Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Conservation principles and ethics

Explore the principles and ethics governing the management of the historic built environment.



Our Advanced Diploma prospectus contains information about all our short courses:

Download our prospectus


3 weeks


24 September - 22 October 2019

Study time

Taught:4 days


As a stand-alone short course:£330


Looking for a related qualification? Learn about our Accredited Diploma that can be taken part-time or full time.

Explore Diploma Course
New Lanark World Heritage Site


Study the concept of cultural significance and the evolution of the heritage movement in Scotland. Explore the emergence of shared conservation philosophies during the Age of Enlightenment, the establishment of international conventions and charters during the 20th century, and the developments still taking place today.

What you will learn

Learn how to determine the value of a traditional building, the concept of authenticity, the appropriate level of intervention, and the value of documentation. Get to grips with the principal theories of Geddes, Morris and Ruskin, and the influence of formative organisations including National Trusts, Royal Commissions, and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

This course will demonstrate how current conservation principles and ethics should act as the framework for pragmatic decision-making in the management of the historic environment today.

Topics covered

  • Antiquarianism and the emergence of a conservation ethic
  • National and international organisations
  • National and international charters
  • Establishment of common principles
  • Conservation in postwar Scotland
  • Degrees of intervention
  • Understanding significance
  • Conservation in Scotland today
  • Conservation in wider context
  • Balancing theory and practice

Course content

Short courses offer the opportunity to learn about building conservation through lectures, workshops and site visits. 

Classes, lectures and presentations

Students benefit from attending classes and lectures taught by national and international experts. Forthcoming lectures are to be confirmed.

Previous speakers have included:

Potential site visits

Students may have the opportunity to participate in site visits; these vary from one year to another. Previous site visits for this course have included:


Although our short courses are not formally assessed, students will be awarded a certificate upon successfully completing this course.

A formal qualification can be obtained by studying our Advanced Professional Diploma on Technical Building Conservation.

What our students say