Zulkifli bin Ishak, Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Zulkifli bin Ishak, Curator of Arms and Armoury, Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia

In July I spent 10 days in the city of Bristol for my UK partner placement. I spent my 10 days at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) together with three of my colleagues from the ITP 2017 programme. We arrived on a sunny afternoon at the Bristol Temple Meads Station, welcomed by Sue Giles, Senior Curator at the BMAG and proceeded with a lovely lunch with another Senior Curator, Kate Newham and Ray Barnett, Head of Collections & Archives. Our journey by train to Bristol was accompanied by Gareth Brereton, Curator from Department Middle East at the British Museum.


On 24th July 2017, we are scheduled to attend sessions with Exhibition Officers of BMAG. The first session started with Karen MacDonald, Engagement Officer Exhibitions at the museum. Karen briefed us about the tasks of Exhibition Officers,  primarily responsible for the management of project exhibitions and ensuring all projects, programmes and exhibitions are on a right track. The second session with Becky Peters focused on the method of exhibition management applied in recent BMAG exhibition ‘Pliosaurus’. Both sessions emphasized the importance of each department or unit sitting together, brainstorming the ideas from early stage, sharing a common goal, discussing problems and solutions and making day to day progress to achieve the intended result.


Afternoon sessions with senior curators allowed me to see vast BMAG collections and exchange knowledge regarding the objects. I had the opportunity to see the arms and armour collection (under the supervision of Sue Giles, Senior Curator who is responsible for the firearms collection) and Islamic and Southeast Asian collection (under the guidance of Kate Newham, curator of Eastern Art collection). We spent nearly two hours looking through these collections and I am looking forward to future collaborations, to contribute and to share my knowledge.


Days in Bristol are hard to forget. I also visited Bath, a city where you can find an ancient Roman spa. I saw amazing collections of artefacts and arts in Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and the Holburne Museum. I came across graffiti and sculptures made by Banksy, Bristol famous street artist, as well as sculpture of Shaun the Sheep, a famous motion animation made in Bristol.