ITP+ Mumbai: Now the Real Work Begins (Neal Spencer and Paul Michael)

Written by Neal Spencer (Keeper, Department of Egypt & Sudan, British Museum) and Paul Michael (Museum Education Officer, National Museum of Tanzania, ITP 2012 Fellow)

At the start of day 2, the ITP fellows, CSMVS and Indian colleagues, along with UK facilitators, were divided into five groups. Each group, after some discussion, agreed upon an audience and a learning aspect for which to develop a specific programme. We have been asked to think about the programme brief, budget, purpose, benefits and timescale – and staff needs.


We considered two projects. Firstly, one to explore inter-generational learning for families. Our Indian colleagues described how the nuclear family was becoming increasingly emphasised in society, to the detriment of wider family (cousins, grandparents etc).

Secondly, we thought about a programme aimed at youth groups (14-21 year olds), to create and sustain youth leaders. We were worried that this audience often find museums boring, lacking cool events, that opportunities are usually limited to internships/volunteers and there was no way to have a say in the museum experience. In Mumbai, it seems shopping malls are often more attractive, whereas in Tanzania it might be the football match.


The ITP team asked us to develop the second project, for youths. In our group – Padmavati Kadam (Mumbai secondary school teacher), Bilwa Kilkarni (CSMVS, lead on Children’s Museum), Paul and Neal, with facilitator Tim Corum (Horniman Museum) – we brainstormed around a project that will enable
• Youths working between museums and other sectors – music, film-making, web, gaming, design and merchandising. Working in companies would help develop their skills and enhance job prospects.
• Youths transforming the museum – maybe with a museum hack, and then curate festivals of music, film and change the shop in the museum, or work on the website or museum games. In that way, the youths would be directly involved in changing the museum experience (for old and young!), using skills learnt from their time in the commercial sector.

After this work, individuals could be selected to be on the board of trustees, act as consultants for other organisations, and develop into leaders for the future. For the programme to be successful, the museum must train and develop its staff to support the project, and be prepared for organisational change.

Why would the museum do this? These youths are the future policy makers, parents and employees that will visit and shape the museum.

At CSMVS, the new Children’s Museum has been overseen by a group of Young Curators. Could our youth programme be the next step for them?

Paul and Neal