Astghik Marabyan, Cafesjian Center for the Arts, Armenia: Global Responsibility

Astghik Marabyan, Director of Education, Cafesjian Center for the Arts, Yerevan, Armenia

“Global Responsibility”

Hello everyone, I am Astghik from Yerevan, Armenia. I am happy to share my first impressions of London and the Programme.

As a prelude, I would like to mention that 2017 is a special year for me marking the 10th anniversary of my museum work in one of the finest museums in the world, the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, where I started working in 2007 as an Assistant Registrar. 2017 also became a rewarding year: I was selected as a British Museum ITP fellow, indeed a great occasion to celebrate ten years with.

I understood that it wouldn’t be easy to temporarily leave my beloved family and four wonderful daughters, but sometimes your social and professional responsibilities stand forefront, and I was ready to take a long flight to be part of a global cultural community.

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Photo taken from the airplane, Yerevan- London, July 1, 2017

On July 1 at the London Heathrow Airport I was met by the ITP Senior Fellow Hayk Mkrtchyan (ITP Fellow 2014), my best friend and colleague from Yerevan, and the warm welcome in Armenian made me feel at home. Together with our two ITP fellows, Elzneer Tirab Abaker Haroun and Haitham Aliman from Sudan, we moved to Schafer House, our new settlement place for the upcoming weeks.

London started arising through the windows of the taxi, and I felt I was back to my school years and childhood aspirations — to appear in the magical city full of new discoveries, like Alice in the Wonderland. Anyway, we were at Schafer House, where BM ITP Manager Claire Messenger met us, welcoming all fellows.  I was happy to see Claire as well as ITP Coordinator Rebecca Horton again, whom I already had a chance to meet in Armenia in 2016 during the workshop Learning, Engagement and Museums, organized at the Cafesjian Center for the Arts.

Fellows started arriving and first I met Ala Talebian from Iran. At Schafer House we also met Vesta Curtis from the British Museum Coins and Medals Department, who invited Ala and me for a lunch and was very generous with helping to settle in a new environment.

The weather has been sunny giving me a great chance to explore London. Together with Hayk I have visited the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye and have got acquainted with the city.

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View from the Thames with Hayk Mkrtchyan, Senior Fellow 2017


I would like to add that although this is my first visit to London, my connection with Great Britain started long time ago, when I was working on my Master’s thesis with the theme “The Transformation of Great Britain into a Commonwealth of Nations”. At that time I couldn’t even imagine that in 15 years I would be given a chance to be at the heart of Great Britain, the British Museum, the Britishness of which, as stated by  the Director of the British Museum, Dr. Hartwig Fischer, is “its global responsibility to human culture”.  For me the most remarkable meeting has been with the Director of the British Museum, Dr. Hartwig Fischer, who gave ITP fellows a presentation about the British Museum, its history and future.

We are full of vigor and enthusiasm to continue exploring over the coming weeks…