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Great interest in the online certificate programme ‘Safeguarding and Rescuing Archaeological Assets’


The online certificate programme ‘Safeguarding and Rescuing Archaeological Assets’ prepared within the scope of the SARAT (Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey) project, received more than 1000 applications within the first 24 hours of its announcement from all over Turkey and beyond. The SARAT project is led by the British Institute at Ankara (BIAA) and the course was prepared in collaboration with Koç University.

 ‘Safeguarding and Rescuing Archaeological Assets’ is realised by SARAT Project partner institutions. SARAT (Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey) is funded by the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. Programme content was prepared collaboratively by the experts of the partnering institutions – the British Institute at Ankara (BIAA), the Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED), and the UK Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM UK) – and is being offered through Koç University’s online educational programs.

The ‘Safeguarding and Rescuing Archaeological Assets’ programme started accepting applications for its first session on Thursday 14 March 2019, via the SARAT Project website (www.saratproject.com). There has been immense interest for the programme from professionals and students working in fields related to cultural assets like archaeology, museology, art history, cultural heritage, history, conservation, architecture, and urban planning. In five days, the number of applications surpassed 2000.

A first in Turkey: Turkish language and Online

For the first time in Turkey, an educational programme on archaeology and cultural assets is offered online, for free and in Turkish. The 20-episode programme aims at building capacity for participants from Turkey and elsewhere by presenting theoretical and practical knowledge on safeguarding archaeological assets.

The course contains extensive information regarding the importance of protecting archaeological assets and securing their sustainability, national and international laws and regulations, the UNESCO World Heritage List, as well as episodes dealing with measures in case of emergency and disaster situations at museums and archaeological sites. The programme includes a section on hands-on training such as emergency conservation, photography, documentation, and digital protection. Video-recorded interviews with experts in the field are presented within every episode.

A certificate from Koç University

The online system provided by Koç University enables participants to follow classes remotely and at a time of their own choosing during the registered period. Those who complete the programme successfully are entitled to a certificate from Koç University. The first session of the programme will begin soon and run for two months.

Additional sessions to be made available

The Online Certificate Programme on Safeguarding and Rescuing Archaeological Assets is expected to be offered over four sessions. The first two-month session will begin in the coming days, followed by a planned three more sessions in between summer 2019 and winter 2020. Calls for applications for the upcoming sessions will be announced on the project’s website. Due to great interest in the first offering, there might be more calls for participation than planned.

International Museum Day 2019 (18 May)

The 2019 theme is Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition

Every year since 1977, ICOM has organised International Museum Day (IMD), which represents a unique moment for the international museum community. On this day, participating museums plan creative events and activities related to the International Museum Day theme, engage with their public and highlight the importance of the role of museums as institutions that serve society and its development.

The objective of International Museum Day is to raise awareness of the fact that, “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” Organised on and around 18 May each year, the events and activities planned to celebrate International Museum Day can last a day, a weekend or a whole week.

Participation in International Museum Day is growing among museums all over the world. In 2018, more than 40,000 museums participated in the event in some 158 countries.

To find out how your museum can get involved in International Museum Day 2019 visit http://imd.icom.museum/international-museum-day-2019/museums-get-organised/

Peace making after the First World War 1919-1923, 27-28 June, London

Peace making after the First World War 1919-1923

27 June, 9.30am – 28 June 6.45pm

The National Archives and Lancaster House

To mark the centenary of the signature of the Treaty of Versailles, this two-day conference explores the peace making process after the First World War and will explore other treaties that marked the formal end of hostilities.

This is a joint Conference with The National Archives, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Historians, the University of Strathclyde, the International History Department at LSE and the British International History Group. The second day of the conference will be held at Lancaster House.

For more details, to see the programme and book your place, visit our Eventbrite page https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/peace-making-after-the-first-world-war-1919-1923-tickets-59111419848

ICOM Triennial Kyoto 2019: early bird tickets end 30 April

This September, Kyoto will host the 25th General Conference of ICOM, the biggest and most important conference of museums in the world, with more than 3.000 participants from all international backgrounds. This worldwide reputed hub for exchange and innovation will tackle the theme “Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition”.

It is through this lens that museum professionals from all over the world will explore the main topics of the conference. ICOM’s International Committees and many National Committees, Regional Alliances and Affiliated Organisations will organise conferences, workshops and other events. Together with Standing Committees, the secretariat will offer plenary and panel sessions about sustainability, the museum definition, disaster risk management and cultural diversity.


