ITP 2021: Day trip to Cambridge!

The ITP day trips are a regular fixture in the annual programme and give our fellows the opportunity to spend more time as a group and with the ITP team, ensuring more chances to exchange ideas, knowledge and motivations. 

The day trip will give fellows the opportunity to experience life outside of London, which as with most capital cities, can be very different to experiences elsewhere in a country. But wherever we go, we hope the day trips will allow fellows to meet contacts in other museums to enhance their global networks and that they return to London with a wealth of new ideas which will help them in the future.

For the blog, Claire Messenger (ITP Manager) has already written about an ITP day trip to Oxford, which you can read about by clicking here. While half of the ITP 2021 cohort went to Oxford, the other half of the group: Aleksandra, Mario, William, Osaru, Sopheara, Sanpiseth, Durakhshona, Emrah and I went to Cambridge.

We arrived in Cambridge and walked towards our first visit of the day, The Fitzwilliam Museum. There we were joined by other British Museum colleagues: Helen Anderson, Curator: Africa, Africa, Oceania and the Americas; Zeina Klink-Hoppe, Project Curator: Modern Middle East, and John MacGinnis, Senior Archaeologist, Iraq Scheme, Middle East.

ITP 2021 at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

We arrived at the Fitzwilliam with some time to look around the galleries as well as their current exhibition, Hockney’s Eye, the art and technology of depiction. The exhibition explores the work of influential artist David Hockney and his use of traditional and modern ways of making art.

After some time in the galleries we were met by Anastasia Christophilopoulou, Curator of Greece, Rome and Cyprus at the Department of Antiquities of the Fitzwilliam Museum. Anastasia gave us an interesting introduction to the history of the Fitzwilliam and a tour of the permanent displays of the museum’s Greek, Cypriot and Roman collections. She also told us about the museum’s ongoing research project Being an Islander’ Art and Identity of the Large Mediterranean Islands. The project aims to re-examine the concept of island life through material culture, using the examples of Crete, Cyprus and Sardinia. The project will culminate in a major exhibition at the Fitzwilliam in 2023.

Fellows in the galleries at the Fitzwilliam Museum

We were very lucky with good weather over the 2021 annual programme and this day was no different. It was a beautifully bright and sunny day, which was perfect for our lunch plans. We picked up our picnic lunches from famous Cambridge café, Fitzbillies, and walked down to the river where we were given a punting tour by John MacGinnis. John gave a brilliant tour along river, giving us a history of Cambridge and its famous colleges. We ate our picnics and enjoyed the beautiful weather along the river.

ITP 2021 pose for a group photo next to the river in Cambridge

After lunch our next stop was the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA). Nick Thomas, Director of the MAA, met us in the galleries and talked to us about the collection and projects at the museum. The MAA houses archaeological finds from Cambridge and the local area, as well as being a museum of humanity’s history, world cultures and indigenous life. The MAA was also running a fascinating exhibition called [Re:]Entanglements: Colonial collections in decolonial times, which displayed a collection of African artwork collected during British anthropological surveys of West Africa in the early 20th century.

Our final visit of the day was to the Heong Gallery at Downing College, Cambridge, where we met Prerona Prasad, Curator of the Heong Gallery. The Heong Gallery is a relatively new space, opening in 2016 as a new gallery for exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. While not a huge space, it is a really sleek and modern looking gallery which is housed in a converted horse stables. The Heong Gallery’s current exhibition is part of the David Hockney exhibition displayed at the Fitzwilliam Museum and showcases more work from the artist’s long career.

We had a brilliant time in Cambridge, and thank you to all the our new colleagues who took the time with meet with us at their museums. I hope we can continue to visit Cambridge and its brilliant museums at more ITP annual programmes in the future!