ITP 2018 Summer Programme Evaluation

Written by Claire Messenger, International Training Programme Manager

We’re pleased to share with you the International Training Programme’s external evaluation undertaken by Annabel Jackson of Annabel Jackson Associates Ltd.

Each year, both during and after the summer programme, Annabel carries out a series of in-person and online evaluations of the ITP.   Having received responses from all 23 of the ITP 2018 fellows, Annabel was able to look at every aspect of the summer programme from pre-course information, to accommodation and logistics, course content and the potential for further and continued dialogue.  Having an external evaluation for every year of the ITP also means that Annabel is able to compare and contrast results and look for common treads and trends across years.  This year, highlights of the programme focused on:

The comprehensive and carefully designed lecture and workshop programme at the BM. This was particularly interactive this year, which is more consistent with participants’ learning styles, who consistently ask for session to be practical. In terms of enjoyment, visits (day trips to other museums and sites) always rate highly and did again this year.

“They were so inspiring, because I got many ideas from those day trips of what I can suggest the government implements to develop the tourism industry in my country and heritage sites as well.”
Anonymous, ITP evaluation report 2018

The connections ITP fellows made with their BM departments. The BM departmental programme was particularly well organised this year.

“Department visits and the gallery walk were one of the best parts.  I enjoyed, it allowed me to understand the object and why and how it reached the display area. The story, the journey, the curator’s research method, panels, captions writing. It was something I could easy relate with what I do and also it gave me a huge number of ideas how I can polish up my own display in my museum.”
Anonymous, ITP evaluation report 2018

The benefits of shadowing and mentoring programme at partner museums. This provides another context in which to see museum practice, a context perhaps more comparable to that of participants in terms of resources. The partner programmes worked well this year, which suggests a need to have a group workshop to capture good practice principles from the partner perspective.

The strong relationships made with and between fellows. The feeling of genuine caring is exceptionally strong in ITP and is an important element in ensuring participants become part of the BM family and maintain connections long into the future.  Given that the ITP aims to build a global network of museum and heritage professionals and it was wonderful to see that:

100% of our ITP 2018 fellows felt that the BM genuinely cared about them and their wellbeing.

100% of our ITP 2018 fellows believed it was useful for them to have colleagues from other countries on the BM ITP programme.

A particular highlight was the new – and improved according to the survey results – exhibition proposal project, Object in Focus, which this year saw fellows selecting an object from the Museum’s collection and all working within the theme of ‘journeys’. Fellows were asked to work in partnership with a colleague from another country, and together to work with an object from outside of their areas of expertise.

 “I was very happy. I love this project so much. I got many ideas from this project for my museum. I got to know about how to do everything such as exhibition, education, publication, and so on.”
Anonymous, ITP evaluation report 2018

ITP 2018 evaluation_4

ITP 2018 fellows at UK Partner National Museums Northern Ireland

The external evaluation also looked at the UK Partner programmes which fellows described as inspiring, clear, well-organised and useful, sufficiently detailed, sufficiently practical and relevant.

Annabel surveyed the Senior Fellow role through this year’s ITP fellows but also spoke to Andrea Terron, (Guatemala, ITP Fellow 2017 and Senior Fellow 2018) for her views on the programme.  From both perspectives there was some incredibly positive feedback.

“Although ITP organisers are available and very accessible, the Senior Fellow is someone close to fellows, who is also foreign and who has lived what you are now living, so it’s someone to whom you can relate with and who can give you useful advice.”
Anonymous, ITP evaluation report 2018 

“This experience is revitalising and reassuring for one’s career and future projects – there are possibilities even if you are far away. I will be forever grateful for the time I spent at the British Museum and UK partner museums”.
Andrea Terron, (Guatemala, ITP Fellow 2017 and Senior Fellow 2018)

As well as surveying the fellows, we also ask our colleagues around the British Museum and our 11 UK partner museums for their thoughts each year.

In 2018 we had responses from 6 departmental mentors and were delighted to see that all said that they felt that being part of the International Training Programme was beneficial to their departments.

“It is beneficial in many ways but mainly to meet people from the countries we work with learn more about them/their museums and culture and is generally a fun, interesting project for the department to work on.”
Anonymous, ITP evaluation report 2018

“Mainly through enlarging our network of colleagues and collaborators, and facilitating the exchange of information and expertise.”
Anonymous, ITP evaluation report 2018

And 9 of our UK partners gave us feedback on the selection of ITP fellows for their institutions, levels of engagement, creating working relationships, how the programme met their expectations and the importance of being part of the programme.

“I was very impressed by their (the ITP fellows) levels of engagement and enthusiasm.”
Anonymous, ITP evaluation report 2018

“The ITP is an important part of our annual calendar. We value being a part of such a prestigious national programme. It enables us to create and build on links with Fellows from across the globe, an opportunity that would be more difficult to achieve without the ITP. The informal nature of conversations with Fellows is often more valuable than formal conferences. It is also an excellent opportunity to forge a stronger relationship with the BM.”
Anonymous, ITP evaluation report 2018

ITP 2018 evaluation_2

ITP 2018 fellows participate in the Collections Assistant Training session at the BM

Finally, the evaluation also gives an opportunity for speakers and facilitators to share their thoughts and this summer 26 replied to the survey looking at general organisation, levels of engagement and interaction and potential changes for the future.

“It made me feel proud to work at the BM being able to pass on my skills and experiences and share this with others.”
Anonymous, ITP evaluation report 2018

“Meeting such a diverse group of museum professionals from around the world who are keen to learn and share their own experiences and knowledge of their museums. It an important reminder of the need to share work and knowledge and learn from one another.”
Anonymous, ITP evaluation report 2018

We are extremely grateful to Annabel for her continued and insightful analysis of the International Training Programme but I would also like to thank everyone who completed the survey.  Whether an ITP fellow, a UK partner, departmental mentor or a programme facilitator, your thoughts and comments are invaluable both for seeing what we are doing right but perhaps most importantly, what we need to change or think about for the future.  The ITP continues to thrive and develop thanks to the support, feedback and suggestions of colleagues at the British Museum, across the UK and around the world.

The ITP Evaluation Report 2018 can be found here.