In 2011 the British Museum, in collaboration with six other UK museum organisations, hosted 22 specialists from 11 countries on the sixth International Training Programme (ITP). The participants represented an array of individuals who will help shape the future of museums: from an ethnographer from São Paulo, to a publications officer from the National Museum of China, the Director of Babylon Site Museum, a conservator from the National Museum of Afghanistan, and Museums Experts from Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Innovations for 2011, based on the ITP teams’ observations and feedback from the ITP fellows participants, included mixed flats and partner placements and an evening reception for patrons.

For the first time, the participants were assigned to mixed-nationality flats and UK Partner placements. This facilitated more cross-cultural communication and saw personal friendships and professional relationships flourish quicker.

And the Patron’s Reception acknowledged the generous support of the Trusts and individuals which made the Programme possible. Objects from the British Museum’s collection were chosen by the participants and displayed on tables in the Enlightenment Gallery. This allowed discussion and interaction to take place between ITP fellows, the collection, BM staff and guests.

And the mixing continued!!  As in previous years, the participants were asked to develop a proposal for a small temporary exhibition in a space similar to Room 3 at the British Museum. Using knowledge of their own cultures and experiences from the International Training Programme, the participants proposed an exhibition concept inspired by British Museum objects. The new element added this year was a stipulation that group projects should be composed of multiple nationalities.

These key innovations, which we have continued with today, mean that the programmes are ever more successful and effective.  They have ensured that the ITP continues to put networking and collaboration, at a global level, as it’s principal aim.