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Dr. Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum will speak at 2019 Working Internationally Conference

Dr. Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool will join the session on Museums & Migration at the 2019 Working Internationally Conference.

Dr Richard Benjamin image © Simon Webb

The Museums & Migration session is chaired by Catherine McDermott, ICOM UK Secretary and Professor, Curating Contemporary Design, Kingston
University.  Catherine and Benjamin will be joined by Sophie Henderson, Director, Migration Museum Project.

View the full conference programme and book your ticket at https://wiconf2019.eventbrite.com

Richard heads the International Slavery Museum at National Museums Liverpool where he is responsible for the strategic development of the Museum, including its forthcoming education and resource centre, partnerships, research and collection policies. He is also the Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, a partnership with the University of Liverpool.

Richard gained a BA (Hons) degree in Community and Race Relations at Edge Hill College and then went on to complete an MA and Ph.D. in Archaeology at the University of Liverpool. In 2002 he was a Visiting Research Scholar at the W.E.B.DuBois Institute of African and African American Research, Harvard University and appointed as the head of the International Slavery Museum in 2006. He is a Trustee of the Anthony Walker Foundation, President of the Commonwealth Association of Museums and on the Editorial Board for MONITOR: Global Intelligence on Racism magazine.

His current research interests include imaging violent acts and trauma in museums and the archaeology of modern slavery and enslavement.

Lukas Nohrer, Researcher of ‘The Art of Exit: The English Museum Sector Before Brexit’ will speak on the Brexit panel session at WI2019

Lukas Nohrer, Art Historian & Museologist, will be one of the speakers on the Brexit panel discussion (15:45 – 16:30) at the 2019 Working Internationally Conference.

To view the programme and book tickets visit https://wiconf2019.eventbrite.com

Lukas mainly focussed on museum practices, curatorial strategies and policy research.  He is currently working as a freelance researcher in Manchester.  Before moving to the UK he worked at Vienna’s Albertina Museum on visitor experience and collection policies.

His latest research investigated The Art of Exit: The English Museum Sector Before Brexit – Challenges for Museums of Leaving the European Union and What Impact it Might Have focussing on policies and voices around the museum sector and its stakeholders.

Lukas will start a PhD at the University of Manchester in September and his research will explore the contribution of Artificial Intelligence to the public art museum, developing knowledge of the role of AI in a cultural environment and understanding what impact AI will have on public trust.

Leeanne Westwood, Curator, Valence House Museum: blog from Bermuda visit

Leeanne Westwood, Curator at Valence House Museum recently travelled to Bermuda on an ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant.  This is the blog post that Leeane wrote during her visit.  Her full trip report will be available shortly as a Case Study on the ICOM UK website.

Through the eyes of an artist: walking in the footsteps of Alice Eliza Jane Fanshawe

In 1870 Alice Fanshawe arrived in Bermuda with her father Admiral Sir Edward Gennys Fanshawe, who was the Commander-in-Chief of the North America and West Indies Station.  Over the next three years, Alice undertook to record the stunning landscape of the island through watercolours.  A novice artist, she captured some of Bermuda’s most iconic features, including Admiralty House, Sinky Bay, Hunt’s Bay and Boss’s Cove.

Over 140 years later, the National Museum of Bermuda (NMB) was gifted an album of Alice’s watercolour views of the island.  This donation prompted the then Executive Director of the Museum, Dr Edward Harris (now retired), to visit Valence House Museum (VHM) in East London to research the Fanshawe family.  Valence House holds an extensive collection of material relating to the Fanshawe family, including portraits of many of Admiral Fanshawe’s ancestors.

During this visit, Dr Harris proposed that the two venues work together to produce an exhibition looking at the Fanshawes’ time in Bermuda and a publication of the artworks from the album, including the art work of Admiral Fanshawe by whom Alice may have been taught.

Bermuda visit group (L-R) Dr Deborah Atwood, Curator; Elena Strong, Executive Director; Leeanne Westwood, Curator of Valence House Museum; Dr Zoe Brady, Conservator. National Museum of Bermuda

With funding from the ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant Scheme I was able to make a reciprocal visit to the NMB in late January 2019 to further discuss the potential partnership and to view Alice’s album of watercolours at first hand.  It is unclear whether Alice had any ‘proper’ artistic training beyond that given to most girls from good families, but she was an accomplished artist.

Following the viewing of the album, I was given a tour of the museum by Curator Dr Deborah Atwood and Conservator Zoe Brady.  Over lunch, the NMB team and I discussed our proposed partnership.  It was a very productive meeting, with many potential ideas discussed.

During the second day of my visit, Dr Harris gave me a tour of the island, taking me to see some of the locations that Alice captured in her works.  I was first taken to Sinky Bay and then to the site of Admiralty House.  Below Admiralty House is Clarence Cove, depicted in my favourite of Alice’s watercolours.

