Welcome to the Innovative Conservatoire

About ICON

We are ICON

ICON, or the Innovative Conservatoire, is an international collaboration to stimulate knowledge exchange, innovation and reflective practice in Conservatoires.


For general enquiries please click here to email us.


Become a member

If you are interested in becoming part of the ICON project or to request further infomation please click here to email us.

From ICON Members

‘The ICON seminars are an excellent place to meet colleagues from different institutions, to discuss and share experience and knowledge and foremost to make music together - to improvise. These collective creative events certainly help participants unpack key seminar themes and to explore deeper meaning’

Anto Pett
Estonian Academy of Music & Theatre



The Innovative Conservatoire is an international collaboration chaired by the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, bringing teachers from music conservatoires together to share and explore practice, reflect, research and innovate.

The Innovative Conservatoire uses reflective practice and action research to address the challenges of development at the heart of conservatoire education, and to position creative and performing artists’ practice more centrally within the global knowledge economy.

First initiated in 2006, with support from the Polifonia Project of the European Association of Conservatoires (AEC) the project centres on tailor-made professional development for conservatoire teachers, focused on bi-annual residential seminars, designed to stimulate knowledge exchange and collaborative reflective practice. The project enables teachers from over 25 conservatoires worldwide to engage with core values, change and innovation in the heart of the process of teaching and learning, to articulate professional knowledge, and to become key players in the growing international community of practice-based inquiry.

Seminar themes include:
Improvisation, communication and innovation
Voices of the artist in society
Effective one-to-one, small group and masterclass teaching
Practising, health and well-being
The role of coaching/mentoring
Assessment and feedback

The seminar formats differ significantly from conventional conferences/seminars, with themes explored through participants own artistic practice, through improvisation and through a number of innovative and creative working methods.

Residential seminars are held  every May and October with 30 – 50 participants from across Europe and Australia. The seminars, each centred on a particular theme, are directed by Professor Helena Gaunt from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, UK and Bart van Rosmalen from HKU Utrecht, Netherlands, along with an ‘inner team’ of around 10 colleagues from Europe and Australia. Smaller Spin-off ICON events are also held at institutions across the globe.