ITP+ Mumbai: UK facilitators explore Mumbai on their final day in India
Tim Corum (Director of Curatorial and Public Engagement, Horniman Museum and Gardens), Jo Mawdsley (Head of Learning, V&A Dundee) and Saul Peckham (Senior Photographer, British Museum)
After a fascinating and inspiring conference at CSMVS, on Sunday we had a chance to spend time in other parts of Mumbai.
Saul joined a heritage tour of the city which included walking across the Maidan through the maze of interlocking cricket games. ‘I inadvertently joined in at one moment. Standing behind the wicket, camera in hand, I was suddenly aware of a cricket ball hurtling towards me, by chance I instinctively caught the ball in my free hand, to the cheers of both teams.’
Tim joined Vineet Kajrolkar, Project Assistant (ConservArte Conservation Project), and others on a trip to Elephanta. ‘Leaving Mumbai by boat from the docks gave us a new perspective on the city. The enormous scale of the Mumbai metropolitan area compressed into the islands and reclaimed land emphasised how precious and significant the shared cultural spaces are to the people who live in the city. Let’s hope the new children’s museum and gardens which CSMVS Director Mr Muckerjee, Assistant Curator (Education) Bilwa Kulkarni (ITP 2015) and team have created is recognised as an exemplar for other organisations to learn from.
Once on the island, with Vineet’s expert guidance and knowledge we climbed the hill to find the renowned series of caves and temples. Jo said ‘Crikey! It’s hot, I’m going to need to buy a hat if I’m to make it to the top of those steps without getting sunstroke” after being looked after so well by both our BM and CSMVS colleagues, here we all were let loose and terribly unprepared. The ascent was slow and but boy, it was worth it. The sculptures at Elephanta were absolutely incredible and to have Vineet as our guide was a master stroke – his knowledge and passion was infectious. I’ll remember the trip for a long time.’
Overall the conference has provided great insight into the challenges which museum colleagues from across the world face as well as the ambitions we share. The final day helped us reflect on the last few days as a whole; on the workshops, presentations and discussions as well as the new children’s museum at CSMVS. We were drawn again to the themes and words the young people had used to structure their new museum. These concepts resonated strongly with our overall experience of Mumbai and we agreed that like all cities it survives as a shared space on a mixture of courage, teamwork, friendship, peace and environmental understanding.