Although of short duration, my visit to Bermuda was highly productive.  The NMB and VHM plan to work together on an HLF funded project that is inspired by the album of Alice’s watercolours.  Two related research projects will be undertaken by interns.  The intern at the NMB will research the history of female artists and artisans on Bermuda.  They will use this research to produce an exhibition and a publication.  Very little, if any, research has been made in to this topic and the NMB staff agreed that this is an interesting and timely project to lead.

Simultaneously, an intern at VHM will research the world heritage links of the Fanshawe family.  The influence of the Fanshawe family is international, with connections to Spain, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Canada, Bermuda and America amongst others. The intern will produce an exhibition looking at the Fanshawe’s time in Bermuda and a publication looking at the family’s wider world links.  The interns will then visit each of the partner museums, with the host intern responsible for organising and hosting the partner intern’s visit.

Both museums are very excited about this partnership, and the potential it offers to examine thus-far unresearched aspects of their heritage and collections.

Brexit: Exporting objects of cultural interest

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has published guidance for the export of objects of cultural interest in case there is no Brexit deal.

This covers eventualities such as holding an EU licence issued by a UK authority before exit day and plans to use it to authorise exports to destinations outside the EU after exit day – in this case, museums should take further steps to ensure uninterrupted compliance with the EU and individual EU countries’ licensing regimes.


UK needs black culture museum, says architect Sir David Adjaye

This article was first published on the BBC website https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47101108

Architect Sir David Adjaye has called for a “long overdue” museum celebrating black culture in Britain.

He believes it would help generations of black children to feel part of “the language, DNA and roots” of the UK.

He explained that the contribution of black people to the British Isles was an important talking point.

The British-Ghanaian achieved global fame as the architect of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington DC.

Speaking to BBC arts editor Will Gompertz, Sir David said that most people believe black Britain began with the Windrush generation but it actually started much earlier.

The Windrush generation refers to those people who moved to the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971.

Records suggest that the reign of Queen Elizabeth I from 1558 to 1603 saw the beginning of Britain’s first black community, with black people in Britain as far back as the Roman empire.

The museum that Sir David is proposing would aim to make generations of black children feel like they have a place in the nation’s future.

He said: “It is really amazingly important for the representation of people in the sort of cultural tropes of the nation.”

Sir David, who found it difficult to get commissions at the beginning of his career, started out designing spaces for old art school friends before coming to public attention with the Idea Store library in east London.

He originally regarded architecture as an “insider game” which he was not part of.

The architect is currently designing a national Holocaust memorial and learning centre next to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

Individual museums around the UK have celebrated black British history and culture over the years with exhibitions of their own.

Registration for Kyoto 2019 is open!

Between the 1st and the 7th of September 2019, Kyoto (Japan) will host the biggest and most important conference of museums in the world. More than 3.000 museum professionals and experts from all international backgrounds will participate in this triannual event, the 25th General Conference of ICOM.  After 24 successful editions, ICOM’s flagship conference has become a worldwide reputed hub for exchange about the topical issues museums tackle today, as well as the most innovative solutions.

Aside from the debates, roundtables and panels on a vast array of topics, from sustainability and human rights to the museum definition and Asian art, the Kyoto 2019 General Conference will also host the International Museum Fair. The Fair will present the state of the art technology and participants will be able to interact with the latest technological advances available for museums.
Early bird registrations will be available until the 30th of April.

Information and registration at http://icom-kyoto-2019.org/reg-guideline.html

Don’t forget, ICOM UK members can apply for a Travel Bursary to attend the conference and for additional funding from the Camilla Boodle Fund (administered by ICOM UK) to extend your stay in Japan.  Bursaries and Funds are awarded on a first-come-first-served basis, and we have already allocated half of the 2019 bursary funds.

Don’t delay and apply today!  The next Travel Bursary application deadline is 28 February 2019.  For more information and to download the application form visit http://uk.icom.museum/about-us/bursaries/

CITES and UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal deal

As part of our ongoing series of news articles about museums and Brexit, this week we share an update from Defra regarding CITES and the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal deal.  This follows a stakeholder meeting in December 2018 which members of the museum community attended.

A contact email address for any queries is given at the end of the article.


Guidance which set out how people who trade in, or travel with, endangered animals or plants, or their products, would be affected if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 without a deal is available here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/trading-and-moving-endangered-species-protected-by-cites-if-theres-no-withdrawal-deal

We have also been reviewing where CITES goods can come into and leave the UK (points of entry and exit).

Trade in CITES goods between the UK and the EU can currently be done through any UK port or airport due to free movement within the EU. In the event of a No Deal, this will not be the case and we will designate specific ports and airports of entry and exit for the import/export of CITES goods. This designation means that you may be more restricted in the routes you can use.

Currently, there are just 10 ports and airports for CITES trade with countries outside the EU but we will increase this to 25 in the event of a No Deal scenario.

Please see further information on the new list of CITES designated ports here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/trading-cites-listed-species-through-uk-ports-and-airports-after-brexit

You will note that Eurotunnel, Dover and Holyhead are not currently proposed for designation for Day 1 (29th March 2019). This is to avoid potential delays at these ports as they experience large volumes of traffic passing through and any critical blockages caused by the new checks required on CITES goods could compromise access to food and other key commodities.

