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16th Triennial Conference in Lisbon

The 16th Triennial Conference was held in Lisbon, Portugal, from 19 to 23 September 2011 with more than 900 delegates from 70 countries in attendance. The Portuguese National Organising Committee (NOC), ICOM-CC’s partner in planning the conference, was a consortium of four organizations: ICOM Portugal, Instituto dos Museus e da Conservação (IMC), Associação Profissional do Conservatodores-Restauradores de Portugal (ARP), and Archeofactu – Arqueologia e Arte, Lda. (a private conservation company). The theme “Cultural Heritage / Cultural Identity: The Role of Conservation” was explored throughout the week.

The conference opened with speeches by a number of Portuguese officials as well as by Julien Anfruns, Director-General of ICOM, and Marie-Claude Corbeil, outgoing Chair of ICOM-CC. During the General Assembly on Monday the Directory Board reported on the Committee’s accomplishments during the preceding triennium and members voted on a number of issues related to the Committee’s by-laws.

The raison d’être of ICOM-CC Triennial Conferences is the presentation of papers selected by the twenty-one Working Group Coordinators to embody the WG’s aims and triennial programmes. A record number of submissions for the Lisbon conference led the Directory Board and Coordinators to accept more than ever before – 214 papers and 62 posters. This necessitated a tighter schedule (presentations of fifteen rather than twenty minutes) and more work in reviewing and editing the Preprints. One of the most important outcomes of ICOM-CC Triennial Conferences is the publication of the papers presented during the WG sessions. The peer-reviewed ICOM-CC Triennial Conference Preprints are among the most respected periodicals in the conservation field, with over 2000 professional papers published to date.

The Wednesday morning plenary session featured four presentations selected by the Coordinators and Directory Board of ICOM-CC as epitomizing the conference theme, and two presentations selected by the NOC describing cultural heritage conservation in Portugal, about which the delegates were given a first-hand view that afternoon through visits to a number of local conservation laboratories, museums, and monuments.

The conference experience was enhanced by a number of social events, including a welcome reception at the Electricity Museum, housed in the renovated early twentieth-century Tejo Power Station, and a concert at the Coliseu dos Recreios in the historic district of Belém. The conference dinner on Tuesday evening, featuring sumptuous food and live music, was held at LXFactory, an arts centre in a converted industrial complex which is one of the most popular cultural centres of Lisbon.

The General Assembly on Friday featured the ICOM-CC Triennial lecture delivered by ICCROM Director-General Mounir Bouchenaki and the presentation of the ICOM-CC Medal to Catheline Périer-D'Ieteren in recognition of her contributions to ICOM-CC and the conservation profession. Finally, the newly elected Directory Board and WG Coordinators were presented to the members and Melbourne, Australia was announced as the venue for ICOM-CC’s 17th Triennial Conference in 2014.

ICOM-CC received much appreciated support from the Getty Conservation Institute for publication of the preprints and from the Getty Foundation to make attendance by a number of delegates from developing countries and Central and Eastern Europe possible. The Preprints CD and Book of Abstracts can be ordered from the publisher.

(A version of this text appeared in ICOM News Vol 64 No.3)

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