The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) has sponsored a place on the summer Programme since 2013. In 2014 the SKD generously offered to additionally support the legacy programme by offering two fully funded fellowships a year to former ITP participants at one of their 14 museums in Dresden and Leipzig. The fellowships, lasting between six weeks and three months, give the fellows the opportunity to become part of the team of one of SKD’s international research projects and to further their knowledge, skills and international networks. In 2014, Dresden hosted 2 of the ITP alumni, Antonio Luis Ntimbanga (Mozambique, ITP 2009) and Sun Yue (China, ITP 2010)
Last week I visited colleagues at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) to discuss the 2015 Dresden Research Fellowships and to see Ayman Al-Shweiki who is currently working and living in Dresden. Ayman is Assistant of the Collections Director at the Yasser Arafat Museum and Collections Curator at the Birzeit University Museum and came on the ITP from Palestine in 2012
This year the SKD have welcomed 3 ITP past participants, Ayman and Constantinos Vasiliadis, Senior Conservator – Coordinator of the Sculptures Conservation Laboratory, Acropolis Museum, Athens (Greece, ITP 2014) for the Dresden Research Fellowships 2015. And Davit Poghosyan, Lecturer and Researcher, Armenian State Pedagogical University and Service For The Protection Of Historical Environment And Cultural Museum-Reserves (Armenia, ITP 2015) who visited Dresden and Leipzig for one week as part of his SKD sponsorship on the 2015 summer programme.
While it was really a shame not to see all three past participants it was wonderful to be able to meet with Ayman again after nearly 3½ years. Ayman is based in the Japanese Palace, the home of the Senckenberg Natural History Collections and the Museum of Ethnology – a beautiful building on the banks of the Elbe. He has been working with Anke Scharrahs, Conservator at the SKD, on the Dresden Damascus Room, an almost complete wooden wall panelling and ceiling from an early 19th century private residence in Damascus.
Ayman took time out to tell me about his research on the Damascus Room project which has focussed on lifestyle and hospitality practices in 19th century Damascus and other cities.
Dresden and Leipzig are both wonderful cities with a rich and vibrant cultural scene and I hope that many of you will consider applying for the Dresden Research Fellowships in 2016. Details of their projects and programmes will follow next year but please don’t hesitate to contact me, my colleague Dana Korzuschek in the International Relations Department at the SKD or any of our past Dresden Fellows if you want advice or information on this amazing opportunity.