UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


Heritage conservator wins 2012 Plowden Medal

21 May 2012

Professor May Cassar ACR FIIC FRSA FSA has been awarded the Royal Warrant Holder Association’s 2012 Plowden Medal in recognition of her enduring commitment to improving the professional standing of heritage conservation practice nationally and internationally. The medal will be presented at the Royal Warrant Holders Association Lunch in London on 6th June 2012.

The Plowden Medal recognises Professor May Cassar’s role as an accredited conservator who has helped to establish principles and standards that underpin the work of conservators regardless of their particular area of specialism. Using her combined practical, academic and scientific experience, May has successfully transformed thinking and practice in heritage science research, training and policy.

May has been commissioned to write reports on the research needs of cultural heritage for English Heritage (2001), the European Parliament (2002) and the Council of Europe (2009). She organised the 6th European Commission conference on Sustaining Europe’s Cultural Heritage: From Research to Policy (London 2004) which closed with top scientists and heritage experts from more than twenty-six countries across the EU discussing the future of cultural heritage research and publishing a set of recommendations known as the London Declaration. May was appointed Special Adviser to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Inquiry on Science and Heritage (2005-06). This led to the five year strategic research programme on Science and Heritage; May was appointed its Director in 2007.

There is no doubt that May has helped raise the profile of heritage science through her work. She was the first to raise concern among policy makers and heritage managers in the UK, Europe and internationally on the risks to cultural heritage from a changing climate. She was co-investigator in the EU research consortium for the project Global Climate Change Impact on Build Heritage and Cultural Landscapes which was awarded the Europa Nostra Grand Prize for Research (2009).

She is currently Professor of Sustainable Heritage at University College London, the Director of the UCL Centre for Sustainable Heritage.

May’s tireless energy and enthusiasm, combined with her passion and commitment to conservation in its widest sphere, is demonstrated through her active participation in a wide range of related appointments, committees and projects and through her prolific writing. There are few professionals working in conservation today who have not been influenced by her work and her generosity of spirit. May undoubtedly exemplifies all the ideals that Anna Plowden was so passionate about, never compromising on quality or standards.

The gold medal, inaugurated in 1999, is awarded by the Royal Warrant Holders Association in memory of the late Hon. Anna Plowden CBE, the leading conservator who was Vice-President of the Association at the time of her death in 1997. The Medal is presented annually to the individual who has made the most significant recent contribution to the advancement of the conservation profession. It can also be awarded to recognise a lifetime of commitment and achievement.

Further information:

· Professor May Cassar email: m.cassar@ucl.ac.uk

· Shelley-Anne Claircourt (RWHA Press Office): 020 7854 1827/07970 891064 and Email: info@pressoffice.co.uk

Photographs will be taken of Professor May Cassar receiving the Plowden Medal at the Royal Warrant Holders Luncheon on 6th June 2012. Copies will be available from Shelley-Anne Claircourt at info@pressoffice.co.uk or 020.7854 1827.