Hayk Mkrtchyan (ITP 2014, Armenia & Senior Fellow 2017): Nice to see you again
Hayk Mkrtchyan (ITP 2014, Armenia, Senior Fellow 2017)
ITP Partner Museums in Lincoln, Norwich and Glasgow: Discovering North Eastern England and Scotland
After visiting Manchester Art Gallery and Ronan Brindley before the Summer Programme began, my UK Partner tour continued throughout my time in the UK; meeting new UK partner representatives and catching up with reps I have worked with since 2014…
On 17th of July ITP Fellows moved to their partner placements across UK. Ain, Lena, Haitham and I headed towards Lincoln. We changed at Newark Northgate for Lincoln. We really enjoyed the last 20 minutes of the trip on the slow and noisy coach.
Andrea Martin, Community Engagement Coordinator and Teresa from The Collection, Lincoln met us upon arrival at the train station. It was great to catch up with Andrea since meeting in Armenia for the Learning, Engagement and Museums workshop. Our partner museum schedule started with an Edwardian estate not far from Lincoln called Doddington Place Gardens. This place was an excellent example of how historical heritage preserved by a local family can became a nice resource for social entrepreneurship. After a nice lunch with our hosts Andrea and Teresa we drove back to Lincoln and had a short walking tour around the city which was amazingly quiet with narrow streets. The city is dominated by the 12th century Lincoln Cathedral which is like an eyewitness from centuries overlooking the city and its surroundings.
Our working day in Lincoln started with a tour around permanent exhibitions of The Collection and a temporary exhibition on Battles and Dynasties which housed a beautiful collection from around the UK. The exhibition was an exemplary on how to collaborate with large national museums in order to arrange an exhibition concept. The next few days of my stay in Lincoln were really engaging and useful. We learnt a lot about the portable antiquities scheme in UK and how the accreditation system is important both for specialists and museums.
As a part of my Senior Fellow responsibilities and to get know ITP partner museums I had the chance to travel to Norwich after Lincoln. After an a few hours of circling around different stations around East England I arrived in Norwich in the evening. I was looking forward to meet our fellows Andrea, Astghik, Raneen and Mariem next morning. The day started with very useful presentation by Steve Miller on Entrepreneurial Museum: Best practices of Norfolk Museum Services. Here we divided into 4 groups to discuss benefits and challenges of collaboration with major organizations. The afternoon session included archaeological session by Tim Pastell where we discovered a beautiful collection from Ancient Egypt and other countries.
In the evening ITP Fellows invited me for a dinner where we had chance to discuss all the aspects of the programme. I think being a Senior Fellow gave me chance to “bridge voices” into management team which will have positive impact for future Fellows.
One of the interesting visits was to the Norwich public library where we saw some amazing manuscripts dating from 12-18th centuries. What I found very useful, and to hopefully use as a model, is how museums in the UK work and collaborate as services. Having limited resources and staff, museums offer various community programmes and have high social responsibility towards their mission, vision and values. As well as local initiatives Norfolk museums participated in prestigious initiative by the British Museum “Teaching History with 100 objects” with 3 objects from Norwich Castle Museum.
Finally my last visit was to Glasgow. After a long journey on the train I arrived in Glasgow Central. I met Elaine Addington from Glasgow Museums Resource Centre who is coordination Open Museum Project around Glasgow. As with Andrea, I met Elaine for the first time in Armenia, for the Education Workshop. The Open Museum project is outreach program which takes Glasgow’s museum collections beyond the museum walls and out into the community. Elaine took me to couple of places to see how project works and surprisingly for me our first stop was in the big Shopping Mall in the centre of Glasgow. In a specially allocated place on the second floor was a platform for community discussions on one of the most relevant issues of our time: migration and migrants. This shows how political, cultural and commercial organizations collaborate together to welcome migrants and make them feel safe, listened and at home.
Then we walked to Glasgow City Chambers where I saw a heart breaking exhibition on Homeless World Cup which took place in Glasgow in 2016. Interestingly the showcase was designed and made by prisoners and staff at HM Prison Barlinnie.
Last but not least we took the train to a post industrial district, Springburn, where two more displays were showed to the public
On Friday morning I visited Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art). One of the stranger places that I visited in the UK was Glasgow Necropolis… but it was lovely place. The Glasgow Necropolis is a Victorian Cemetery in Glasgow, Scotland.
It is on a low but very prominent hill to the east of Glasgow Cathedral (St. Mungo’s Cathedral). Fifty thousand individuals have been buried here and approximately 3500 monuments exist here.
I continued my discoveries in Saint Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. The museum exhibition was designed and equipped with video and sound installations and was about different religions and customs that are symbolic to all faiths of humanity.
Finally on Saturday I met Patricia Alan, a Curator of World Collections from Glasgow Museums Resource Centre. I met Pat for first time at the ITP 10th anniversay in Mumbai; Pat was mentoring our group workshop together with Ian Jenkins from the British Museum. Pat impressed me with deep knowledge, passion and understanding of museum collections. We visited a Scottish village where she lived as I really wanted to see some rural areas in Scotland. We visited village Uplawmoor 30 minutes’ drive from Glasgow and I really enjoyed it. We had nice dinner in the local pub mixed with very useful and interesting conversation.
Thanks for amazing trips and unforgettable days in the UK…
I wish I could come back again…