partnership with the Museum of London Docklands, and is supported by the Royal Anthropological Institute.


ICOMOS-UK Summer Talks Season in the London Festival of Architecture 2014

Thursday 5 June and Wednesday 11 June, The Gallery, 77 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ

6.30pm - 8.30pm

Pay in advance online via Paypal (see below) or pay on the door (CASH or CHEQUE only on the door).

‘Cultural Capital and the Contemporary City: Places and People’

Speakers include: Eric Parry (5 June) and Witherford Watson Mann (11 June)

‘Cultural capital’ is our cultural background, knowledge, and skills that we pass from one generation to another: the way we do things, the way we speak and socialise, and how we dress and how we behave. Buildings and spaces also have a cultural meaning and value to the people that use them. If we can define our cultural capital better, how can contemporary urban design and development strengthen it?

Two summer talks and discussions curated and organised by ICOMOS-UK will explore the idea of cultural capital and our cities today—London, nationally and around the world

Leading architects Eric Parry and Witherford Watson Mann, alongside heritage experts, will seek to answer these questions in two stimulating evening events hosted by Alan Baxter Associates in the Gallery at Cowcross Street, Clerkenwell.

TICKETS: £5 per single lecture for ICOMOS-UK members and students; £7 for non-members
SPECIAL OFFER combined price for both lectures: £8 for ICOMOS-UK members and students; £12 for non-members

(Ticket price includes glass of wine or soft drink.)

These talks are an Associated Project of the London Festival of Architecture 2014. London Festival of Architecture runs from 1 – 30 June: www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org



Annual Christmas Lecture and Reception: Julian Richards: 'Stonehenge  Whose Culture?'

Thursday 12 December 2013, 6.30pm, The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ

The imminent opening of the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre offers an opportunity to reflect on why this monument has become so important in our culture and history. We are delighted to welcome renowned archaeologist, writer, broadcaster and Stonehenge expert Julian Richards to present our Annual Lecture to consider these issues.

Stonehenge is the most important and studied prehistoric site in Europe, yet still remains an archaeological enigma. But it is also an international cultural icon, its stones instantly recognizable, providing inspiration for medieval manuscript illuminators, artists such as Turner and Constable, among others, and generations of writers, photographers and craftsmen. It seems as if everyone has wanted a piece of Stonehenge, literally so in past centuries, and today the question of ‘Stonehenge – whose culture?’ is as passionately argued over as ever before. ‘Heritage’, tourist magnet or living temple?  In 2013 Stonehenge is a place that still inspires passion.



Heritage Conservation and Tourism: Who Benefits? Who Pays?

21 June 2013, University of Brighton

This seminar, run by the ICOMOS-UK Cultural Tourism Committee, looked at the relationship between the conservation of historic environments and tourism in a challenging economic climate.  It was run in association with the Historic Towns Forum and hosted by the University of Brighton. Further details are on the menu at the right hand side of the page.

Ice Age Art and Landscape - ICOMOS-UK Summer Meeting, Creswell Crags

6-7 June 2013

Full details here



Christmas Lecture: Timbuktu Under Threat

Thursday 13 December 2012, 6.30pm - The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ

The 2012 ICOMOS-UK Christmas lecture explored the background behind the recent headlines on the destruction of the Timbuktu tombs that with the three great mosques of Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, recall the city’s golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Professor Kevin MacDonald looked at the long history of Timbuktu, its involvement with the trans-Saharan gold trade, its role as a remarkable centre of learning, and the significant archive of hundreds of thousands of scholarly manuscripts produced between the 13th and 20th centuries. He showed just how much is at stake in terms of the way the city and its immovable and movable heritage contribute to our knowledge of the whole history of West Africa and to the development of scientific, historical and other ideas.

