Written by Anna Cottle, ITP Coordinator

Building inclusive educational resources through contemporary collecting

Shereen Hunte, Learning Programme Manager, Jewish Museum London

Frances Jeens, Interim Director, Jewish Museum London

Kathryn Wright, CEO, Culham St Gabriel’s Trust

The Jewish Museum London showcases how it has worked collaboratively with community partners to create inclusive and representative resources for teachers and students about Judaism and the Jewish community. This session was about its partnership approach to create anti-racism resources, including an online image library and seminar series.

Frances Jeens explained how the project started in reaction to similar images of white, male Jewish men often being used in the media and teaching to represent Judaism– outdated and inaccurate imagery which didn’t fully represent a diverse community. The aim of the year long project was to increase public understanding of Judaism and the Jewish community in all its complexity. The project brought partners together across all streams of the Jewish community to work together and had a number of outputs including image resource packs, teacher resources, public webinars, and diversity and inclusivity training.

Shereen Hunte was leading on the project and explains how it was split into three parts:

  • Contemporary collecting images of the Jewish community to develop a diverse and non-traditional representation.
  • Creation of an image library.
  • Teachers sessions and workshops

Shereen talks about how the team had to think about different ways of collecting these images and how to reach audiences who wouldn’t normally visit the museum for them. This was a temporary, one year project but long term and sustainable work that will continue into the future. Shereen feels that she was naïve when she started the project, thinking the work could be done in one year and realised quickly that the team also needed to think about how the project could be used moving forward into the future. For example, contemporary collecting was a big part of the project but the most vital thing was to develop relationships and trust with communities first which takes time, and so therefore reframing the aims of the project was important and embedding it into long term plans. The museum will continue to contemporary collect, work with communities and attend community events alongside using the collected imagery in workshops and learning projects in the museum.

Culham St Gabriel’s trust funded the project and Kathryn Wright, CEO, was asked why they wanted to support this project. Kathryn describes the grant application having well-articulated outcomes, clearly defined impact measures and creative and innovative outputs. The project fitted with the trust’s own aims surrounding learning and they were impressed with the museum’s track record of working with the education sector.

Talking more generally about what Culham St Gabriel’s want from grant applicants, Kathryn mentions that it is important for grantees to become part of their wider family and continue to connect much further down the line after the project has finished, so it is encouraging when someone seems keen to be part of a wider network. Things they would expect from a grantee are excellent communication about how the project is going, including both a short report and a second, longer report 6-12 months after the project has been completed, and they will sometimes request an ‘impact presentation’ from the grantee, to display what impact a project has had.

You can access The Jewish Museum’s 2021 progress report on this project here.