ITP Futures: Networking and reconnecting with ITP reps and partners (Bilwa Kulkarni, India, ITP Senior Fellow 2021)

Written by Bilwa Kulkarni-Poddar, Head, Programming and Outreach, Museum of Solutions (India, ITP Senior Fellow 2021)

“Through the programme, friendships are formed, ideas exchanged and collaborations conceived. Preconceptions are dispelled and connections revealed.”
– Hartwig Fischer, Director, British Museum

I cannot think of other words that could summarise today any better.

After two days of intense internal discussions and a most productive visit to Cambridge, Thursday saw the Senior Fellows gathered back in the Sloane Room. The morning began with the next step of our Strategic Planning workshop with Claire. In our previous sessions, we had worked on scanning for new trends and understanding its implications on the programme. On the basis of this, we worked on back casting, where we put together a rough mission statement for the ITP Advisory Board/Council/Group and plotted some short-term as well as long-term milestones until the year 2026. that morning we worked together to chart out some scenarios that could help or hinder the goals we had set out for the group to achieve.

As an animated discussion drew to a close, the BM ITP representatives from various departments and UK partners started trickling in. It was a delight meeting old friends like Hartwig Fischer, Director, British Museum and Ronan Brindley, Head of Learning from Manchester Art Gallery, who I’d met at the ITP+ Mumbai on Museums and Education. It was equally wonderful meeting new friends like Louise Smyth from National Museums Northern Ireland in Belfast, Sarah Gore, Teaching Museum Manager from Norfolk Museums, Andrea Martin from The Collection: Art and Archaeology in Lincolnshire and Campbell Price from Manchester Museum.

What followed was a most enriching discussion about ITP programme from the point of view of BM departmental reps and UK partners. The advisory group shared a summary of their discussions and what they had accomplished so far with the reps and partners whilst inviting their inputs on the how the advisory group would operate, how they could be assigned individual responsibilities, how could they create a point of liaison, not just between other fellows in their home countries and the British Museum, but also the UK partners. We also addressed the challenges and constraints faced by the reps and partners.

From cross-departmental collaborations to initiating conversations with fellows about deliverables in advance of their UK visit to creating pre-set modules or frameworks for hands-on projects – some great ideas emerged from the conversations.

The discussions of the day were interspersed with presentations by all the Senior Fellows about their roles and responsibilities in their respective institutions as well as their career roadmaps. These presentations provided a great window for the reps and partners into the areas of expertise of the Senior Fellows, projects they are involved with currently and possible points of collaboration.

Bilwa Kulkarni giving a presentation at ITP Futures

After we wrapped up discussions (officially) for the day, we met for dinner at the Life Goddess restaurant. The evening had all the necessary ingredients to give the perfect end to an inspiring day – yummy Greek food, friends, conversations…and laughter!