16 YEARBOOK 2022 CHAIR’S REVIEW FACE-TO-FACE DAVID McDONALD, IHBC CHAIR AS I started writing this year’s review, it dawned on me that this would be the third year in a row that I would be mentioning Covid. In 2020, probably naively, I thought that the worst would be over within a year. Since then our work and business patterns have changed, but not always for the worst. Despite rising cases of Covid in 2022, I think I have reason for optimism about the way forward post-pandemic, though that has to be tempered by concerns about living standards and the war in Ukraine about which IHBC President Mike Brown has commented so eloquently in his Welcome to this yearbook. My optimism is in part because I have been able to get out and attend two face-to-face meetings recently. In March I was able to accept an invitation to The Heritage Alliance’s Heritage Day. We were fortunate to be addressed by Nigel Huddleston MP, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society. He mentioned that the government’s eagerly awaited Heritage Statement would be published shortly, but could not make any commitment to a reduction in VAT on repairs to historic buildings. Apart from enjoying talks from the wide range of speakers, it did feel good to meet colleagues again at a face-to-face event and to catch up on how the pandemic had affected them and their organisations. Networking aside, I am pleased to report that I chaired the IHBC’s first AGM under its new Articles of Association in February. In contrast to the Heritage Day, it was a virtual event, and while I might have regretted not having the opportunity to meet IHBC members in person, I did receive a number of positive comments on how it gave more members the opportunity to attend than previous face-to-face events, and on how well the event had been organised. At the AGM I was able to welcome our newly elected trustees who met in their first board meeting in April. The modernisation of our governance continues, with the baton being passed to a small working group which I chair to progress new regulations and byelaws. It will report to the new board. Amongst other items, I was able to report that despite the pandemic, IHBC’s financial situation had remained strong, thanks in part to savings made by our national office. I was also able to report on our second successful virtual annual school hosted by our South East branch. As with the AGM, it was noticeable that we had a wider geographical spread of delegates than we might have had in the past. Another online success over the year has been setting up an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) entitled Conservation, Places and People. Given the constraints of the pandemic, progress has been slow but steady. It has a good spread of MPs and peers and has finished its first inquiry on the value of conservation under its current Chair, James Grundy, MP for Leigh. I’m pleased to say that he and I will be meeting in the near future to discuss how the IHBC can continue to work with the group. The IHBC’s contribution to COP26 in Glasgow was also a good example of using virtual technology to our advantage. As well as having an online ‘helpdesk’, we were able to facilitate live discussions and present some fascinating prerecorded interviews. While this all worked well, Covid restrictions limited our ability to be there in person and to meet with others. Continuing the theme of climate change, the Association for the Study and Conservation of Historic Buildings held its Annual Conference in London in April 2022, which was the second event I attended in person. Its title was ‘Lessons from Built Heritage in the Climate Emergency’ and topics ranged from research into the thermal properties of older buildings to human behaviour and the need for different economic models to deal with climate change. The whole event was recorded and will be available via ASCHB’s website. The conference gave me the opportunity to reflect on this year’s IHBC Annual School in Aberdeen, not only for its location, ‘On the Edge’, but as a city which, during the second half of the 20th century has been associated with the oil industry. It is now in a position to consider life beyond a dependency on fossil fuels and even to lead the way. Unlike our last two Annual Schools, this will be a hybrid model, with the opportunity for delegates to meet in person and online. While I am looking forward to meeting our members face-to-face again, I hope that our hybrid format will be the best of both worlds, providing exemplary CPD for the heritage sector and a model for future events. David McDonald is the IHBC Chair (chair@ihbc.org.uk) and has been a member since its inception.