In summer 2015, the British Museum and 10 UK partner museums welcomed 24 culture and heritage professionals to the tenth annual ITP. From 26 July to 5 September colleagues from 13 countries took part in the programme, which aims to give participants a wide and varied an experience of skills and practice in the UK museum sector.
New for 2015 we welcomed participants from four regions for the first time: Kurdistan, Malaysia, Tajikistan and Saudi Arabia and it was wonderful to see our global network continue to grow. We were also delighted to be joined by our third ITP Senior Fellow, Shambwaditya Ghosh (India, ITP Fellow 2012), who supported the ITP team in the build up to, during and after the Summer Programme.
Each year the programme develops to reflect the external evaluation, staff feedback, and recognition of current areas of concern in the heritage sector and that continued in 2015. The ITP team added a presentation and tour of the British Museum’s archives to the day on collections management. At the end of the programme the group divided into small working groups for subject specialist sessions on project management, exhibitions, international engagement, membership programmes and the development of the World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre, all based on the participants’ role profiles and projects. And as a means to enable further interaction between the ITP team and the participants, new breakfast drop-in sessions each Wednesday allowed everyone to share concerns and discuss issues in an informal setting.
In 2015 participants spent a day at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, with tours of the museum’s galleries followed by smaller group sessions including outreach and education, exhibitions and conservation. They also visited the Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove for a day exploring their current projects, programmes, exhibitions and galleries.
But the summer also marked the first involvement of English Heritage with the ITP, a welcome addition to the summer programme which created a platform to discuss how heritage sites and buildings are managed in the UK. It also helped to introduce the issues around Stonehenge before the participants’ visited this iconic World Heritage site.
Another first for the ITP in 2015 was a full-day session at the Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth, which allowed participants to see the travelling exhibition From temple to home: celebrating Ganesha – conceptualised by Manisha Nene (India, ITP Fellow 2011). Staff also helped participants learn more about the collections, both front and back of house.
The participants also attended a reception at Wellcome Collection, where they met colleagues from the Wellcome Trust to learn about their international and national projects, and to take part in engaging and interactive hands-on workshops. As well as offering participants additional experiences and networks, these new programme partnerships sowed the seeds for the ITP’s future development.