In 2009 twenty-two curators, archaeologists and specialists from ten countries – China, Egypt, Ghana, India, Iraq, Mozambique, Palestine, Sudan, Turkey and Uganda – joined us for the summer programme. Numbers of fellows were rising and so did our supportive network of UK partners with Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery joining Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, The Collection – Lincoln, Glasgow Museums, Manchester Museum/The Whitworth Art Gallery and Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums.
And at last fellows took part in the first iteration of what is now ‘Object in focus’. Back in 2009 though it was a morning of presentations, in which groups of 1-3 participants, each presented a 10 minute illustrated talk, prompted by the following question – Create a new display of your culture at the British Museum Using your knowledge of your own cultures, please develop a proposal for a small temporary exhibition on some aspect of your own cultures. The exhibition should be based on British Museum objects.
The presentations proved extremely engaging, with differing styles and approaches, but a wealth of new ideas. Participants were encouraged to be openly critical of current displays, and to feature ideas and approaches they had experienced during their six weeks in the UK. We saw a wide breadth and range of presentations from ‘Beads speak – beads from Ghana’ to the ‘Nereid Monument – a new display’.
2009 also saw the introduction of a new digital element to support the ITP’s aim of global networking with a closed Facebook group designed to facilitate communication between participants, British Museum staff and staff members from the Partnership UK Museums. Back then we only had 17 members of our group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/BMITP/?ref=bookmarks – today we 628 fellows, friends and supporters who follow us.
I hope you enjoy this week’s blog post – there are some lovely images and great memories that I’m delighted to share.