Written by Diana Digna, Designer, National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (ITP 2019, Sudan)

When I had the opportunity to attend the International Training Programme I was so happy to get this chance. A full training programme in an international museum in a city everyone wants to be in. When I told my kids they said to me ‘we are very happy for you mum,’ but inside them and myself it was so different. We had never been away from each other and I know that they didn’t really want me to leave, but they didn’t say it.

When I reached London it was so hard for me at the beginning, leaving my kids and to live with people I have never met before – everything felt strange. I met Emily Shaw (ITP team member) in the airport and I felt so comfortable. She looked so kind, she took me to Schafer House and told me everything that happened over the first week. The first ITP participants I met were Buket and Jasmine. For the first night I had a problem with sleeping and in the morning I met the rest of the participants while on our journey to Brighton for the day. When we arrived I saw Claire Messenger (ITP Manager) for the first time – what an amazing woman. The day was so beautiful, we visited the Brighton Museum and Pavilion, had lunch and went to the beach.

Our first day in Lincoln

When I joined the ITP sessions I immediately liked the organisation and hard work. I felt the value of time for the first time in my life. After three weeks in London we went to Lincoln for our UK Partner Placement. We went to Lincoln with George Peckham (ITP team member), who is a wonderful person in every way. We met Andrea Martin and Dawn Heywood of The Collection: Art and Archaeology in Lincolnshire at the train station and they arranged a wonderful programme for us. I gained a lot of useful information from Andrea about the ways of display in addition to new information about excavations and restoration.

We visited lots of different places in Lincoln, lastly Belton House; a historic building located in Lincolnshire where we had a great time with Andrea and Dawn. What I really like was that the tickets for entry to the house were keys. I think it was a beautiful idea that I wanted to keep as a souvenir.

We went on to Nottingham for the second part of our partner placement. We met Clare Pickersgill (Keeper, University of Nottingham Museum) and we spent the most beautiful days with her between the museum and the university. We even had a surprise visit to Peel Street Caves. Nottingham is characterised by many caves and this cave is currently under restoration.

Ten days passed very quickly and we returned to London with a different feeling and prepared to focus on our Object in Focus projects. The reception was a special day for everyone and it was wonderful to see the results of everyone’s hard work and effort.

I am writing to you from the plane on the way back home. Within me were the same sensations that I felt at the beginning, but this time it was sadness to leave London and everyone I had met there. I was excited to see my kids again.

My view from the plane as I leave the UK

Thanks a lot to Claire, George, Emily, the Senior Fellow Mohamed Mokhtar and all the staff at the British Museum for all the effort and support you have given us. I want to say I loved it all and I am so happy for the days I got to spend on the ITP.

With my respect and love,

Diana