Have you already registered for #ICOMKyoto2019?

Early bird tickets are available until April 30 (00:00 GMT+9). Book your tickets today and save up to 100€.

For further information and to register visit:


How to move a masterpiece: shipping works internationally

The Guardian has published a long-read article on How to move a masterpiece: the secret business of shipping priceless artworks.

Written by Andrew Dickson, the article gives a great insight into the process of shipping and installing artworks internationally and includes quotes from a number of UK institutions.

You can read the article online at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/mar/21/how-to-move-a-masterpiece-secret-business-shipping-priceless-artworks-art-handling?utm_source=globalmuseum

Art Newspaper: most visited exhibitions and museums in 2018

This article first appeared in the Art Newspaper online https://www.theartnewspaper.com/analysis/fashion-provides-winning-formula

Fashion continues upward trend in the US, shooting to the top of The Art Newspaper’s chart, while the British Museum slips from the top spot in the UK.

Read the full article and view the Top 20 list at https://www.theartnewspaper.com/analysis/fashion-provides-winning-formula

Interview with Lia Colombino, Museum of Indigenous Art, Asunción, Paraguay

ICOM UK member Luigi Galimberti interviews Lia Colombino about the Museum of Indigenous Art, Asunción, Paraguay.

Lia Colombino is Director of the Museum of Indigenous Art, which is part of the Centre for Visual Arts / Museo del Barro in Asunción, Paraguay, where she is also the coordinator of the educational program Espacio/Crítica Seminar.  Lia is Professor at the Instituto Superior de Arte of the National University of Asunción (UNA) and is an active member of Red Conceptualismos del Sur, a platform for research, discussion and collective position taking from Latin America.

Luigi Galimberti is Collection Care Research Manager at Tate, London, and a Board Member of Res Artis, the world’s largest membership-based network of artist residencies.



Luigi: What is the history of the Museum of Indigenous Art and what is its place in the Centre for Visual Arts / Museo del Barro?

Lia: At the end of the 1970s, the prominent Paraguayan art critic Ticio Escobar was working at his book An Interpretation of the Visual Arts in Paraguay.  His intention was to cover the decades of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, in addition to reviewing what was happening with the visual arts in the country at that time.  As soon as he began to collect material, he realized that there were not so many sources to consult.  This is how he started to dig the elusive visual art history in Paraguay.

Museo de Arte Indigena (Museum of Indigenous Art), Centre for Visual Arts / Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay

Museo de Arte Indigena (Museum of Indigenous Art), Centre for Visual Arts / Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay

In the first volume of this work, published in 1982, he rejected linearity as a principle and introduced the possibility of multiple or fragmented readings about the same artistic act.  In the second volume in 1984, which covers the period between the beginning of the 20th century until 1980, Escobar elucidated one of the fundamental bases of what will be the Centre for Visual Arts / Museo del Barro, i.e. the possibility of reading modernity starting from the local history rather than using a concept of modernity imported from what were at the time the most developed countries in the world.  Modernity in Paraguay has a delay, which required reconfiguring this concept.

With his book El mito del arte y el mito del pueblo (‘The Myth of Art and the Myth of People’), Escobar laid the foundation for a more conclusive discussion about modernity and the nature of the erudite and the popular.  He was no longer treating these two categories as binary contradictions, but was exploring them and defining their relationships.  Escobar’s text sums up the vocation of the Museo del Barro.  It departs from art theory to enter into cultural theory with all its political implications, i.e. the disputes for the hegemonic control of the symbolic capital of a territory evolved into a nation.

The theoretical bases laid by Escobar allowed for the insertion of the concept of popular art into the writing of another history of art and to begin dislocating Eurocentric concepts.  These new ideas concern the autonomy of art, the concept of contemporaneity and of uniqueness.


Luigi: How did the collection of the Museum of Indigenous Art develop?

Lia: More than 90% of the objects of the collection of the Museum of Indigenous Art were acquired by Ticio Escobar with his own funds in different indigenous communities, craft shops and private collections.  The rest was purchased by the Museo del Barro or donated by missionaries, anthropologists or private individuals.

Museo de Arte Indigena (Museum of Indigenous Art), Centre for Visual Arts / Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay

Museo de Arte Indigena (Museum of Indigenous Art), Centre for Visual Arts / Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay

The initial collection acquired a more systematic character in 1985 when the museum organized the show Feathers and Beads Art, curated by Ticio Escobar and Osvaldo Salerno, in the Galería Arte-Sanos in Asunción.  At the time, Escobar and the ethnomusicologist Guillermo Sequera had made contact with the Tomáraho, an indigenous group belonging to the Chamacoco people (Ishír) who survived attempts of forced integration into the national society, although they were badly damaged by the neo-colonization of the Chaco region, which was bringing them to the verge of extinction.

This exhibition kick-started a process of support towards the Tomáraho through the establishment of the Commission of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples and the Theo Binder Association, bringing together different sectors of the civil society.  The first entity had a political direction and was aimed at supporting indigenous efforts in the area of land acquisition or recovery, as well as the political, cultural and religious self-determination and the denunciation of the cases of ethnocide during the years of the dictatorship.  The second entity was aimed at supporting the processes of resettlement of indigenous groups in new habitats, provide technical advice and promote programs for health, housing, economic subsistence and education.

The collections of the museum were formed in the context of different activities run in support of the indigenous cause and were linked to the difficult situations in which the communities found themselves. This exhibition helped to start a process of vindication of their traditional territories and their demands and negotiations with the surrounding communities.

Museo de Arte Indigena (Museum of Indigenous Art), Centre for Visual Arts / Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay

Museo de Arte Indigena (Museum of Indigenous Art), Centre for Visual Arts / Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay

Similarly, this situation favoured the possibility that the collection was formed in symmetrical intercultural conditions and without disturbing the productive dynamics of the creators, well positioned to negotiate the sale (or barter) of the pieces.  In some cases, indigenous people themselves gave indications about how the pieces should be arranged in the museum and even participated directly in their assembly, such as the case of the Tomáraho who installed the ceremonial costumes in the corresponding showcases.



Luigi: What would you like your audience to take home after visiting the museum?

Lia: How works are exhibited in this museum makes it possible for popular and indigenous art to be seen as equal to urban or ‘erudite’ art.  The museum seeks to provide a dialogue between these types of art in spite of their differences, striving to undermine the official myth that popular and indigenous art can be reduced to ‘folkloric’, ‘authentic’, vernacular’ or ‘our very own’.  Popular art can often be trivialized, stripped of its subtleties and differences.  We want the audience to feel and understand the differences and to respect that.


Luigi: What do you think the role of imagination is in a museum?

Lia: In the museum what is imagined becomes possible.  The museum gives to the imagination a tangible and concrete dimension through the exhibited works.  As a space dedicated to research, the museum is an instance and a privileged device for imagination.  Researchers working with sensibilities and memories inevitably require the support of imagination to guide their practices in a creative way.


Luigi: What is the role of art and artistic production in Paraguay today? How does the museum involve new generations of artists in its activities?

Lia: In many communities of Paraguay, art functions as an element of social cohesion, making intergenerational and intercultural dialogues possible. This occurs both in the art system and in society at large.  Likewise, art is presented as a poetic space for the resolution of tensions and a critical interpretation of reality, ranging from the museum to popular festivities or rituals.  From its diverse exhibition programs, the museum integrates heterogeneous voices.  There are some specific programs that promote the artistic production of indigenous communities, indigenous artists or rural artisans.

Museo de Arte Indigena (Museum of Indigenous Art), Centre for Visual Arts / Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay

Museo de Arte Indigena (Museum of Indigenous Art), Centre for Visual Arts / Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay

It is not only a matter of including new voices and giving a place for them to be audible and visible, but of displacing the spectrum towards historically peripheral territories of the hegemonic culture.  At the Museo del Barro, we have been presenting works of young indigenous artists, thereby giving them the visibility, which originates from the centrality of our museum in the Paraguayan artistic and cultural context, but we have also been promoting their artistic production and selling it in the museum shop.



Luigi: Can you tell us of a forthcoming show that you are curating?

Lia: This year I will be curating an exhibition of popular, rural and indigenous art, exhibited together with the work of Joaquín Sánchez, a Paraguayan artist living in Bolivia.  Sánchez works in relation to the production of popular lace and of the woodwork of the Aché, an indigenous people in eastern Paraguay.  My idea is to intervene in the permanent exhibition of the museum with the work of Sanchez, as well as to stress the idea of contemporaneity of the art of scholarly tradition starting from the symbolic production of the popular communities.

Connecting Culture: Europe – meet UK businesses at the heart of museum design

The DTI and ExperienceUK are hosting a conference bringing together museum professionals with designers and companies that help create museum attractions.

