‘Small lives, humble distress, Tales of humdrum grief and pain, Simple, clear straightforwardness; Of the thousands of tears streaming daily/ A few saved from oblivion; No elaborate description, Plain steady narration / No theory or philosophy, No story quite resolved, Not ending at the end/ But leaving the heart uneasy. All the world’s unnumbered/Stories never completed/ Buds unripe torn Dust of fame unsung/ The love, the terror, the wrong Of thousands of lives unknown’. Rabindranath Tagore (William Radice Translation).
These lines are from the poet Rabindranath Tagore, who imagines the world without any territorial boundaries, meaning that human expression is universal. This expression describes how a short story can be well knitted, comprising human emotions into one place. It is a short story; which makes us more inquisitive to know further. Concluding the final review of ITP it came in my mind that it was a plot of a short story with twenty four characters. Their joys, sorrow, pain, suffering all are embraced into one place, each one relating to others by every possible means, although more realistic events than dramatic climaxes kept us busy for the last six weeks. We never realised that this was going to end soon but we tried to keep it continuing to reach its triumph. In the last week all realised there was not much time left to interact, the curtain would drop just after the last act, the ‘Final Day Presentation’. In this ultimate moment, the actions became even more amicable, and it was clear that everyone had adapted to their new roles. As scenes progressed we shared emotions, exchanged views and gave opinions.
This new role of mine surprised me to realise that I am in the last pages of the story. When I was in the same place I never realised the dynamism of being together in one group. Now I have seen from ‘Behind the Scenes’ how it is from the arrival to the end.
In their words:
“Sitting in the Hartwell room with my colleagues from across the world, I was thinking about the future of our profession. We should be more in touch, we should be more engaged, we should join forces to fight the many evils of our time–to protect heritage. But such partnerships do not come easy. Indeed, working together, as wonderful as it is, poses its own challenges. International teams are hard to formulate, even harder to work together if you are separated by some thousand kilometers. I was listening to Janet Vitmayer. She was explaining the importance of building networks–but not any network. A trust-based network of individuals will have a better chance of working together, and accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks. Such networks are precious; such networks require a lot of effort to build. Then I felt privileged, really, really privileged. Here I am, sitting in the room where the Trustees of the British Museum meet, with 23 other individuals very much like me. Individuals from across the world who share my professional passion. We had spent the last 5 weeks together. We had an intensive 6 weeks. This was no vacation, we worked, we learned (and, we had fun, yes we did!). It was a shared experience–and the intensity of this experience, I believe, makes all the difference. We now know each other much better than we realize–we talked, we discussed, we sometimes held opposing views, and we knew the strengths and weaknesses of others around us. Now we have the necessary tools to get involved in collective action– we can think of projects, we can be active in co-organizing events, we can write things together. And it is simply because we know each other much better than any other context would allow us to. I believe that out of this intense program the seeds of a trust-based network will emerge. We shall see.
And I will miss the Hartwell room. And my fellow ITP participants in it.” Tugba Tanyeri Erdemir, Turkey
“I have all day to prepare for the final proposal. It’s kinda exhausting. But at night, I was invited to a party gathered by the Egyptian colleagues. It’s so nice to eat Egyptian food and have fun with all the people!” Liu Shuzheng, China
“After all our efforts working on the Room-3 exhibition proposals, We have been waiting for such opportunity to visit the travelling exhibition ‘Celebrating Ganesha’ and touch the success of our colleague Manisha Nene; ITP past participant. Moreover, the lovely sun on the sandy beach was just amazing!” Wesam Mohamed Abd- El-Alim, Egypt
“One of the many positive and helpful sides of the BM ITP is providing books for participants that they would like to have… It is so important to support to their further activities … so and I was delighted to get one of my favorite author’s work on Museum Studies and others I will get in home … Than September 2 continued for me preparing my project presentation, which was valuable experience for me finding different connections between objects from different countries and different ages … I had a great time in British Museum.” Davit Poghosyan, Armenia
“Today was the grand finale of the ITP 2015!
We had to present our exhibition proposals to the BM staff, guests and colleagues 4:30pm onwards. Emotions were running high as I had to dress in a saree (which is not easy to tie without help), get my proposal printed off, set up for the evening and hope that my proposal would be well received by others. As the evening approached, all participants dressed smart, set up their tables and the room looked grand, decorated with strikingly creative proposals. The evening was busy as we had guests visiting our tables and engaging in conversations in regard to the ideas we had put forward. The reception was even more special for me as I had my parents, cousin and friends that I consider family come all the way for the grand finale!
It was an incredible evening with high energy in the room. Unfortunately, I didn’t get time to see my colleague’s proposals, but I believe they were all impressive!
At the end of the day I was happy as everything had gone well and sad to think that ITP was coming to an end. The ITP had given each one of us so much more than just training us to be competent museum professionals. I met the most diverse set of colleagues I have ever had – each special in their own way!
I achieved what I had expected out of the ITP – to learn and to grow!” Vasundhra Sangwan, India
“The final day was different for me. I have finished and expected my proposal project successfully. I have never ever talked so much like that in my life, but I was really so happy. It was an amazing day.” Abdulaziz Al Amri. Saudi Arabia
It is quite difficult for me to conclude this as I never thought that I will have to write the last words. As it said in the beginning, it both ends and never ends…
Congratulations to all of our ITP 2015 participants on their exhibition proposals. A separate post with all the proposals will be posted on the blog soon!