Season’s greetings and reflections on 2022

Written by Claire Messenger, Manager, International Training Programme

We wish the global network of International Training Programme (ITP) fellows, partners, supporters and followers Season’s Greetings and warmest wishes for the coming year!

2022 has been quite a year!!!  Following two years of the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Anna, George and I were keen to spend 2022 ‘catching up’ on the programmes and projects we weren’t able to deliver in 2020 and 2021.

This has been incredibly busy BUT enormous fun!!!

Over the last year, we were delighted to welcome 31 fellows from 26 countries to the UK to take part in two onsite ITP Annual Programmes (with 37 fellows from 31 countries completing our e-Learning).  It was wonderful to be able to welcome fellows back to the UK after two years and although the Programmes 2021 and 2022 were shorter and blended e-Learning and in-person learning, we had an incredible time and welcomed some amazing new fellows to our ITP global network.

Mohammad Al Qaisi (Jordan) and ITP colleagues during the 2022 annual programme

Since 2019 we have now added ten new countries to our global network – Bhutan, Cambodia, Chile (Rapa Nui), Jordan, Kiribati, North Macedonia, Peru, Singapore, Tunisia and USA – new connections that we hope will develop into long-term, sustainable and rewarding partnerships.

Kezia Permata and Tatevik Saroyan sitting next to each other during annual programme session

For the ITP 2021 we were joined, online, by Bilwa Kulkarni, Education and Program Coordinator (Consultant), Museum of Solutions, Mumbai (India, ITP Fellow 2015) as our Senior Fellow 2021.  Bilwa was able to support the ITP team developing and evaluating the e-Learning and networking with the fellows prior to their trip to the UK in 2022.

We were also excited to be able to welcome back Roshan Mishra, (ITP Fellow 2018) Director of the Taragaon Museum, Nepal to take on the role of Senior Fellow 2022. 

Roshan provided the 2022 cohort with knowledge of the course, of London and our UK partner museums and supported the ITP team helping with the logistics and development of the annual programme, offering ideas for our legacy and sustainability projects, and providing support to the ITP team and fellows during the programme.  He also worked with a BM colleague to create and develop a workshop looking at issues around restitution and repatriation.  Roshan proved to be an invaluable member of the ITP team and will continue to work with us though 2023 as ‘guest editor’ of the 10th issue of the ITP Newsletter.

ITP Senior fellow Roshan Mishra and ITP fellow Lotfi Belhouchet look at activity sheets from the ITP session on museum learning

We must send our heartfelt thanks to our supporters who have so generously continued to fund the onsite programmes and the e-Learning despite two years of disruption and challenges.  And our thanks too go out to our BM colleagues and UK and programme partners who have supported us creating, developing and delivering our onsite and online programmes with their usual energy, enthusiasm and creativity.

And as well as being able to deliver two Annual Programmes, the team made the decision to ‘catch-up’ on the legacy projects that had been delayed by the Covid pandemic.

ITP Futures, a co-design project which aims to capture the creativity of the programme’s 9 ITP Senior Fellows, had gone online throughout 2021 but in June 2022 we welcomed five of the International Training Programme Senior Fellows back to the British Museum.

ITP Futures discussion

The project looked ahead to the future, through a five-day discussion, collaboration and networking event, developing the best ways in which ITP’s Senior Fellows can help shape the future of both the Annual Programme and legacy projects. During the project, departmental colleagues and programme partners from around the British Museum and the UK joined us for a wider discussion enabling our network to help decide the future of the ITP and think about how it sits within the global heritage and cultural sector.

Participants for ITP Futures were:

Eileen Musundi taking notes during ITP futures discussion
  • Eileen Musundi, Head of Exhibitions, National Museums of Kenya (Kenya, ITP 2008, Senior Fellow 2013)
  • Rebecca Njeri Gachihi, Research Scientist, National Museums of Kenya (Kenya, ITP 2010, Senior Fellow 2016)
  • Hayk Mkrtchyan, Chair, ICOM Armenia (Armenia, ITP 2014, Senior Fellow 2017)
  • Mohamed Mokhtar, Curator, Abdeen Palace Museums (Egypt, ITP 2015, Senior Fellow 2019)
  • Bilwa Kulkarni, Head – Programming, Museum of Solutions (India, ITP 2015, Senior Fellow, e-Learning, ITP 2021)

The final report on the ITP Futures project can be read here.

