Long awaited reunion with ITP in Edinburgh (Marine Mkrtchyan, Armenia, ITP 2014)

Written by Marine Mkrtchyan, Director, The Museum of Russian Art (Abrahamyan Collection), Armenia, ITP 2014

Back in 2020, as a part of ITP network I received an announcement for a wonderful opportunity to join the UK Museums Association conference from 5-7 November 2020. At that time COVID-19 was spreading with enormous speed across the continents.

On March 14, Armenia announced absolute lockdown and closed its borders, as other countries did. No one ever thought it might take so long. Traveling became a dream. But here I am going to thank the nature for this ‘’punishment’’: it made us to appreciate very common things in much better way.

And so, after a very long pause I am thrilled to be back to the UK. This time ITP fellows have a privilege to be a part of great professional gathering in Edinburgh organised by the Museum Association of the UK. As always, our beloved people from the ITP team put great efforts to arrange a beautifully tailored programme with the opportunity to explore Scotland, its museums, wonderful cities, and people from Edinburgh to Dundee to Aberdeen. One of the highlights of our trip was stopover in Dundee and visit to V&A Dundee.

Marine and a colleague pose for a photo in the grand gallery of the National Museum of Scotland
Still Parents exhibition at the Whitworth gallery

On 3 November, the Museums Association Conference “Make Change Happen” kicked off in Edinburgh. The conference gathered professionals from across the UK and world to discuss and debate global transformations that happen everywhere including the struggle against climate change, natural and man-made disasters, racism etc. Various interesting speeches and ceremonies were following one another.

I was absolutely touched by one of the exhibitions organised by the Whitworth called “Still Parents: life after baby loss”. This is what museums must do: speak about challenging stories, create platforms to speak to its people and communities. It was not surprising to see that this exhibition became the winner for the Best Museum Change Lives Award.

The 1st day of the conference gave me so much inspiration and impulses to think about new concepts and take a risk to do new projects. The conference themes and subjects once more time proved that we as museum managers need to foster change and be an example of changes inside our countries, communities, organisations, families…

Group photo in the grand gallery of the National Museum of Scotland

I am very grateful to the British Museum’s International Training Programme for this wonderful opportunity. The conference works will continue next couple of days, and I am sure that these days are going to be very productive and inspirational.

Five people stand in front of a sign for the V&A Dundee

Special thanks to my beloved Claire and her team Anna and George for another unforgettable and life changing experience. My sincere thanks to my fellow colleagues Nagwa, Chantal, Alsu and Ioan for such a friendly and warm welcome.