In May we invited back three past participants for a week’s programme to reunite participants, BM staff and the ITP team, forge new networks, share ideas and finally, deliver a very special ITP Staff Breakfast.
We were joined by Njeri Gachihi, National Museums of Kenya (ITP 2010); Nourah Sammar, Birzeit University – Palestine (ITP 2009) and Nelson Abiti, Uganda National Museum/University of East Anglia (ITP 2013).
For those who don’t know, the British Museum “staff breakfast” is a weekly event where colleagues from around the museum can socialise over tea and coffee, and listen to the projects and research of fellow BM staff members.
2015 and 2016 mark the 10th Anniversary of the International Training Programme, so we wanted to do something very special for our yearly staff breakfast talk: to let the voices of our participants, the most important partners in the ITP, be heard.
Njeri, Nourah and Nelson were asked to speak to BM colleagues and supporters about their own personal experiences of the programme, and how it has affected their institutions and their countries. We also developed and delivered a week’s programme with sessions providing further insight into BM practices and issues, to reflect on the ITP’s past and to share ideas about the programme’s future.
The week also coincided with ICOM’s International Museum Day, giving us the opportunity to explore different approaches to the event’s theme of Sustainability and museums. More information on this event can be found here:
Topics for the week included:
“Sustainability Practices” with a trip around the new, energy efficient World Conservation and Exhibition Centre (WCEC) led by Tracey Sweek, Conservator: Stone, Wall Paintings and Mosaics, and Philippa Ryan, Principal Investigator as well as chief photographer John Williams.
“Know Your Audience”. This day started with an exhibition tour from Ian Jenkins, Curator, Greece and Rome, whose public speaking skills and ability to captivate audiences gave Njeri, Nourah and Nelson some excellent ideas for their own talks. Afterwards, our participants heard about staff engagement and staff breakfasts from Christopher Lazenby, Deputy Head of Human Resources: Engagement, and prepared for their upcoming presentation with feedback from their BM colleagues.
“Back to the Future”. This was a brainstorming day, with a look at the ITP’s past and future with Shezza Rashwan, Training and Development Coordinator for the ZNM Project and ITP Coordinator 2010 – 2014 and a session on business and future planning from Rosemary Folkes, Business Planning and Implementation Manager of the Zayed National Museum Project.
Fantastic ideas were shared, and Njeri and Nourah are now creating their own future plans for the ITP – watch this space!
The staff breakfast itself was a great success – Njeri, Nourah and Nelson spoke beautifully of their own personal experiences and stories, as well as how the ITP has impacted their work and institutions. There were some happy tears and cheers from the audience! It also gave BM staff members, some of whom have been involved in the ITP for many years, the chance to see the positive and on-going results of their commitment.
Of course, the week would not be complete without an ITP day trip, this time to York, where we visited the Yorkshire Museum, York Minster, the Shambles and had a well deserved lunch and cake at Betty’s.
We’re all so pleased and proud to have Njeri, Nourah and Nelson as ITP advocates, and look forward to hearing their ideas and yours, to ensure the future of the programme.