UK partner meeting in Glasgow

Written by Claire Messenger, Manager, International Training Programme

In February, ITP team travelled to Glasgow to meet with our UK partner colleagues and discuss plans for the upcoming annual programme.

Our UK partner meeting took place at The Burrell Collection, Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023, and our meeting was followed by a tour of the Museum with Ed Johnson, Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Art – more about that later.

We were delighted to be joined by colleagues from across our UK Partner museums – Campbell, Ronan and Stephen (Manchester), Claire (Nottingham), Sarah (Norwich) – and to be hosted by Pat, Ed and Martin (Glasgow).  During the meeting, an annual UK Partners catch-up, we discussed plans for the next annual programme which will take place this summer from 8 July to 16 August. We focused on discussions around our 2024 cohort, key dates and deadlines, themes for the programme and, of course, the Object in focus project and what our colleagues around the UK can do to support that.  We also spent time talking about the ITP’s legacy plans for 2024 and considered how our UK Partners can help us develop and deliver our those projects.

The ITP team and UK partners photographed at the Burrell Collection.

It was wonderful to be able to share news and views from across the culture and heritage sector and to brainstorm ideas for the annual programme 2024.

After our meeting we had a chance to see the beautifully renovated galleries and displays at The Burrell Collection.  The 9,000 objects, donated to the city by Sir William Burrell (1861–1958) who was born and raised in Glasgow, are spectacular and includes one of the most significant holdings of Chinese art in the UK, medieval treasures including stained glass, arms and armour and over 200 tapestries which rank amongst the finest in the world, and paintings by renowned French artists including Manet, Cezanne and Degas.

One of the highlights of the collection is the sculpture of St Walburga of Eichstätt accompanied by four nuns.  Dating to around 1600-1625, this piece made for inclusion in a large German altarpiece, depicts English missionary St Walburga worked to Christianise the people of Southern Francia (modern Southern Germany).

As the ITP team are currently working on the Newsletter 2024, we were particularly interested to seeing the technology being used to great effect in the galleries – truly the best I’ve seen in a museum in the UK.  The ‘tombstones’ which tell the story of the collection, the screens highlighting the objects from the collection and the touchscreen ‘activities’ for children (and adults!!) are amazingly and add a valuable layer to the interpretation.

For me, I think one of the most incredible aspects of the Burrell is its location and the building.  When donating his collection, Sir William Burrell stipulated it should be housed where people could appreciate the art in a countryside setting. After many years of searching for a suitable site, the opening of the museum in Pollok Country Park in 1983 was received with much critical and public acclaim.  Seeing the Burrells’ collection against the backdrop of the surrounding parkland – in a building specifically designed to sit in the space – is glorious.

Thanks to all out UK partners who were able to join us in Glasgow! Thank you to Pat, Ed and Martin for hosting us and for organising a wonderful day at The Burrell Collection!  And you can read more about the Burrell Collection here