The event marks the launch of the publication ‘MuseumINSIDER Looking Ahead Europe 2019-2026: Handbook of Future European Museum and Heritage Projects’. This lists 70 museum and heritage capital projects happening across Europe in the next seven years which may offer opportunities for UK talent. They range from the €3.9 million Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna, to the €650 million renovation and expansion of Berlin’s Natural History Museum.

The event takes place at the Natural History Museum on 14th May. Tickets are £130 – £150.


Interview with Roshan Mishra, Director/Curator, Taragaon Museum, Nepal

Dana Andrew, Executive Director of ICOM UK, interviewed Roshan Mishra, Director/Curator of the Taragaon Museum in Nepal.  Roshan is a fellow of the British Museum’s International Training Programme (ITP).


Would you tell ICOM UK members about the Taragaon Museum in Nepal?

Taragaon Museum was opened in 2014 as a private museum. Prior to the museum, the building was used as a hostel to promote tourism in the 70s. It was designed by an Austrian architect Carl Pruscha. Now it stands as a first cluster of modern architecture that was built in Nepal. With the support of the Saraf Foundation for Himalayan tradition and culture, the patron organization of the Taragaon Museum; these buildings were conserved and restored, and was later converted into a first architectural documentation museum of Nepal.

Roshan Mishra

The principle mission of the museum is to document and display the work of the foreign scholars, who came to Nepal after the 1950s as travellers. Many of these individuals somehow ended up doing research about this country and they documented our heritage, cultural sites, monuments and vernacular architecture in different formats. These scholars and individual’s work was never collected and recognized before. The Taragaon Museum collects, archives and displays the works done by these individuals and scholars. The core permanent collection of the museum includes architectural drawings from the heritage sites and old settlements, sketches, maps, etchings, photographs etc.

The museum also has a contemporary art gallery, library, café, and an archive. Within the premises there also three amphitheatres, which are used for outdoor events such as performance art and music events.


What does your role as Director of the Taragaon Museum involve?

My role is very diverse. One of my main tasks is to connect with scholars, who have lived and worked in this country, and introduce them about the museum’s mission and vision. This is important to us as most of our objects come as donations from scholars and individuals.

Besides the management of the permanent collection, I am also highly engaged in our contemporary art gallery. As I am also an artist, I really enjoy getting involved with the contemporary art activities, this gallery is one of our busiest sections. The gallery was introduced in 2015 and, later in 2018 on occasion of the museum day, it was formally announced at a contemporary art gallery, as a space to promote Nepali art and the artist. The gallery displays the work of the senior, established and young upcoming artists on a regular basis. I also design and curate shows for this gallery.

Besides this, I look after other projects from the Saraf Foundation for Himalayan traditions and culture. Nepal Architecture Archive (NAA) is an integral part of the foundation and the museum, and I manage and closely work with the archive and the library. Now we are working towards making it accessible to the public as currently, it is only accessible on request only. Through the foundation we have other projects and currently we are working on a Nepal Heritage Documentation protect (NHDP), as the Foundation is the local partner I am also managing this project.


In 2019, what challenges do you think the Taragaon Museum is facing?  Is this very different from the challenges affecting the wider museum sector in Nepal?

I have identified three main things as a challenge within our museum. The challenges we are facing are very distinctive to us.

  1. First one is our visitor count; this is very low in comparison to other museums, and we really need to work on it. We are a very specialized museum, no other museums display and document architectural maps and drawings, sketches and photographs. We don’t have any 3D objects, thus the general public tends to find less interest in our collection in comparison to the other museums of Nepal.
  2. As the local schools and colleges do not have a museum visit program within their curriculum, it is really difficult to bring them into the museum. Therefore this year we are introducing school children’s art competition, educational programmes, teacher training and talk programmes. We are hoping these programs will bring interest to the institutions and the students. Other museums are not doing this sort of activity in Nepal, therefore we are always trying to build awareness among school kids and college youths to bring them into our museum. We also truly believe that their engagement with our collection is really important.
  3. Most importantly; our other challenge is to find donors and find Nepal related materials. I feel this challenge is completely different in comparison to other museum’s in Nepal because other museums don’t necessarily always think about growing their collection like we do.

Despite all these challenges, we are still one of the most active museums in Nepal, in a way we do not stay static and dull with the collection we have, we tend to do different activities throughout the year.

I really want to address all the above challenges this year.


