Mauri! (Kirikara Koraua, Kiribati, ITP 2023)

Written by Kirikara Koraua, Assistant Museum Curator, Ministry of Internal Affairs (Kiribati, ITP 2023)

Mauri! I’m Kirikara Koraua from Kiribati, one of the countries from the Pacific (Oceania). I have been working as the assistant curator since 2019 at the Culture and Museum Division, which is the only museum in Kiribati, also known as Te Umwanibong (local name), under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Joining the ITP summer program this year is an exciting dream for me. Travelling to London for the very first time gave me the opportunity to spend two nights in Fiji meeting my family, friends and museum colleagues in Suva. It was a quite long trip for me, but it was fine and I appreciate everything arranged by Claire, George, Amelia and Ciprian and all ITP and British Museum teams. The adventure started in the first week by mingling with the 2023 ITP cohort and introductions to our different departments for our Object in Focus project. Working in a different group to do exercises has been so fun and interesting, it’s just the first week and it has gone beyond my expectations. I’m looking forward for more amazing things and continuing the adventure!

Last Friday 7th July, the morning session was a good exercise on audience experience as we learned and understood different issues and challenges to the public who visit the museum at different perspectives. The last activity of the week, Hands on Desk with the Volunteers team, was fun as we didn’t know the collection were given to work with was a mummy cloth! The day ended with a surprise gift of credit for our UK sims so we can enjoy our weekend at different parts of London and still stay in contact with each other. Overall, ITP summer schedule and the British Museum activities are the best week I ever had!

Photograph of the Kiribati display in the BM gallery.

Flashback to the second day of the programme, we walked to the Museum using the short way shown to us by Ciprian, entering the back door of the BM which led me to the collection of the day. Surprisingly, I couldn’t believe that there are Kiribati collections displayed at Oceania gallery. Meeting Alice Christophe, Froya Crabtree, and Kayte McSweeney from the Oceania department I was happy to hear about the project she worked on with Julie Adam together with the Kiribati community in the UK which makes things possible. I was admiring them and appreciating them for an amazing output.

Kiribati dancing and traditional costumes fascinated me by seeing people stop by and watching the short videos and reading about my country and I was pretty sure they would be curious and look for more information using Google. Overall, it is about my country, but these collections allowed me to connect and meet with Kiribati people who live in the UK and spend the whole weekend with them.

To end my blog post, I would love to introduce the next blog writer Mina Megalla, Curator, Boyana Church Museum which is part of the National History Museum in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is interested in learning more about conservation, photography, and archives as well as curating exhibitions by displaying collections in different ways. He is looking forward to more ITP surprises especially exploring London and Glasgow.