UK Partner Museums: an incredible learning experience (Andrea Terrón, Senior Fellow 2018)
Andrea Terrón (Guatemala, ITP 2017, Senior Fellow 2018)
Partner placements are a wonderful experience during the ITP summer programme. It feels like you are marching with a purpose for another complete learning experience. One gets to see first-hand how museums are working outside the London area and how partnerships and alliances work.
During the first three weeks of the summer programme you really realise how huge the British Museum is, with many departments and policies and future plans. You start realising and comprehending that the British Museum has an enormous quantity of projects, loans and partnerships; they share knowledge and are willing to make connections and build networks. Something I have been impressed with during my experience this year is how vast the sharing is, there are no second thoughts on the accessibility of projects and procedures, which I find is a refreshing outlook.
One of the constant objectives for the ITP is skill sharing. At the partner museums, the groups are smaller and the fellows are able to talk, share and have a dialogue that is focused on their institutions, fellows can guide the conversations and what they want to learn. It’s up to you what you take from those days and how you take advantage of the time spent there. As participants and museum professionals, we can contribute to the museum dialogue; we can show how we adapt to less budget, political interests and bureaucratic tendencies, we can share some of our conservation practices, compare and learn more. We learn how things are managed on a smaller scale, maybe it even relates to procedures we have experienced or that we need to propose or execute.
This year I had the pleasure to take three fellows, Dilek, Huyam and Pankaj, to Manchester. We had a very pleasant welcoming experience and the programme was tailored in such a way that I felt that the group saw all the theory from the first three weeks, in practice, and we got to see a different approach toward certain subjects; we saw art galleries with great art appreciation programmes for kids and communities, projects on representation of artists that are displayed in the galleries and the Mindful Museum which is “simply helping our visitors to engage with art and improve well being using mindfulness techniques; mindfulness is a necessary skill for children and young people today to learn in order to flourish and thrive as adults.” (http://manchesterartgallery.org/learn/mindful-museum/)
We all can attest that during the partner placement time, we see more and more programmes on offer and initiatives organized by museums and are able to learn about them first hand. Through these great institutions the ITP is richer and complete.