Local tours aren’t usually the highlight of a conference, but for the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), they’re an essential — and beloved — part of the program. At its 2017 Annual International Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, this past June, 7–11, SAH offered a staggering 26 local tours over the course of the five-day meeting. With access to seldom-seen areas and specialized tour guides, attendees took in castles, mansions, stained-glass windows, and other notable elements of Scottish architecture.
But it wasn’t only SAH members who had a chance to explore Glasgow’s built environment. In each city they descend on, SAH opens up its tours to the local community — and welcomes them to a half-day conference seminar, too. “I’ve been to loads of conferences where you sort of feel you could be anywhere and rarely see outside the hotel or conference center,” said Marina Moskowitz, Ph.D., a professor of cultural history at the University of Glasgow, who served as a local chair for the conference. “SAH really wants you to get a feel for not just the local buildings, but the community that lives among them.”
“Inviting the public in makes them part of the conversation,” noted Christopher Kirbabas, director of programs for SAH. “It’s one thing for our attendees to look at a building or a space, but when you include the people who live there — and hear how they use it, how they view it — it brings a whole other component to the experience.” Read More