Working Internationally Regional Project (WIRP) Workshop – one week on

Emma Croft
Coordinator, International Training Programme

A week ago today the ITP team returned to the Horniman Museum and Gardens for brainstorming and biscuits as part of the Working Internationally Regional Project.

The Working International Regional Project is led by ICOM UK with the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC), the British Council, andHeritage Without Borders (HWB). It aims “to develop the long-term capacity for regional and local museums and galleries to work internationally. This will be achieved through developing the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence of those embarking on international work.” You can find out more on the ICOM UK website here.


Image author’s own

Looking at four main tools and frameworks for international projects, presenters from around Europe discussed the challenges, rewards and processes of international collaborations including exhibitions, training, and learning initiatives.

These included:

“Framework for Effective Partnerships” – inviting partners to look at the balance of Clarity, Reciprocity and Engagement (How clear is your project to all involved? How much or what is each partner contributing? How engaged is each partner? How strong is their sense of ownership?)

“Building Blocks – the Partnership Proposition Canvas” – asking partners to consider what they can bring to a partnership, and what other institutions can offer.

“How Deep is Your Love Continuum” – which looked at different levels of relationships among institutions, and what kinds of partnerships are appropriate, from exchanging information to full mergers.

“The Life Cycle of a Partnership” – which enables partners to find a suitable ‘exit strategy’ for the end of a project.

We heard from speakers across the sector – Aniko Korenchy from the Foundation for Museums and Visitors, and Hungarian Museum of Trade & Tourism, spoke about the invaluble role of ERASMUS in providing opportunities for programmes in museum education. She highlighted the importance of the “What, who, when, how and for whom” of a partnership project.

Bill Griffiths of ITP UK partner Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives shared the value of “compare and contrast” projects, with heritage professionals from around the world bringing new perspectives and offering insightful comparisons of museum practices, through exchange visits, and how training programmes such as TWAM’s Core Skills Programme  can be seen not simply as ‘transactions’, but projects that bring mutual benefits to all involved.


Bill Griffiths. Image author’s own

In two different presentations, Tim Corum and colleagues from the Civic Barnsley and the Fashion and Textile Museum shared advice on the processes and life cycles of partnerships, highlighting the value of shared ownership, “Equality, Transparency and Mutual Benefit” – not just at the beginning of a partnership, but all the way through to the end.

In the afternoon we split into small groups to act as ‘consultants’ for delegates starting their own international projects. This was a fantastic way to learn about new methods and different visions – by sitting, listening and asking the right questions,  we as ‘consultants’ were able to help provide emerging international projects with the space and the building-blocks to grow.


During our international project consultation. Image author’s own

The International Training Programme has developed from the idea that international projects need strong partnerships, and one week on I’ve already started applying these new frameworks to my own thinking.

Hopefully you can also find some good ideas and tools to use in your projects – whether you’re just starting out, still finding partners, or celebrating your 10th anniversary year, like the ITP!


The Partnership Proposition Canvas. Image author’s own

All the presentations and frameworks from the WIRP workshop will be available from ICOM UK website at the end of the month.