Hello, my fellow ITP colleagues. My name is Topy Fiske, and I have been a volunteer in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan for 12 years. Initially, I edited books and articles then moved to assist primarily with the AES Annual Colloquium and Sackler Lecture.
Before volunteering at the BM, I was the Senior Editor for News Desks and Operations for the Los Angeles Times where I participated in numerous award-winning team projects, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Humanitarian Award. When not at the BM, I edit articles, books and dissertations for scholars worldwide, attend and enjoy concerts and museums, and travel when possible. Last year I went around the world by ship for four months with students from at least 60 countries. Afterwards I said I would never do it again, but would you believe that I am considering another voyage next year, this time to a different continent? I guess that’s why you should never say never!
Several years ago I was asked to help with the ITP, and it has become my full-time assignment at the BM ever since. This is an especially exciting time for the programme which is now in its 10th year. As is always the case, the staff has prepared new documents and venues and invited new facilitators to keep the sessions fresh and interesting.
So what do I do? Before the programme starts each summer, my main task is designing and editing the annual course book and any of the slide shows. Once the programme begins, I assist as needed in any capacity, including helping to troubleshoot issues that may arise, accompanying participants to their 10-day stay with our ITP UK Partner museums, and filling in where needed to keep the sessions moving.
I have been so impressed with all of you this year, especially with the cooperation and helpfulness you have displayed toward one another. I have been especially impressed with the questions you have asked of the contributors and the networks you are building with one another.
This year’s sessions are tailored precisely to give you a well-rounded programme so that when you return to your home countries, you will return with a grander view of heritage work as a whole and a better understanding of your place in it. Remember that nothing you do in life is wasted. Over time, you will understand how much you have improved your problem-solving skills and how often you will apply what you have learned at the ITP. Not only will you become more valuable to your own organisation but you will also deepen your own experience every day of your lives, and this, to me, is the ultimate reward of having participated in the ITP.