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Shahira Banu

National University of Singapore Museum

Faculty Engagement Executive

Country: Singapore

ITP Year: 2022


In her role as Faculty Engagement Executive, Shahira works with faculty from the National University of Singapore on conceptualising, creating, and delivering curated content tailored to various courses and students depending on their learning objectives and disciplines. Her role also gives her the opportunity to be involved with collections handling, object viewing, content development, research, and event organisation and execution. The experience as an ITP fellow helped Shahira realise her interest in research, outreach and engagement, which she has taken with her in to her current role.

In 2022 Shahira was an MA student reading History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS on the Alphawood Scholarship. Through her studies, she had learnt about curation, exhibition design and interpretation alongside theories and methods in art history and the ITP annual programme gave her the opportunity to see those in practice.

Having the opportunity to study at SOAS gave Shahira the opportunity to learn from professors who are experts in their fields and to hear about their experiences as researchers and curators. Her research interests lean towards Southeast Asian Art Histories, especially Hindu art, and her dissertation explored how Hindu sculptures from temple structures in Southeast Asia have created absences when they were removed and generated new presences when eventually displayed at museums. Personally, Shahira is curious about performance arts inspired by the Hindu Ramayana epics in the region, and she enjoys reading about this in her spare time.

Shahira’s museum interests focus on education, exhibitions, collections databases and libraries and archives. A career aspiration is to work in a curatorial department and be involved in creating educational materials. Complementary to this would be learning about how a wealth of information is condensed and presented to the public in libraries and archives.

Shahira’s dream for museums of the future, is to increase people’s curiosity through the narratives within museums and their collections and exhibitions. She dreams for object-based learning to be a core component of learning across various levels of education, whether in institutes of learning or out f curiosity at any stage in life.

At the British Museum
During Shahira’s time on the International Training Programme she spent time in whole group sessions for a detailed overview of all aspects of the Museum’s work, both front of house and behind the scenes.  Shahira attended a range of subject specialist sessions, tailored sessions, chosen to reflect her professional interests, role profile and current projects and programmes.  She spent her UK partner placement at Norfolk Museums Service.

Shahira worked with the ITP 2022 participants to develop a 15-object trail based on a story they wanted to share based around the British Museum collection. The theme of the trail was food and drink and Shahira’s chosen objects were a set of twelve porcelain wine-cups from China.

Shahira’s place on the International Training Programme was generously supported by the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust.