Colouring the space, collating the voices, a beginning for change (Shambwaditya Ghosh, India, ITP Senior Fellow 2015)

Shambwaditya Ghosh, PhD Scholar, University of Delhi, (India, ITP 2012, Senior Fellow 2015)

Hello, all of you have been reading blog posts from other fellow/friends regarding the Museum Associations Conference in Edinburgh. I also like to share some of my experiences with all of you. I attended this year’s meeting with other fellows. Before coming to Edinburgh, I participated in a British Museum Leadership Management workshop. This series of workshops disclosed various parts and perspectives on cultural heritage management.

The workshop’s objective was to redefine the meaning of leadership for the present-day requirement. We discussed various aspects of management which can be used for deriving partnerships, community engagement, resource management, sustainability and climate change action. All these sessions were interactive and explorative to define a new definition for leadership, since the meaning of the word ‘leader’ can be perceived in different ways. But the one point in our discussion is that we need an inclusive approach to managing cultural heritage.

British Museum Great Court

Later in the conference, we heard the same lines echoing in every session. It was only possible to attend some of the sessions as there were many parallel sessions, but one has to make a serious selection. The sessions I attended were more thematic than the hands-on applications museum on management. All these sessions dismantled the conventions and provided an alternative approach for interpretation, administration, inclusion and environment. Some of the sessions were quite unusual, providing a space for discussion, which we usually ignore, like how your museum space and colleagues can be your support for well-being and mental health.

This year’s conference was set on the issues which are very relevant at this moment. Specifically, after the pandemic, we have realised that the world is no longer divided, and we must connect for our shared future. The pandemic has opened up the reality that there is a necessity for change that can be started from the museum. As we see how changes are happening to begin with the interpretation. Now the object is telling the other side of the story. It is not a description of the object; it informs the museum’s position and how they deal with the issues. They include those voices that have been ignored for a long time.

Shambwaditya Ghosh, Andrea Terron Gomez, and Ma. Yohana Frias

As with every ITP reunion, there is lots of fun and reminiscing, finding news, and discussing many things, including politics! All those dinners were sitting together for intellectual stimulation. Food and drinks were the supplements to keep us on track. There has always been a single topic of discussion. As we progressed, we realised that we had spoken about our pets in most of the conversation. And that leads into the museum context too. As I got to know, once upon a time, the British Museum used to have a cat.

Now we all have to go back. What to carry on with us? The memories, not only the photographs. Something very intangible, which we will remember later looking at the pictures. Hope you all have reached safely and gone back to the routine. My journey has yet to end up. I will come back with more stories very soon. Bye for now…Shambwaditya Ghosh