REUNION, Astghik Marabyan, ITP 2017 Armenia, Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage and Folk Arts of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport

Outside the British Museum

September 28th, 2019 was marked in my calendar since April when I received confirmation letter from Claire to take part in the Museum Association Conference 2019 in Brighton. This was my second visit to UK and for this time, as an alumni of the ITP. We had two days in London before moving to Brighton. Of course, my first destination was the British Museum and at 10:00 am sharp, I was at my beloved museum.  Before exploring the new exhibitions and galleries, I stopped at the Great Court with a strange feeling. Everything looked very familiar, however there was something deeper I couldn’t conceive. And suddenly I got it: the smell of the Museum. Yes, I smelt the British Museum and it was not an ordinary scent, but the centuries of old histories and cultures. I was happy and ran to visit the newly opened exhibition, The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of The Islamic World, which was in development stage at the time of my ITP year. Then I revisited my favorite galleries of African Art, randomly explored more galleries, had a tasty lunch and left to search for more cultural experiences. My next stop was Tate Britain – the exhibition of William Blake, where even my ICOM card didn’t help me to avoid the huge line: the exhibition was indeed fantastic. Then as recommended by Claire, I attended the Japan Matsuri festival in Trafalgar Square, and of course the National Gallery. The first day of cultural explorations were over and I returned to the Hotel with new expectations.

Olafur Eliasson, Tate Modern

The next day promised to be more exciting, as at the breakfast I met my fellow ITPers Namrata and Roshan, with whom together we visited two signature exhibitions of contemporary art: Antony Gormley at the Royal Academy of Arts and Olafur Eliasson in Tate Modern – absolutley great impressions and deep insight from both exhibitions. It was time to return to hotel to move to Brighton. Finally the whole group was together and it was also a great pleasure to meet Anna Cottle, our new Coordinator. 

Brighton seemed to be more welcoming this time, as during our first visit in 2017 it was raining so heavily that we couldn’t enjoy the beautiful city. In the evening we met Claire and John- a long waited encounter with our beloved people and it seemed that I was not that far from my home country and dearest family!!! The day was over with a reunion dinner filled with new opportunities, expectations, and just real human feelings.