UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


UCL ISH March Guest Lecture 'Conservation and Growth – companions or competitors'

15 March 2018, 5:45 pm–8:00 pm

©National Trust Images: 'Children playing in National Trust garden'

On Thursday 15 March, UCL ISH will be hosting a Guest Lecture to be delivered by Katy Lithgow, Head Conservator, National Trust.

Event Information

Open to





UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


G01, Central House, University College London, 14 Upper Woburn Place, WC1H 0NN


In a career lasting nearly 30 years working with collections and historic interiors in the care of the National Trust, Katy Lithgow, now Head Conservator, has experienced the theories and realities of access to heritage.

In this presentation Katy will consider conservation’s role in enabling heritage to benefit society today, whilst being mindful of the rights of future generations. These issues are as live now as they have ever been with increasing numbers of visitors to heritage sites globally, let alone National Trust sites, competition for places in which to live, and increasing expectations from audiences and those funding the care of heritage.

Through a number of case studies, Katy will reflect upon the ways in which conservation and science can help manage potential conflict; whether a triple bottom line approach is really achievable; the skill sets required of present and future professional conservators in providing this benefit; and whether there are any limits or if these are just fictions that we tell ourselves in order to deal with the next day’s challenges with some confidence.

Is it still possible for conservation to lead the way in a society where change is good and more is better?


Katy Lithgow has a BA Hons in Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Art from Cambridge, and the Postgraduate Diploma in Wall Paintings Conservation from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, where she taught following an internship at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

She joined the National Trust in 1991 as a preventive conservator, specializing in storage and protecting collections during building works. In 1995 she became the Trust’s Wall Painting Conservation Adviser and in 2002 Conservation Advisers Manager, before being appointed Head Conservator in 2005.

Katy has published and lectured on wall painting conservation, preventive conservation, conservation management, interpretation in conservation, heritage science and sustainability. She is an Accredited Conservator-Restorer (ACR), a Fellow of the International Institute of Conservation (FIIC), Chair of the PACR scheme’s Accreditation Committee, and a Trustee of the National Heritage Science Forum.


©National Trust Images: 'Children playing in National Trust garden'