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Tru Vue Blog: 4th International IPM Conference 2019 in Stockholm

Dr Christian Baars ACR is Senior Preventive Conservator at National Museum Wales. Christian was awarded a Tru Vue grant to attend “4th International IPM Conference 2019” conference which took place in Stockholm in May this year. 


This international conference, attended by almost 200 delegates from Europe, Asia and North America, brought the conservation sector up to date with the latest developments in Integrated Pest Management. Presentations focussed on theory, standards, methodologies and case studies, but the underlying main themes turned out to be, during discussions on and off stage, the availability of data and communication. Obtaining cooperation with IPM from colleagues appeared to be a problem for many conference delegates. At the same time, it was evident that data collection and analysis of many pest monitoring programmes was ineffective, and that the lack of data currently prevents meaningful prediction of geographical increases in pest risk as a result of climate change and other factors.

cbaars_ipm2019sweden_conference_presentation_1.jpg​​Christian Baars presenting at IPM 2019 in Sweden

I presented research undertaken jointly with Jane Henderson, Cardiff University, which had resulted in the development of a new index for standardisation of pest monitoring data enabling effective comparison of data across collections, rooms and buildings. This new index facilitates meaningful interpretation of data, and communication of information, to fellow staff and internal decision makers. Soon after my return from the conference I received several enquiries from colleagues for further information, and a template of the datasheet including a calculation of the new index is now available for download on the National Museum Wales website.

On the second day of the conference I chaired a discussion about the Biocidal Products Regulations which currently prevent cultural heritage organisations across the European Union to use generated Nitrogen gas for pest treatment. ICOM (the International Council of Museums) have taken the lead role in negotiating with the European Commission on behalf of the European heritage sector, but museums and other organisations are reliant on national governments to achieve the necessary legislative changes. Our discussion at the IPM Conference centred on practical ways in which we, the assembled experts in pest treatments, could support our respective national governments in finding a suitable solution. These efforts are bearing fruit: as a result of UK institutions contacting the relevant UK authority (HSE) in the wake of the debate at the IPM Conference, the HSE has since notified the European Commission that the UK will be seeking a derogation of Nitrogen from the Biocidal Products Regulations – a great success for the sector.

naked_kiwi_tweet_ipm2019sweden_190521.jpg​​Naked Kiwi Tweet at IPM 2019

The conference itself was amazingly well organised by the Swedish colleagues, including the first live streaming of any conference I have attended. This feature was especially popular, with up to 600 people viewing the conference presentations on each day – three times as many as the number of delegates physically present. This allowed people viewing remotely to interact with discussions at the conference using Twitter – certainly something to consider for other conference organisers in order to involve larger audiences at conferences. I myself tweeted throughout the conference from the National Museum Wales Preventive Conservation account (@nmwprevcons) under the hashtag #IPM2019Sweden.


Lead image, Creative Commons

Images 1 and 2, Christian Baars ©


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