Shubha Banerji (India, ITP 2014) Report: Learning, Engagement and Museums
Look out for the official Learning, Engagement and Museums Workshop Report which will be published on the blog in the next week.
The workshop, held in Yerevan, was hosted by 3 ITP Fellows from Armenia. 4 ITP Fellows from Egypt, India, Lebanon and Turkey gave presentations and participated with Armenian colleagues during the workshop. Shubha Banerji (India, ITP 2014) has written the following report about her experience.
‘Attending the three day workshop jointly organised by British Museum, Manchester Art Gallry and Museum Education Centre, Yerevan was an extremely insightful and beneficial experience. The presentations given on the first day of the workshop by various museum educators gave new perspective to my understanding of museum education. The experiences of Elaine Addington from Glasgow Museums and also Christine Fischer from Grassi Museum, Leipzig helped me to visualise a community oriented programme at my museum for older generations.
On the second day the participants were divided into four working groups and we had a chance to share our ideas; we debated and brainstormed around four key issues. The workshop was designed keeping in mind the complete involvement of all the participants. I was placed in Group 4 which focused on the target audience of Communities (including older audiences) which was very advantageous for me. The team comprised of Elaine Addington with Claire Messenger, Hayk Mkrtchyan, Sona Khechikyan, Ani Grigoryan, Marianna Manucharyan, Suren Manukyan and Mushegh Alaverdyan.
It was a thoroughly engaging session and the brain storming led to some interesting outcomes in terms of planning an educational project. The learning/engagement project was named “Building Memories”. We planned the project as a yearly activity in which the Armenian Genocide Museum will collaborate with different museums of Armenia. For the first phase, it proposed to involve the Armenian Genocide Museum and the Architecture Museum, Yerevan. Recognising the buildings in Yerevan as a part of Armenian heritage was the focus of the project and the involvement of the older community was discussed.
Within this project it was decided the memories around the buildings of Yerevan and the stories of its old residents should be documented. The older generation could discuss the significance of these buildings with the younger generation to develop a deeper understanding of the struggles and traditions of the country. The younger generation would document the stories, and the project would culminate in a photography exhibition. The first year of this educational project was also proposed to mark the 80th anniversary of Stalin repression and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the memorial for the Armenian Genocide.
The post workshop visits to various museums around Yerevan and to world heritage sites of Geghard Monastery and Garni Temple is a much cherished memory. The visit to the Armenian Genocide memorial and Museum was a very poignant moment for all of us.
The visit to ARARAT Museum of Yerevan Brandy Company and the brandy tasting sesión at the end of the evening brought cheers to our spirits. Armenia was a pleasant discovery and the museum culture of Armenia is truly inspiring. Armenia charmed me in every way. Its people, its beauty and of course the pomegranates, which I discovered everywhere (depicted in art, architecture and also presented on table as food).
In the end, I extend my heartfelt thanks to our wonderful hosts Davit Poghosyan, and Hayk and Marine Mkrtchyan. Their love and care kept us warm in the chill of Armenia. Meeting Claire, Emma and Rebecca in Armenia was like meeting family once again. Thank you ITP for the wonderful experience.’