Jessica at the Staff Talk: CASCADE Programme

Jessica Juckes, International Training Programme Assistant

Hello all!

As we have reached my second week on the ITP team (and at the British Museum!), I thought I’d share with you one of the many interesting things I learned about during week one. On Thursday, I went to the weekly staff talk, something ITP fellows will remember – it’s a great opportunity to hear colleagues from throughout the Museum talk about the work they do. The talk was about the Museum’s CASCADE Programme, which offers some interesting parallels to the ITP.

CASCADE is an internal career development programme at the BM that has been running for the past two years. It is aimed towards curators and scientists who are within eight years of starting at the Museum. The course lasts for one to two weeks, and there are between five and eight Museum colleagues in each cohort.


Research at the BM

CASCADE participants, like those on ITP, are given introductions to key areas of museum work, as well as opportunities for discussion, reflection and teamwork. They also prepare a brief for the Asahi Shimbun Room 3 Display at the BM. They do this as a group, and the course leaders choose a focus object for the participants that none of them have expertise in!

Interestingly, JD Hill (Head of Research at the BM), who heads up the programme, spoke of how, through offering this course, he and his colleagues have themselves gained a better – and changed – understanding of what the job of a curator or scientist within a museum entails. In this way, the CASCADE Programme provides mutual benefit for participants and facilitators, as does the ITP.


The Museum’s World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre

Two curators from the Museum spoke of their experience as CASCADE fellows. Both mentioned that they are now more aware of the potential for enriching cross-departmental work. One remarked that among the group of six in her cohort, although working across very different departments, several were actually undertaking research on quite similar themes. The other said that she now had the confidence and knowledge to put forward funding applications for ambitious cross-departmental projects.

It was clear from the talk that CASCADE, like the ITP, is extremely popular with both potential participants and facilitators, and has something to offer to all involved. As ITP Fellows would also attest, such a career development programme gives its participants precious and rare ‘time out’ to reflect on their work, increases their confidence and expands their horizons.