In summer 2014 the British Museum and seven UK partner museums collaborated to host 21 museum and heritage professionals on the ninth International Training Programme (ITP). From 3 August to 13 September 2014, colleagues from 12 countries across the globe spent six weeks in the UK sharing knowledge, skills and experience. For the first time we welcomed two participants from Armenia and one participant from Greece – partnerships which have continued to grow and flourish in future years.
An exciting addition to the 2014 programme was the newly opened World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre (WCEC). The WCEC has provided the Museum with a new public exhibitions space, the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, as well as state-of-the art laboratories and studios, and world-class stores for the collection. These purpose-built facilities have transformed the way in which the Museum works behind the scenes and it was wonderful for staff in these new spaces to share their experiences and give the ITP participants the opportunity to visit the conservation studios, science laboratories, photographic studios and storage areas.
Each week, on Friday afternoon, a topical discussion was held to explore different cultural and heritage issues that museum professionals face or might face in the future. The 2014 fellow worked in groups and were free to use any method to express their ideas and solutions – including sketches, quotes and graphs. Themes in 2014 included Tomorrow’s World: Futurology which look at how ‘futurologists’ forecast alternative futures and what place will museums have in these futures?; The Tomorrow People in which we explored the changing role of museums and the skills that future museum professionals will need to deal with those changes. And Take your Partners which focussed on possible partnerships and collaborations that might help shape and support your museums.
‘I found the topical discussion ‘Tomorrow’s World: Futurology’ very interesting as we brought up new and nice ideas that could possibly happen in the future.’ Waad Awisat (Palestine)
The ITP team were joined by the second past participant facilitator – a role that was becoming integral to the summer programme. Jana Alaraj, then architect, teacher and research assistant at Birzeit University Palestine (ITP 2011), brought her invaluable past experience of the Programme and her kind and generous personal and professional support to the 2014 ITP.
Finally, in 2014 we also welcomed our new ITP Assistant, Emma Croft, to the team. Emma had been at the British Museum since early 2014, working as a visitor experience assistant in Visitor Services before joining the ITP. Emma’s role was to assist with the coordination and delivery of the Programme and its legacy and sustainability projects which she did with creativity and enthusiasm.