After participants returned from their ten days UK partners’ placement, it was quite an exciting two days as we had very stimulating sessions on ‘Museum Management’ and ‘Cultural Heritage and Peace Building’. The first session was delivered by a number of senior figures in museums management. Mark Bates, Head of Governance & Planning discussed the structure of BM’s administration connecting the responsibilities between Board of Trustees and staffs. This session was an opportunity to know how the British Museum runs from a top level decision making body ‘Board of Trustees’ lower down to the staff and their interrelation in terms of management. Janet Vitmayer, Director, Horniman Museum and Gardens, (you remember her in my previous blogd) shared her experience of running the institution which is very different in nature. The last presentation was by Jonathan Williams, Deputy Director; British Museum, gave us a thought how the British Museum might be in the future. We discussed gallery plans, new methods of display and most optimistically how to reframe the collection departments on the basis of their nature and content.
The second exciting session was from Dr Jasper Chalcraft, School of Archaeology, University of Leicester. The topic of discussion was very relevant, considering how culture could be a contrivance for peace building in modern world. We worked on various cases studies divided into groups. This was the platform where everyone got the opportunity to discuss their regional issues on culture and conflict. Interesting to see everyone picking up an issue, analysing its cause, nature and providing suggestions of possible solutions.
Now in their own words, what they say about the last couple of days:
‘The effect of conflict on cultural heritage is the most challenging and controversial issue among the academic and also non-academic people. It is obvious, that the session about this topic should be really challenging among ITP people from different backgrounds and countries. I think Jasper clarified this issue and the way of analysing of the conflict is the best. I really enjoyed it.’ Sharareh Farokhnia, Iran
‘Visited Kenwood House and Hampstead Heath, very GREEN area! The afternoon tea with different cakes made by Frances was amazing indeed. It reminds me the time living with British family in north London…. On the way back to Schafer House from a friend’s house, the driver on the bus said I should buy the student ticket. I looked at him in the eyes and accepted the ticket with a smile. 50p is not much but me being a student to him is priceless.’ Olivia Zheng Xuan, China
Finally the most exciting part of this week – the visit of Kenwood House and Hampstead Heath on Saturday. Kenwood House is a former stately home on the northern boundary of Hampstead Heath north of London. Now it is managed by English Heritage, a governmental body which looks after historic buildings and sites across the UK. After the visit we walked down the Heath for tea at Frances Carey’s house. Frances is chair of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, one of the fond supporters of ITP. It was very kind of her to make all these different cakes on her own! Due to the rain we had to move inside her house but that gave us the opportunity to see the library she has built up over the period of time. Her house is full with books on various subjects nicely kept in every corner and walls. You know what I missed this when I was a participant; I fell sick on that day and could not make it but was so happy to be there this time.