ITP 2016 Week 3 – Highlights!

Njeri Gachihi

Past Participant Facilitator

In Week 3 we got to experience more laughter and fun. This was partly to do with the programme but more so with the fact that the participants are now more familiar with London and with their colleagues. As you read these daily entries, you can easily tell that these are not strangers anymore but members of a close knit family of ITP 2016.

“Today I spent my day at Osman Road Storage Centre (ORSC); one of the AOA stores. It felt as if I was at Iziko Museums’ Social History Centre. I retrieved objects for loan preparations and was given a chance to perform conservation checks on objects that came back from other institutions. This is the same thing I do back home; being in that store has made me realise how much I enjoy working with collections. The ITP has given me the eagerness of wanting to fulfill my dream of becoming a curator, and this is the first thing I am going to do when I get back home. I want to show off the knowledge and skills that I have learned in this programme. I also want to use them to build my own career, which means I am going to register for my honours or for a curatorial course, depending on the acceptance of my application.” Ntombovuyo Tywakadi, South Africa – 03/08/2016

“I went for an evening outing with friends watching the jaw-dropping Phantom of the Opera. The show ended at about 11.00 p.m. We will never catch up with the guys with their walking speed. So we walked in the opposite direction and unfortunately, everyone in the group was so unsure of the way back to Schafer House. We stopped at every junction to read the roadmap, but still (out of uncertainty) asking more than one gentlemen for the direction to the Green Park station.

As for the night, did I enjoy being with Erik, Christine and Raoul? I would say yes but I like the company of my friends better…who walked beside me and will never leave me alone in this cold windy London night.

Thank you girls…. I will always remember every one of you.” Rashidah Salim, Malaysia – 03/08/2016


“For over a hundred years, a few significant objects from Sarawak of Borneo have been displayed in the Pitt Rivers Museum when they left home in 1905 or earlier. One of the objects is Belum, the healing figure tucked in a closed showcase. Belum is a medium to cast away disease, a practice by the Melanau community in Sarawak hundred years ago when they were practising their traditional religion. Belum is made of wood or of sago pit. It is floated away into the sea or river, symbolising that the ailment has been cast away from the sick person. They believed the spirit making the person sick will enter the belum and when the belum is floated away by the shaman, so goes the disease.

Belum are in many various form such as crocodiles, human figures, dragons, snakes and many more depending on the kind of ailment. There are two belum in the Pitt Rivers Museum but the one of human figure with headdress attracted me, as it was made to cure a swollen leg due to the tiredness of walking in the jungle.  This belum reminded me of Njeri instantly, who is suffering from ankle pain. I told Rebecca, who so kindly accompanied me to the Pitt Rivers Museum, to take a photo of the belum and post it to Njeri with a dire hope that her leg will be healed! The original context of the belum when it was made was for the tropical jungle but since it has travelled thousand miles from Borneo shores to the concrete jungle in Oxford, I hope the supernatural power of this belum is still effective today and heals Njeri’s ankle! Amen!” Dora Jok, Malaysia – 03/08/2016


“First of all I want to thank the ITP team who gave me a fabulous day in Brighton town with my colleagues. On arrival, I smelled the sea, which made me feel like I was in my home Alexandria city, my first love. We visited Brighton Museum and I got a chance to see the new exhibition Fashion Cities Africa, one of the best exhibitions reflecting the culture and heritage of South, East and West Africa. The museum staff gave us an introduction about the community engagement programmes for the exhibition. After that, we did a tour of the city. My colleagues and I stayed on the beach taking photos and collecting shells before we visited The Royal Pavilion.” Azza Abd El Maqsoud, Egypt – 04/08/2016

“My week has ended with a Friday packed with enchanting moments of discovery – professional and of oneself. The day began with going into the mesmerizing depths of the exhibition “Sicily: Culture and Conquest” with its curator, Dirk Booms. This was followed by departmental time and presentations, and workshops that gave us an important insight into museological work and possibilities of self-development. The cherry on the cake was a visit to the National Gallery’s exhibition “Painters’ Paintings”. Those exhibitions that completely change the way one understands an artist are exceptionally rare, and this was one of them. For instance, Degas, whom I had previously put in a drawer of French impressionism, became a completely fresh discovery. Coming out of the gallery only to admire the dramatic sunset over London, accompanied by energetic rhythms from a post-punk duo, rounded off yet another fantastic day.” Barbara Vujanović, Croatia – 05/08/2016


“Today is Saturday and also a free day.Twenty days has passed: I like the country, the people and the culture, especially the clean air and the beautiful sky. These days much of my time is spent visiting museums and taking classes.Today we visited Kenwood House and enjoyed tea and cakes at the home of Frances Carey on the Heath. Everything is amazing. Kenwood House shows me noble life in England and the delicious cakes show me modern life. Apart from studying, living in a foreign country is more about seeing the world. In London ,the thing I like best is to lie quietly on the grass and watch the clouds in sky. It is an amazing city.” Meng Xiangwei, China – 06/08/2016

“We have had a very exciting week, with a trips to Oxford, Brighton and Kendwood estate. Today was our last day in London before we leave for our partner museums tomorrow morning. Most of the day was spent packing up belongings which seem to have multiplied over the last 3 weeks! At the designated time all of us deposited our bags in the flat in Sayed’s custody who is our Keymaster! Very excited about the upcoming trip to Manchester.” Ruchira Verma, India – 07/08/2016