Seasons Greetings and Reflections on 2016

Rebecca Horton, International Training Programme Assistant

The International Training Programme team would like to send Seasons Greetings and wish a happy and prosperous 2017 to all of the readers of the ITP blog.

In last year’s reflections post Claire Messenger hoped for more opportunities to work together and more plans for the future and 2016 certainly did not disappoint.

In the 10th year of the ITP, the 11th annual summer programme took place. 21 museum professionals from 13 countries spent from 16th July to  27th August at the British Museum and at a UK partner museum. For the first time since its inception the ITP welcomed participants from Croatia and Yemen. As of 2016 the International Training Programme is a network of 228 museum professionals from 33 countries.

International Training Programme 2016

International Training Programme 2016

The summer programme comprised of two new workshops in 2016; a workshop about Health and Wellbeing at Beamish Museum was presented by Michelle Kindleysides (Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator) and Imma Ramos (BM Curator: South Asia) presented a Collecting the Modern World Workshop.  Both workshops had a practical element and made participants think differently about the function of museums.


Modern World Workshop 2016

Njeri Gachihi (Kenya, ITP 2010) became 2016’s Senior Fellow (past-participant facilitator).

‘The opportunity to be the link between fellows and the ITP team was a great one, giving me a chance to experience both worlds. Running a topical discussion on skills development was challenging but enjoyable. Through this I arranged two special sessions with my co-presenters Fiona West and Shezza Rashwan that will go a long way in assisting my work at KeHTI. All sessions were very beneficial to me and I appreciated each and every one of them. I am forever grateful for the time I spent at the British Museum this summer. I look forward to the ITP’s bright future.’


Njeri Gachihi addressing the ITP participants 2016

 When the summer programme ended the ITP team published the ITP 2016 Annual Report and evaluation, and released its third annual newsletter, all of which can be found here:

Report 2016

Evaluation 2016

Newsletter 2016

All of these materials promote the importance of the busy summer programme and the ongoing projects of our alumni within the ITP’s growing global network.

Manisha Nene’s (India, ITP 2011) successful summer programme exhibition proposal, now exhibition, Celebrating Ganesha continues to tour around England; the exhibition began in 2016 at the Museum of Oxford and went on to Cartwright Hall in Bradford, Bowe Museum in County Durham and currently resides in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The tour will continue into 2017 and 2018.  The tour schedule and information about the exhibition can be found on the British Museum website.


Schist figure of Ganesha, Orissa, 13th century. Trustees of the British Museum

Following on from conversations amongst the ITP network present at the Creating museums of world stories workshop, held at CSMVS in Mumbai 2015, two major collaborative projects emerged in 2016…

A workshop took place at Cafesjian Centre for the Arts and the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, Armenia from 24- 28 October 2016. Learning, Engagement and Museums was co-hosted by Hayk and Marine Mkrtchyan and Davit Poghosyan (ITP 2014 and 2015) with Ronan Brindley at Manchester Art Gallery and the ITP at the British Museum. Fellows from Turkey, India, Egypt and Lebanon presented and participated as well as UK and programme partners from The Collection, Lincoln , the Open Museum, Glasgow and the Grassi Museum, Leipzig. The ITP were introduced to 19 Armenian museum educators from 18 museums; it was an incredible collaboration and a wonderful insight into the work being done in an ITP country.


Cafesjian Centre for Arts, Yerevan, Armenia

‘The Learning, Engagement and Museums Workshop offered a meaningful professional context where I could build lasting relationships with my colleagues in Armenia. It is always hard to take the first step, but when we do, amazing things can happen.  We can establish ways of cooperating, and become active participants in building a better future.  I have hope for us all.’ Tugba Erdemir (Turkey, ITP 2015)

ITP fellows from India, Kenya, Nigeria and Palestine attended the Museum Association Conference in Glasgow in November and spent 3 days at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery developing an exhibition proposal initiated at the Mumbai workshop. Curator Sue Giles worked with the fellows and ITP team to create exhibition themes and tasks for each member of the project to complete upon returning to their home museums. A virtual exhibition is planned for Autumn 2017.

By attending all these sessions I realized that we in India, as museum professionals, have to go a long way to utilize museums in the best possible manner, transforming them from store houses to active community centres. If I am able to do this it will be a great result of attending this conference.’ Manisha Nene (India, ITP 2011)


ITP Fellows at Bristol Museums

These projects ensure that the growing network remains connected and used as a valuable resource. To maintain this ethos the Collaborative Awards were released October 17th, advertising a series of grants to alumni who work with fellows from other institutions, UK partners and BM colleagues. The deadline for these applications is the end of December and we are excited to work with successful fellows from February 2017.

Smaller projects have run throughout the year, with fellows from Sudan and Palestine attending and giving presentations at a Cultural Heritage and Conflict Workshop at Uppsala University in Sweden, co-hosted by Akram Ijla (ITP 2012) with colleague Mattias Legnér.


Shadia Rabo (Sudan, ITP 2006) at Uppsala Univeristy

‘I was able to realise a first step in a dream that I have been designing for the past couple of years; where…people from different areas in the world work together towards a colourful cultural scenery not only in theory but also in practice.’ Nourah Sammar (Palestine, ITP 2009)

Talking Heavy: Current Practices in Site Conservation, Documentation and Presentation of Heavy Heritage in the Mediterranean Basin took place in September  at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations in Beyoğlu, Istanbul and was co-organized by Koç University, Istanbul and the British Museum Conservation and Scientific Research Department in London. The workshop aimed to create a network amongst colleagues working in countries across the Mediterranean basin, an area filled with archaeological and historical sites each posing their own challenges. Fellows from Egypt and Palestine attended the workshop and Costas Vasiliadis (Greece, ITP 2014) was a member of the advisory committee. Akram Ijla (Palestine, ITP 2012) presented  The Sustainable Viability of Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings: The experiences of Two World Heritage Old Cities; Ottoman Bethlehem in Palestine and Visby in Sweden. A presentation which investigated the viability of adaptive reuse of abandoned buildings and the impact it has on the sustainability of existing environment in Bethlehem and Visby. Hosts of Talking Heavy aim to develop more workshops as a result of the success of the first meeting in September.


Akram Ijla (Palestine, ITP 2012) attending Talking Heavy Workshop in Istanbul

2016 has been a busy year for the ITP, introducing new projects and working hard to ensure the network can reach it’s full potential. The ITP team look forward to reading through the Collaborative Award proposals in the new year, to working with more ITP fellows, to introducing more opportunities such as ITP+ projects, and to welcoming 24 new participants to the summer programme,  and to the ever growing network…