Part of Historic Environment Scotland

What are you doing this summer?

Why not start your career in conservation with our building conservation summer school.


5 days (or select individual days to attend)


Monday 3 - Friday 7 June 2019


Full week:£450

Per day (pick your day/s):£100

10% discount for Historic Scotland members

Buy tickets

Buy a ticket for the full week, or choose a day that suits you.

Buy tickets


Find out what's happening over the 5 days with our programme.


This summer school is the ultimate introduction to building conservation; it will take place at the Engine Shed in Stirling, Scotland's first building conservation centre. 

This is your unique opportunity to experience talks, theory, hands-on activities and field trips in one week.

If one particular day catches your eye, or you can't commit to the full week, choose the day(s) that suits you.

What will I learn?

Learn the latest techniques on caring for traditional buildings from top conservation experts. 

Explore how materials like stone, lime and metal work together to create the buildings around us – and gain insights into how to ensure their long life.

You'll learn from Historic Environment Scotland conservation professionals, as well as guest speakers to:

  • explore everything from traditional skills to modern technology including digital documentation
  • try your hand at stonemasonry and lime mortar at practical workshops
  • see pioneering conservation projects in action at historic places on field trips
  • discover the effects of climate change on our heritage
  • network with Scotland’s leading conservation experts

Who's it for?

Our building conservation summer school is for everyone with an interest in building conservation including:

  • students
  • professionals
  • homeowners

Do I need experience?

No background or experience is needed, just bring enthusiasm and an interest to learn.

Student and graduate bursaries

Have you completed your 3rd year of studies or are you a recent graduate from a building related course?

If so, you may be able to apply for a bursary to attend our Conservation Summer School 2019.

To apply, send us a CV and covering letter, letting us know how the course will benefit you and what you hope to gain from it.

Please send applications to by Wednesday 1 May.

Our 2019 programme

Explore each tab below and learn more about our exciting programme this year. You can either choose to attend the full week or select individual days to attend.

Please note our programme is subject to change. We will issue a final programme one week in advance.

Day 1

Conservation 101

Monday 3 June 2019

Learn about the founding principles of building conservation and explore the ethics and challenges conservators face today.

Visit Doune Castle, a medieval stronghold near the village of Doune and the filming location of Outlander, to hear about conservation dilemmas and opportunities at this historic site.

Registration, tea and coffee


Welcome: What, why and how we conserve


Dorothy Hoskins, Historic Environment Scotland

Scottish Buildings: Types, style and materials


Gordon Urquhart, Historic Environment Scotland



Building fabric, function and form


Roger Curtis, Historic Environment Scotland

Conservation principles and ethics


Roger Curtis, Historic Environment Scotland

Challenges of conservation


Dorothy Hoskins, Historic Environment Scotland

Q&A panel




Doune castle visit


Doune Castle has seen a steady rise in popularity following its use as a location on Outlander. Hear from HES experts on the challenges of conserving our historic monuments in the face of increasing visitor numbers and learn about the conservation works taking place there.

Close - Return to Engine Shed


Optional walking tour of Stirling city centre


Walking tour ends


Book Day 1
Day 2

Building blocks: stone and lime

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Explore the building blocks of Scotland’s traditional buildings: stone and lime. Learn about the characteristics of these materials, their decay mechanisms and the challenges we face in conserving them. You’ll also have the chance to get hands on in practical workshops. You'll try craft skills, and gain an appreciation for traditional materials and how they are used in our built heritage.

On this day, we will split into two groups. In the morning, Group 1 will get hands-on with practical workshops, while Group 2 enjoy the below talks. In the afternoon, Group 2 will try craft skills first-hand, while group 1 will join our talks.

Building stone in Scotland: Diversity, history of use and current issues

Ewan Hyslop, Historic Environment Scotland

Building stone decay and repair mechanisms

Ewan Hyslop, Historic Environment Scotland

Introduction to lime

Jessica Hunnisett, Historic Environment Scotland

Mortar analysis

Callum Graham, Historic Environment Scotland

Book Day 2
Day 3

Innovation and exploration

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Hear from our world renowned Science and Digital teams about the various techniques and technologies used to monitor, analyse and conserve traditional buildings today. Learn about digital documentation techniques, non-invasive testing methods, research techniques and specific challenges in building and material conservation.

Non-invasive testing in traditional buildings


Maureen Young, Historic Environment Scotland

3D surveying and digital documentation


James Hepher, Historic Environment Scotland



Science and digital exhibition


Explore the technologies, equipment and techniques our teams use to conserve our built heritage and try them out for yourself!



Exploring materials: Metal


Ali Davey, Historic Environment Scotland

Exploring materials: Timber


Roger Curtis, Historic Environment Scotland

Exploring materials: Brick


Moses Jenkins, Historic Environment Scotland

Site visits - TBC


Close - return to Engine Shed


Book Day 3
Day 4

Conservation in context

Thursday 6 June 2019

Enjoy a fascinating morning of lectures focusing on salvage planning in conservation. Learn from the experts about salvage planning successes and how disasters have been averted. Get a behind-the-scenes look at a celebration of conservation projects, and explore their issues with experts in situ!

Registration, tea and coffee


Climate change risks


David Harkin, Historic Environment Scotland

Importance of salvage planning


Judith Rowett, Historic Environment Scotland







Conservation success story


Site visit: Falkland Estate

Falkland nestles between the two Lomond Hills in the Howe of Fife. It is most well-known for Falkland Palace. A visit to the Falkland estate will demonstrate the links between outstanding conservation work and developing skills and community engagement.

Return to Engine Shed


Social reception




Book Day 4
Day 5

Sustainability and vernacular materials

Friday 7 June 2019

Understand the risks climate change poses to our built heritage. Explore what we can do to protect and adapt buildings and make them more sustainable.

Investigate vernacular architecture and building traditions, and see them in action for yourself with a variety of demonstrations from experts who are keeping these traditions alive!

Registration, tea and coffee


Introduction to vernacular materials


Simon Green, Historic Environment Scotland

Earth buildings in Scotland: construction and conservation


Becky Little, Rebearth



Vernacular architecture and traditions


Jessica Hunnisett, Historic Environment Scotland

Energy efficiency in traditional buildings


Moses Jenkins, Historic Environment Scotland



Vernacular demonstrations


Reflection and close


Dorothy Hoskins, Historic Environment Scotland



Book day 5


  • Gain exclusive access to on-going conservation projects in action at historic sites like Stirling Castle and Dunkeld Cathedral
  • Enjoy over 20 lectures from leading experts on the traditional skills that built Scotland
  • Explore heritage on behind-the-scenes visits and tours of once forgotten properties like Bannockburn House
  • Practical activities like stonemasonry, lime plaster and earth building
  • Learn about digital innovation and see how cutting edge technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and 3D printing are transforming conservation

What our students say