Introducing Objects in Focus (Rana Ramadan Mahmoud, ITP 2018, Egypt)

I am Rana Ramadan Mahmoud, Egyptian 2018 ITPer, working at the Alexandria National Museum. I would like to thank all the ITP team for your great effort: it’s only been one week since I reached London and it is already bringing great purpose and benefits to me and all my colleagues.

My blog is about yesterday, Friday 6 July 2018 – such an interesting day in our programme! It started with a session from Claire Messenger (ITP Manager) about the Object in Focus exhibition proposal project (formerly ‘Room 3 Project’) we will do during the ITP, how to interpret an object and how to use our skills to tell the story behind an object.

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Starting the day in the Board Room

One purpose of Objects in Focus is to make our chosen objects speak with interesting and catchy stories. To start to prepare, we did an activity about objects and how we see their story from our point of view, which produced amazingly different stories from different perspectives. We had to choose an everyday object (like a mobile phone or shoe) and we were asked why did we pick the object, what does the object say and how does it feel, sound and smell. So we had to answer these questions and turn on our imaginations to create new stories. I liked my colleague Chantal ‘s presentation: it was interesting, about a box used to store jewellery, and how mothers used to gift it to their daughters when they got married.

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With my ‘practice’ object, a snow globe – making it speak!

Then we had our tasty English lunch together discussing about exhibitions, our vision and our presentations, and in the afternoon, the ITP team displayed the objects for us to choose and work on.

For the Object in Focus project, the most interesting thing is that I have to share the experience in partnership with one of my ITP colleagues, so it may help to create a dynamic proposal.

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With Liyi and our chosen object

Me and my partner (Xu Liyi from Shanghai Museum) chose a wooden navigation chart from the Marshall Islands. It relates the story of navigation in past times, especially this region which is located in the northern Pacific. I would like to mention that the Marshall Islands were named after an English discoverer called Marshall. So over time, the Marshall Islands people learned to navigate over long ocean distances by canoe using traditional stick charts. So it’s an interesting piece and related to a different part of the world. In addition, it is very far from my branch of studies. So it makes me more widely opened to another country’s heritage and culture.

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We viewed our object in the BM Anthropology library with staff from AOA Department

I am really excited for our great Supporter’s Reception day on 9 August, when we will present our exhibition project ideas!