Written by Claire Messenger, Manager, International Training Programme
The role of Senior Fellow plays a vital part in the ITP team for each summer programme. Each year since 2013 the role of Senior Fellow is taken on by a former ITP Fellow to help facilitate the annual programme and is an invaluable member of the ITP team. They help us with the logistics and development of the summer programme, offer ideas for our legacy and sustainability projects, and provide support to the ITP team and fellows during the summer. Having participated on the summer programme previously they provide fellows with knowledge of the course, of London and our UK partner museums – before, during and after the programme.
Since 2017 the Senior Fellow has also taken on the role of guest editor of the annual ITP Newsletter. They develop the theme based on their current thinking around the present and future of museums or issues in the wider cultural sector. Working with our global network they help us build and shape content and design.
In return for their support, the role offers the Senior Fellow the opportunity to gain further training in the delivery and development of skills-sharing programmes, to reconnect with BM and UK partner colleagues and to make new connections across our global network.
Our Senior Fellows since 2013
- Eileen Musundi (Kenya, ITP 2008, Senior Fellow 2013), Head of Exhibitions, National Museums of Kenya.
- Jana Alaraj (Palestine, ITP 2011, Senior Fellow 2014), Digital and Social Media specialist, Viennacontemporary International Art Fair.
- Shambwaditya Ghosh (India, ITP 2012, Senior Fellow 2015), PhD Scholar, University of Delhi.
- Rebecca Njeri Gachihi (Kenya, ITP 2010, Senior Fellow 2016), Medical Anthropologist, National Museums of Kenya.
- Hayk Mkrtchyan (Armenia, ITP 2014, Senior Fellow 2017), Director, Association of Museum Workers and Friends NGO.
- Andrea Terrón Gomez (Guatemala, ITP 2017, Senior Fellow 2018), Museum Specialist and Independent Consultant, freelance, based in Canada.
- Mohamed Mokhtar (Egypt, ITP 2015, Senior Fellow 2019), Curator, Abdeen Palace Museums.
- Bilwa Kulkarni, (India, ITP 2015, upcoming Senior Fellow ) Education and Programme Coordinator (Consultant), Museum of Solutions.
What our Senior Fellows have told us about their experiences
‘The International Training Programme plays a very big role in fostering positive personal and international relations. Its innovative and dynamic approach contributes to its success. These legacy projects will go a long way in ensuring the longevity of this Programme. ‘Long live ITP!
‘This unique experience as the Senior Fellow has helped me see the past and the present afresh, and has motivated my creativity, enabling me to translate what I have learnt and what I believe in my field to others in my country. I have also experienced the ITP in more ways than learning to organise a programme, transmitting knowledge, and reconnecting with past participants. I have also learnt how to inspire others to discover their potential’.
‘The ITP Senior Fellow initiative gave me an opportunity to work behind the scenes before, during and after the summer programme. It offered me management experience in administration, communication, finance and logistics, and I found that different methods and approaches were needed to adapt and focus on the needs of our main stakeholders, the participants. Their diverse interests, experience and skills affect the programme’s execution, which gives the flexibility of learning about both personal and professional interests’.
‘The opportunity to be the link between fellows and the ITP team was a great one, giving me a chance to experience both worlds. I was very keen to listen to what was happening – both to fellows’ aired thoughts as well as working out the hushed and buried ones. It meant being very close to fellows and at the same time working out an opening to guide them. Additionally, I attended all the sessions, further building my knowledge base as a museum professional.’
Rebecca Njeri Gachihi
The role has been a real privilege, I made real suggestions, proposed new ideas and was able to bring fellows’ voices to the attention of the ITP team’
‘I was pleased when I saw some changes in the programme that we had suggested to the Senior Fellow in 2017, and it feels good to be taken into consideration. This experience is revitalising and reassuring for one’s career and future projects’
‘I was very happy to be back and to take part in this amazing experience again as the first time it had helped me a lot to reshape my ideas regarding working as a museum professional.’
The future for our Senior Fellows
We are now working on a project with our Senior Fellows, titled ITP Futures 2021 with the aim of looking ahead to the future and using our ITP Senior Fellows network to help us begin the discussions that will help to shape the future of both the summer programme and legacy projects. We had hoped to invite all our SF’s back to the UK in 2020 to mark the ITP’s 15th Anniversary and the Museum’s recent commitment to the programme until at least 2025. Sadly, due to the COVID pandemic, the return to London couldn’t happen so we took the project online and since January 2021 we have enjoyed sharing news and views on the definition of museums; the ITP summer programme and legacy projects; communications; e-learning; BM department and UK partner placements; networking and partnerships and advocacy and access.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our ITP Senior Fellows – I hope the role has been as much fun for you all as it has been for me. Having you as part of our team, based with us in the ITP offices, has been wonderful – I’ve loved being able to spend more time with you all. And for anyone who would like to take on the role in the future, please look out for the call for applications later this year.