Written by Claire Messenger, Manager, International Training Programme

In March 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Museum’s Director took the very difficult decision to defer the ITP summer programme and participants were invited to join a rescheduled programme in 2021.

After many months of lockdown, the Museum re-opened its doors to the public on May 17.  With other mitigating measures – mask wearing, limited visitor numbers and social distancing – set to remain in place until at least 21 June we felt that this year we wouldn’t be able to deliver an ITP summer programme, in July and August, in its usual format. However, in collaboration with our wonderful and supportive colleagues around the Museum and our UK Partner Museum network, we will be reshaping the annual programme into a new and exciting format.

For 2021 the ‘summer’, now ‘annual’ programme, will split into two parts:

Online e-learning

The e-learning will be a series of sessions designed and created specifically for the ITP cohort 2021.  They will be delivered online over a period of 8 weeks with one session, plus supporting resources and engagement projects, released each week.  The sessions will be recorded in advance (live, whole group sessions, will not be possible due to time differences in this year’s cohort) which will give the participants time and space to watch, engage and respond at a time and place that works best for them.

These sessions will cover:

1.           Introductions which will contextualist the annual programme, introduce them to BM, colleagues in the Museum and around the UK, and to culture and heritage in the UK.

2.           Eight ‘core skills’ modules which will include, amongst others, collections management; audiences; permanent and temporary displays; management and leadership; conservation; loans and digital engagement.

3.           A series of eight ‘in discussions’ on current and topical issues in the culture and heritage sector.

These sessions will be delivered between August and October this year.

On-site bespoke programme

A visit to the UK – for BM and UK Partner placements – of four weeks for a series of tailored sessions based on the participants role profiles and current projects and programmes.  Sessions will be 1-1; smaller subject specialist groups and departmental time with curators and collections interspersed with visits to other museums and will include a four-week project based around museum displays – our Object in focus project.

For the on-site programme – taking into consideration continuing uncertainty regarding travel, testing and vaccination regimes across the UK and the 2021 cohort countries – we are currently planning for this to take place in November 2021 but we are all aware we may need to be flexible!!

What next??

So now the ITP team are working with our fellows 2021 to get to know them, learn more about their institutions, their roles and their current projects and programmes.  We will be looking forward to introducing them to our ITP global network and inviting them to join and follow us on our social media platforms.

And we are working with our colleagues across the British Museum and the UK on our e-learning.  Deciding on structure, content, engagement projects and what systems we will use to best deliver our learning to our ITP cohort 2021.

While 2021 will, I’m sure, be uncertain, challenging and subject to change, we are looking forward to virtually, getting to know our ITP Fellows 2021, introducing them to this year’s annual programme, the British Museum and our UK and Programme Partners.  We are also excited to bring a new cohort of fellows – from some interesting new countries – to our network and we hope you will help us connecting with our new cohort and welcoming them to our ITP family.