Please consider this when making arrangements for any CITES movements/trade between the UK and the EU on or after 29th March 2019. If you regularly use these routes, you may need to make alternative arrangements as there will be no facilities at these ports to get your CITES permits stamped.

We are aware that Dover and Eurotunnel are key routes for CITES trade between the UK and mainland Europe and we will be working with them and Border Force to enable future designation for handling CITES goods.

Please note that the designation of ports will be reviewed (and amended as necessary) as we gather more data post-March 2019 on the actual levels of CITES trade between the UK and the EU.

We will continue to update you on EU Exit related developments and if you have any queries please send them to this mailbox: euexitcites@defra.gov.uk

Brian Patten

Defra – International EU Exit

On secondment to Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Email: EUExitCITES@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Cultural funding under threat following ministry mergers in Brazil

President Jair Bolsonaro has merged Barzil’s three ministries of culture, sports and social development into a single department called the ministry of citizenship. New department head Osmar Terra and culture secretary José Henrique Pires both support changes to a 1991 statute that allows organisations and individuals to use up to 1% of income tax to fund cultural activities.

José Henrique Pires, the former cabinet member overseeing social development under Terra, has been appointed the culture secretary for the combined ministry. Pires previously served as the director of the art and culture department of the Institute of Human Sciences of the Federal University of Pelotas and worked as a broadcast journalist.

Terra and Pires support changes to the Rouanet law, a 1991 statute that allows organisations and individuals to use up to 1% of income tax to fund cultural activities. The law is the main engine for supporting cultural incentives in Brazil but has been targeted by Bolsonaro, who last month said that the law wastes resources and that his government would begin “rigid concessions control”.

In November, Terra said it was necessary to take a “fine-tooth comb through the legislation to see where the money has been spent all these years”. It is unclear what changes Bolsonaro’s government will make to the legislation, or how the unification of the ministries will affect federally funded institutions and activities in Brazil.

Terra, who majored in medicine and has no experience leading cultural projects, was criticised by Brazilian arts leaders when he said his only cultural expertise is that he knows “how to play the berimbau”, a single-string instrument played to accompany capoeira. He later apologised for the comment on his Facebook page, posting a photograph of himself playing the instrument.

Sérgio Sá Leitão, the former minister of culture and a supporter of Bolsonaro, did not participate in Terra’s inauguration ceremony last week. In December Leitão told the Brazilian newspaper Estadão that he opposed the unification of the ministries but that he also did not see a need for culture to have its own ministry.

The Brazilian culture ministry was created in 1985. It was previously dissolved in 2016 but was reinstated the same year by Temer after protests from Brazilian cultural leaders.

This article was first published in The Art Newspaper https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/brazilian-culture-ministry-bolsonaro-osmar-terra?utm_source=daily_january10_2019&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email_daily&utm_source=The+Art+Newspaper+Newsletters&utm_campaign=c4c5f08f84-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_01_07_04_4

Director of Crafts Study Centre visits Japan with ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant

Director of the Crafts Study Centre, Simon Olding, travelled to Japan on 27th February 2019 for a research trip supported by an ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant.

He explored, along with Koichiro Isaka, the Director of the St Ives Ceramics Gallery in Tokyo, the possibility of an exhibition of mainly two-dimensional work relating to the Potter Bernard Leach. He visited museums and private collections in Tokyo, Kawasaki, Kurashiki and Kyoto in the hope an exhibition can be planned in 2020, the centenary year of the founding of the Leach Pottery by Leach and Shoji Hamada in St Ives.

Simon wrote a blog during his visit.  You can enjoy reading this, and see images from his visit, on the Craft Study Centre’s website http://www.csc.uca.ac.uk/directors-research-visit-to-japan-2019

We will shortly publish the full report from Simon’s visit as a Case Study on the ICOM UK website.

Dying Languages

UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger spells out in graphic detail the state of the world’s languages.

Every two or three weeks one of them dies, and when a language dies a small part of humanity dies with it.  Imagine a Parthenon or a Palmyra disappearing twice a month. Unthinkable.  Yet, a language can die unmourned.

2019 is the UN/UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages outlines the rationale behind the Year and describes the action which is being taken.

On Thursday 21 February 2019, UNESCO is celebrating a related activity: International Mother Language Day. This link provides the background to the annual event https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/motherlanguageday

The UN and UNESCO links list activities across the world, so many of which are simple things that can make a difference.  English is the usual language of our ICOM international meetings.  The advantages are obvious.  But there is a cost – we are heading for a monoglot world.  Why not invite an international meeting to include a few words spoken in a native language, or written in a conference brochure?  That may seem pointless, but it can help to raise awareness, and awareness can lead to positive action.  At least, let’s not stand by and do nothing. Language, after all, is our greatest intangible heritage.

Ian Jones