UK partner meeting in Manchester!

Written by George Peckham, ITP Coordinator

In March, ITP travelled to Manchester to meet with our UK partner colleagues and discuss plans for the upcoming annual programme. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have not been able to meet our UK partners in person since 2020! It was brilliant to finally be all together again!

Our UK partner meeting took place at Manchester Museum, but before that we had a chance to visit a couple of other museums in Manchester.

I had been wanting to visit the National Football Museum for years and I was so excited to finally get a chance to visit. I felt a little bit like a child in a sweet shop exploring all the different displays. The museum covers a comprehensive history of the sport of football and everything that goes into it. From the rules of the game, the history of famous clubs, players, stadiums, trophies, equipment, fan culture, no aspect of football goes unexplored in the museum.

Next we had some time for a quick look around Manchester Art Gallery. The latest exhibition, Dandy Style, explores men’s fashion from the 18th century to the present day. It was interesting to see how styles have evolved over the last 200 years.

Dandy Style exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery

Another display which caught my eye was called Out of the Crate, which presented sculptures in the gallery’s collection as if in a store room. Sculptures can be observed in open crates, on pallets and racks and gives an interesting insight into how museums store their objects behind the scenes. The display also reminded me a project shared on the ITP blog by Aprille Tijam (Philippines, ITP 2019) about Visible Storage at Ayala Museum.

Sculpture inside a crate at Manchester Art Gallery
Visible storage on display at Manchester Art Gallery

After a day of museums, we finally met with the UK partner reps for dinner at a popular haunt for ITP fellows in Manchester, Zouk’s Tea Bar.

ITP UK partners sitting at a table for dinner

The next day we all walked together to Manchester Museum for our UK partner meeting, where we discussed plans for the next annual programme which will take place this summer. After a four-year gap, the next annual programme will be returning to a six-week schedule and 10-day UK partner placement. It was great to share ITP plans with the UK partners and hear updates from their museums too.

After our meeting we had a chance to see the new galleries at Manchester Museum, which has recently reopened after a major redevelopment project. The new galleries include the Belonging Gallery, which uses comic book artists to present their narratives and reflect upon the what it means to ‘belong’ to a place, community, culture, or ourselves.

The Chinese Culture Gallery draws upon the historical and contemporary links between Manchester and China, exploring the cultural exchange brought to the city by trade and immigration.

Chinese Culture Gallery at Manchester Museum

It was exciting the see the South Asia Gallery, which is a British Museum partnership gallery, and explores contemporary British Asian and South Asian culture. It was large co-curated project, with input from various community groups from South Asian backgrounds. The gallery is full of colour, eye-catching contemporary artworks, and compelling stories.

To finish we saw the museum’s new exhibition hall, where the first exhibition is Golden Mummies of Egypt. Campbell Price gave us a fascinating highlights tour of the exhibition and told us of the compelling stories of what we know of the people inside the mummies on display.

Thanks to all out UK partners who were able to join us in Manchester! And thank you to Campbell for organising a brilliant day at Manchester Museum!