Written by Claire Messenger, Manager, International Training Programme

Throwback Thursday – ITP+ Mumbai
Museums and Education, CSMVS Mumbai, 28 – 30 March 2019

In March 2019, with the generous support of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust and the Chhatrapati Shivji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), the British Museum (BM) was able to deliver its fourth ITP+ course, on Museums and education. The International Training Programme (ITP) team and colleagues from across the BM and the wider UK museum sector, were warmly invited by Mr Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director General CSMVS to Mumbai for a wonderful opportunity to bring together museum professionals from both inside and outside the ITP network, allowing for more cascaded, in-country training.

The course aimed to provide an opportunity for past ITP fellows to reconnect with other alumni, to introduce them to fellows from across the 14 annual programmes (2006-2019), and to provide a forum for museum and heritage professionals to create and support subject specialist networks. Through an open application process the BM was able to select six ITP fellows from five countries to attend and help facilitate the course.  

  • Paul Michael (ITP Fellow 2012) Museum Education Officer, National Museum of Tanzania
  • Rashidah Salim (ITP Fellow 2016) Malaysia
  • Fadzai Muchemwa (ITP Fellow 2017) Curator for Education and Public Programming, National Gallery of Zimbabwe
  • Namrata Sarmah (ITP Fellow 2018) Project Curator, Assam State Museum, Guwahati
  • Solomy Nabukalu (ITP 2018) Conservator, Kabale Museum, Uganda
  • Suruchika Chawla (ITP Fellow 2018) Researcher, Siddhartha Das Studio, India

We were also delighted to work again with three CSMVS ITP colleagues:

  • Manisha Nene (ITP Fellow 2011) Assistant Director, Galleries, CSMVS
  • Bilwa Kulkarni (ITP Fellow 2015) Assistant Curator of Education, CSMVS
  • Vaidehi Savnal (ITP Fellow 2016) India, Assistant Curator, International Engagement, CSMVS

And we had the opportunity to welcome to the workshop 15 participants from the museum and education sector in and around Mumbai who brought new and exciting voices to the conversation around museums and education in India.

Sessions included:

  • An introduction and welcome to the course.
  • A series of interpretation-based case studies from UK facilitators and ITP fellows from around the world.
  • Group project work which involved debating and brainstorming key issues around museum-based learning and a challenge to conceive and formulate a programme with learning outcomes for young audiences. Working groups then discussed and selected a young audience they would like to work with and created a learning programme for this audience based on their skills, experiences and the make-up of their group. Audiences could include: early years, primary, secondary, youth groups and families. Ideas for workshop programmes could include: Museum ‘takeovers’, supporting  schools, diversity, social inclusion, learning and wellbeing, learning partnerships, learning spaces, digital learning, leading and shaping museums.
  • Final presentations where groups were given 10 minutes each to present their projects and take comments and challenges from their colleagues.
  • The workshop closed with an evening panel discussion led by moderators Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Hartwig Fischer that looked at the future of the Children’s Museum at CSMVS Mumbai and potential frameworks for museum learning in the 21st century.

There was also the opportunity to stay for an additional day at the end of the course, giving participants the opportunity to reflect on the past few days and to explore more of Mumbai, and the abundance of heritage and culture it has to offer.       

We were delighted that our Director, Hartwig Fischer, and colleagues from our UK and Programme Partners, Ronan Brindley, Manchester Art Gallery; Tim Corum, Horniman Museum and Gardens; Ed Lawless, British Museum; Joanna Mawdsley, V&A Dundee and Jan Pitman, Norfolk Museums Service were able to join us and support the delivery of the workshop. 

Here our colleagues share some of their thoughts on the event:

“The experience which I found most useful was the opportunity to have an extended period of time alongside colleagues from around the UK and internationally who work in similar areas of museums. As a junior manager within the British Museum and having spent most of my professional life working there, it was an enlightening experience to understand how senior colleagues at different institutions within the UK and around the world conceived of their work and the work of their museums, particularly with regard to learning.”
Ed Lawless, Education Manager: Samsung Digital Learning Programme, BM

“It is always very energising to see how colleagues in other cities are responding to common challenges in different contexts. London and Mumbai are very different but there are also many similarities, not least the growing need to offer people the space to develop a sense of belonging. I was impressed with CSMVS’s sense of perspective, their ability to see the ‘big picture’ and how good they were at communicating this.  It was inspiring to see that their selection of values – Courage, Teamwork, Friendship, Peace and Caring for our Shared World – are universal in their appeal.”
Tim Corum, Director, Curatorial & Public Engagement, Horniman Museum and Gardens

“The ITP+ workshop was a wonderful opportunity to discuss good practice with colleagues from across the world. More than this, through meticulous planning and a positive, welcoming environment, everyone felt able to share issues and problems as well as more successful initiatives. I trust that, like me, all participants will have come away inspired by the experience; with different approaches in mind and with their belief in the importance and efficacy of museum learning renewed.”
Jan Pitman, Learning Manager, Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, Norfolk Museums Service

“A thoroughly enjoyable experience from start to finish. It was fantastic working alongside colleagues from a diverse range of backgrounds and specialisms.”
Joanna Mawdsley, Head of Learning, V&A Dundee,

“ITP+ Mumbai 2019 was a fantastic congregation of museum educators and their skills and experiences, with the aim of fashioning new ways of engaging audiences and sharing each other’s museum cultures.  Although responding to some different local priorities, there is more that binds us in our efforts to define our organisations and make our material culture useful and accessible to our communities – our key stakeholders. My experience throughout my time in Mumbai emphasised this as well as underlining that it has never been more important.”
Ronan Brindley, Head of Learning, Manchester Art Gallery

We’d like to say a final big ‘thank you’ to Saul Peckham, from Photography and Imaging at the British Museum, whose wonderful photographs documented our amazing trip and to Vineet Kajrolkar and Renuka Muthuswami, CSMVS for their help, support and generosity in the planning and delivery of the course.