The end is here (Ciprian Dobra, Romania, Senior Fellow 2023)

Written by Ciprian Dobra, Alba Iulia Municipality Counselor and Cultural Objective Curator, Principia Museum (Romania, ITP 2019, Senior Fellow 2023)

Ominous words, but they only refer to the end of the 2023 ITP programme. They were challenging but fun 6 weeks with the fellows. But now, the programme is over. There is only a final gathering together tonight (Saturday) and then leaving tomorrow.

I am both happy for them and sad for me. Happy for them that they will see their families and friends, sad for me because they are leaving and who knows when we will see each other again. I still miss my 2019 fellows and I feel like they just left yesterday, leaving a hole in my heart, and that hole is getting bigger because now I have more friends, but these friends are all away. Far away. I hope they are and will be alright and happy no matter what.

Thomas Kiely, curator of Ancient Greece and Cyprus, taking a photo of 2023 ITP fellows Ali Demirkiran, Elif Buyukgencoglu, and Aymen Chihaoui at the Object in Focus reception.

It was a challenging time for them being here for the first time, and it was challenging for me being in this position. But we managed to do it, and, in the end, I was happy to see all of us as a team.

The last days were busy with the Object in Focus presentations and evaluations. I was very proud of them for the different approaches they took on their respective objects. The human mind is an amazing thing and offers so many perspectives. I was amazed by the fact that all the guests were so keen to learn about these perspectives, to try the different hands on desk activities (watching Bill Griffiths sewing leather was quite a view), meeting new people, like Danny from the Africa, Oceania and Americas department who greeted me in Romanian because his parents are Romanian, then Cynthia Iruobe from Nigeria, former 2010 ITP fellow, and also talking to previous acquaintances like Frances Carey and Bill Griffiths and Hartwig Fischer, the director of the BM who came back to the microphone after his speech to congratulate me personally for my work here (thank you Claire for that). I should be more modest but it was a shocking surprise that brought tears in my eyes and a knot in my throat so I was speechless. These congratulations must have been given to the ITP team – Claire, George and Amelia. Without them and their work, my work and the entire program would have not been possible.

The quiz winners: Kolawole Adeyera, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Mina Megalla.

Friday was evaluation day and eye opening to the future perspectives of the fellows should they choose to remain in touch with the network. The experience does not end here and the opportunities are many. Hopefully some of these align and we get to see each other in the future.

After that, the farewell barbeque was amazing, and we had great fun and the talks were never merrier. However, we’re set for another fun evening in Schafer House for today. It is Saturday and they are going to leave tomorrow.

Ciprian taking a selfie with ITP Assistant Amelia Kedge, Elif Buyukencoglu, and Rucha Vibhute at the ITP farewell BBQ.

The atmosphere is indescribable: both happy and sad. But life goes on and the Earth is round. Eventually we will meet again. Until then we are so lucky to live in these technologized times where everybody is just a touch of a screen away.