In spring 2003, the GCI collaborated with the Centre for Sustainable Heritage, University College London, on an advanced course entitled Historic Buildings, Collections, and Sites: Sustainable Strategies for Conservation, Management, and Use. It was designed for mid- to senior-level professionals with responsibility for the care of the movable or immovable cultural heritage.

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The course took place in two phases. During the first phase—April 1 to May 30—participants completed readings and assignments while at their home institutions. This work provided a foundation for the workshop phase of the course, which took place at University College London from June 16 to 27, 2003. Teachers were affiliated with the Centre for Sustainable Heritage and the Faculty of the Built Environment (The Bartlett), as well as with other schools and institutes of University College London. In addition, a guest instructor from the United States rounded out the teaching team.

The aim of the course was to equip participants with current scientific, technical, and practical information on the preservation of cultural heritage and to stimulate thought and discourse on the challenges and opportunities available to conservation professionals. The course considered how a variety of factors may affect the integrity of materials used for both the built heritage and for collections, noting the interrelationships that may exist when materials are used in composites or in juxtaposition, as in the case of museum collections and buildings. The course also presented monitoring and diagnostic strategies to meet different objectives, and it explored conservation and management approaches for various types of materials, contexts, and resources.

The course emphasized an understanding of the range of issues that often factor into decisions relating to conservation, management, and use of heritage; it also covered the means of identifying effective working strategies and effective partnerships with other professionals and with the public. An important aspect of the course was consideration, from various vantage points, of the sustainability of measures taken on behalf of heritage. Throughout the course, teaching strategies emphasized problem solving, interdisciplinarity, and cross-fertilization of ideas among professionals working with movable and immovable cultural property.