World Heritage for Tomorrow: International Conference to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention

Saturday 1 December 2012 at University College, London

This one day conference jointly organised by ICOMOS-UK, The Open University and University College, London's UCL Centre for Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Studies looked to the future to discuss the role of World Heritage in the coming decades and  reflect on how the UK might contribute to broader international debate on the evolving role of World Heritage. Parts of this conference were filmed by The Open University, and we hope to be able to post edited versions of the sessions online.

Click here for full details of the conference.

The Slate Industry Landscapes of North Wales – Conference and Field Trips, 23 -25 July 2012

Venue: Snowdonia National Park Field Studies Centre, Plas Tan-y-bwlch, Gwynedd, North-West Wales

Organised in collaboration with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) with a reception hosted by Gwynedd Council. This meeting focussed on the spectacular sites and forthcoming nomination of the Slate Industry of Northern Wales for World Heritage status.  During the conference we visited some of the vast quarries, mines and surviving settlements of what were the world’s largest slate quarries, discussed aspects of the management and conservation of such complex industrial sites and landscapes and travelled on the historic Ffestiniog Railway

We were joined by members of the Pan-European Atlanterra Inter-reg  Partnership from France, Portugal and Spain, who gave presentations on slate industries in other parts of Europe, to put the Welsh industry in international context and led a discussion of ‘valorisation’ (gaining heritage value from the industrial heritage), which is a particular interest of this international group.

Working Internationally – The Role of ICOMOS International Scientific Committees

Venue: The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ

The many International Scientific Committees (ISCs) of ICOMOS allow members from around the world to form networks of expertise in specialist areas of cultural heritage. These form the backbone of ICOMOS’ international collaboration and exchange of ideas. These three lectures focussed on three out of the 28 active ISCs:

  • International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH) by Stephen Hughes, TICCIH/ICOMOS expert member (27 February 2012)
  • International Committee on Earthen Architectural Heritage (ISCEAH) by John Hurd, President (29 March 2012)
  • International Polar Heritage Committee (IHPC) by Michael Morrison, UK representative (26 April 2012)

Flyer for seminars on Working Internationally - The Role of ICOMOS International Scientific Committees



Evening Seminars on Working Internationally – April, May, June 2011

In association with the Institute of Archaeology, University College, London

These three seminars looked at the kinds of services that could be offered by UK consultants and practices wanting to work overseas.  It also looked at winning and negotiating contracts, tax and insurance, standards and regulations, specifying and procuring local materials, working with and training local counterparts,  and working, living and travelling abroad.

Flyer for Evening Seminars on Working Internationally 2011

Summer Outing and AGM – 3 June 2011

This was a visit to the World Heritage Site at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and included guided tours, walks and talks, in addition to the ICOMOS-UK Annual General Meeting.

Flyer for the Summer Outing and AGM 2011

Christmas Lecture on the Cultural Heritage of Libya – 15 December 2011

Dr Hafed Walda, Research Fellow at King’s College London, reviewed the cultural heritage of Libya, including its World Heritage sites and the many urban and desert sites that remain unprotected and undesignated. He offered his views on the needs facing Libya to raise awareness of this legacy and put in place structures to sustain their value.

Flyer for Christmas Lecture on Cultural Heritage of Libya



Conference on Conservation Philosophies: Global or Local? – 3-5 June 2010

Organised by the Centre for Conservation Studies, Department of Archaeology, University of York

This conference included presentations on Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Algerian philosophies  of  conservation and heritage, as well as overviews of different aspects of UK cultural and world heritage.

Flyer for Conference on Conservation Philosophies: Global or Local?

Christmas Lecture on Mapping the Silk Roads – 9 December 2010

Tim Williams from the Institute of Archaeology, University College, London talked about the outcomes of a Thematic Study commissioned by ICOMOS to put individual sites on the Silk Roads into context.  This is in relation to a UNESCO-ICOMOS Silk Roads project to support countries along the Silk Roads to identify and conserve potential sites as part of a serial nomination.

Flyer for Christmas Lecture on Mapping the Silk Roads