This year we were excited to attend the Museum Association Annual Conference in Edinburgh in person!!  The Conference 2022 – Make Change Happen – was a perfect way to celebrate the world returning to its ‘new normal’.  The theme of the conference focused on the hope that the worst of the global pandemic is over and explored how museums can create better places to live and work in a post-Covid world and how museums need to tackle a number of crucial issues, including the climate crisis, inequalities and racism, the legacy of empire, and wellbeing.

ITP fellows at the Scottish National Gallery for the Museums Association Conference 2022

We were delighted to be joined by five colleagues from across the global network who had been waiting since 2020 to join us in the UK and attend the conference.

  • Nagwa Abdelzaher Mohamed Bakr (Egypt, ITP Fellow 2018), Community Engagement Officer, Ministry of Antiquities
  • Chantal Umuhoza (Rwanda, ITP Fellow 2018), Curator, Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR)
  • Alsu Akhmetzyanova (Uzbekistan, ITP Fellow 2019), Consultant, The World Bank Project
  • Ioan Oprea (Romania, ITP Fellow 2019), Conservator, National Museum of the Union Alba Iulia, Unity Museum
  • Marine Mkrtchyan (Armenia, ITP Fellow 2014), CEO, Russian Art Museum

The ITP fellows who attended the conference have been blogging about their MA Conference experience. You can read all the blogs by clicking here.

While it was amazing to catch-up on projects and programmes held over from 2020 and 2021, we were also able to deliver new legacy projects through 2022.  The ITP leadership programme was an opportunity aimed at new, emerging leaders and those fellows looking to develop their leadership and management skills to enable their career development through a short programme centred around leadership and management. 

Shambwaditya Ghosh, Andrea Terron and Yohana Frias in Edinburgh

Three ITP fellows were invited to join us between 29 October – 6 November 2022 at the British Museum for three days focusing on museums and leadership followed by three days at the Museums Association (MA) conference and exhibition, Edinburgh. The fellows included:

  • Ma. Yohana Frias, Media Production Specialist, National Museum of the Philippines (Philippines, ITP Fellow 2018)
  • Andrea Terrón Gomez, Head of Galleries, Bateman Gallery Foundation, Victoria (Guatemala, ITP 2017, Senior Fellow 2018)
  • Shambwaditya Ghosh, PhD Scholar, University of Delhi (India, ITP 2012, Senior Fellow 2015)

Throughout 2022 we have also been very happy to have been able to support ITP fellows in attending conferences and conducting research through our support grants. These grants allow the ITP to offer financial assistance to fellows to attend and participate in conferences and to conduct research which develops professional skills in the museum and heritage sector. We were thrilled to be able to support 10 ITP fellows this year to attend international conferences or conduct their professional and academic research.  And it was a delight to see so many ITP fellows catch-up at the ICOM Prague 2022, The Power of Museums – a real global networking opportunity!!

We have more updates to share on the results of these grants, so stay tuned for more blogs and outputs in the new year but you can see all our blogs on some of the completed support grants by clicking here.

And last, but certainly not least, working with colleagues in the Department of Egypt and Sudan we have supported Heba Khairy (Egypt, ITP Fellow 2017) to join us at the British Museum for a project to work on a co-curated display in the British Museum.

Heba Khairy in stands in a storage room at the British Museum and is taking a photograph of an Egyptian object shaped like a boat.

This project, to enable the British Museum to commemorate the centenary of the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (opened in November 1922), saw Heba co-curate a small display in Room 4, the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery, through objects from the Museum’s collection.  The display forms the last stop on a short Tutankhamun trail which focusses on the political and religious background of Tutankhamun’s reign. The theme of the case is the ‘legacy’ of Tutankhamun and how he is viewed by Egyptians today.

Room 4 modern Egypt display, showing modern interpretations of Tutankhamun

Heba was also been able to support the British Museum’s current Asahi Shimbun display in Room 3.

The exhibition, Tutankhamun: reimagined, seeks to explore both ancient and modern Egyptian relationships with the image of Tutankhamun, by placing both ancient and contemporary objects alongside each other. The British Museum has commissioned work by Egyptian graffiti artist Nofal O, a connection made possible by Heba, to mark this centenary.

We will be sharing a new page on the ITP website about Heba’s project in the New Year.

Thank you to everyone who has engaged with us this year, be it in-person, through social media, or by email. We all look forward to a happy, hopeful and healthy year to come, filled with lots more exciting ITP projects!