You are involved in a number of exciting museum projects in Nepal.  Can you tell us about the construction of Sagarmatha Next in the foothills of Mount Everest and your plans for the Mishra Museum?

Sagarmatha Next Model

Sagarmatha Next Model

“Sagarmatha” is a Nepali name of Mt Everest. The Sagaramatha Next project is initiated by the Saraf Foundation and Eco Himal along with other local organizations. Located near Namche Bazar on the way to Everest Base Camp, this project is much more than a museum. The centre is currently under construction and we are aiming to launch the centre by September 2019. The centre has movie saloon, a learning centre that includes virtual reality stations, a gallery and art park, along with a workshop, café, shop and a residency space for visiting artists.

The whole concept and idea anchors around waste, environment, climate change and sustainability. This centre will also become a hub as a learning centre for tourists, trekkers, mountaineers, local people, and students and youth from Nepal so that they can learn and exchange knowledge about environmental conservation, eco-tourism, and climate change. The gallery, art park and the house are focused on the artists; it can be used by local and international artists. It is really a unique project and we hope to replicate this concept in other areas. Currently, the Saraf Foundation is funding this project, and now we are also inviting international donors to be a part of this project.

Studio of Manuj Babu Mishra

Mishra Museum will house and display the work of my father Manuj Babu Mishra, who passed away last year in August. He was one of the most prominent artists and art writers of Nepal. I want to operate this museum within the next 5 years. There are sketches, paintings, photos, manuscripts, library and his personal belongings that can go into this museum. Currently, I have all the materials, objects, stories and narratives for the museum, but I don’t have a building. In a way, I am the only person who can open this museum, but having said that I don’t want to delay this. We don’t have any funding mechanism in Nepal to support such projects, therefore, I am aiming to convert my own house into a museum. We do not have any museum dedicated to an artist yet, therefore this could be the first one if I can make it happen.


The Global Nepali Museum is an impressive digital initiative.  Could you tell us why and how you created this database of Nepali objects housed in museums around the world?  How could ICOM UK members and UK museum professionals support the Global Nepali Museum?

Global Nepali Museum www.globalnepalimuseum.com

Global Nepali Museum

Global Nepali Museum is a database and a web-based platform. I call it a virtual museum. This is where all the Nepali objects from the museums around the world can be found all in one place. It is a very ambitious project, but I think it is also a very important initiative as this sort of database has not been created yet, even the Department of Archaeology doesn’t have any such compiled records.

Currently, this virtual museum displays, sculptures, paintings and manuscripts, cultural objects, contemporary art, drawings and photographs. I have also been connecting with different museums and have been requesting them to allow me to use the data that belongs to them. I really want museums to grant me permission to create this platform. I have also been expressing to the museums that this platform has not been created to start a campaign for repatriation, rather this has been designed as a database for reference, researchers, and for those who want to know more about our heritage history and culture. This digital initiative is singlehandedly managed until now. I have been in talks with several institutions to provide support so that data can be uploaded timely and the site can be managed in a more efficiently with more user-friendly interfaces.

Through this ICOM UK platform, I would really like to know about the Nepali collections that may have been in UK museums and other countries. I would like to request that museum professionals connect me with the right people in their museums because I need the data and the permission to use their digital materials. Without this data, the Global Nepal Museum cannot exist.


What is your future vision for museums in Nepal?

I want to see a world class museum in Nepal. We have a rich culture and history, and in a way, we should be capable of making a museum like the Rubin’s because we hold a huge amount of such collections. I want to see a modern art museum because we have no such museum here in Nepal that displays modern and contemporary artwork.

I want existing government museums to be more managed and more pro-active. I do not want them to be a static museum and be happy with what they display. Our museums need educational programmes and more interaction with the community; they need to be more approachable and accessible, like other museums in the west. I would like our museums to offer a complete package to its visitors and audience. And it would be great to see our museums equipped with facilities such as libraries, archives, conservation units, photography labs and research centres.

We need more museums from the private sector. There are lots of private collectors and I wish in the future they develop their collections into a museum or an archive. Without public access to these collections, they do not mean anything to us. As a museum professional, I would like to engage in the formation of many other museums in the future. I myself am very much committed to creating more museums, besides the museum for my father.  I really want to work on other museums which can become a hub of resources for the generations to come.

Roshan Mishra

Director/Curator, Taragaon Museum

Head of Special Collections, Archives & Library, Saraf Foundation for Himalayan Traditions & Culture / Nepal Architecture Archive (NAA)

Email: museumdirect@taragaon.com