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Sovereign Hill, Australia

Ashley Bell, Project Officer (Retail Development) at Beamish Museum travelled to Ballarat in Victoria, Australia in October 2016 with a WIRP Travel Grant.  This is Ashley’s report from her visit.

Beamish Museum is about to undertake the largest redevelopment project in its history with the announcement of a £10.9million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to build over 30 new exhibits including a reconstructed 1950s Town and a Georgian Coaching Inn (an exhibit with the ability to stay overnight).  Alongside this we are in the process of expanding our offer of Beamish-made and bespoke products due to increasing demand from visitors to take home something truly representative of the Beamish experience and brand.  We are already producing our own sweets, bakery products, and honey; growing visitor numbers mean that we do not have the capacity to always meet demand without negatively affecting the visitor’s experience.

Completed in 1969, the Poppet Head is a Sovereign Hill icon. Visitors can climb the stairs for an amazing view over Sovereign Hill and Ballarat.

Completed in 1969, the Poppet Head is a Sovereign Hill icon. Visitors can climb the stairs for an amazing view over Sovereign Hill and Ballarat.

Sovereign Hill is an outdoor museum in Ballarat presenting the story of Australia’s gold rush history.  Its particular focus is the impact of the great 19th century gold discoveries on the growth of Ballarat, which was a small pastoral settlement when gold was discovered in 1851.  Sovereign Hill has a large international audience and has also provided accommodation for its visitors for a number of years, meaning it was an ideal place to visit as we developed our plans for Beamish Museum.

Sovereign Hill and Beamish have a relationship stretching back to...

 

Rhian Rowson and the four volumes of 18th Century bound herbaria

Rhian Rowson and the four volumes of 18th Century bound herbaria

 

Rhian Rowson, Natural Sciences Curator at Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives visited Kingston, Jamaica in September/October 2016 with a WIRP Travel Grant.  This is Rhian’s report from her visit.

 

 

 

 

 

The original plan was for me to travel alone to Jamaica, partly due to the extra cost of sending two people.  However, we were advised that Kingston is not a safe city to travel around alone and therefore two members of staff needed to travel.  This was a challenge as the WIRP Travel Grant we received was only enough for one person to travel.  Opportunities for true international partnership and cross-disciplinary working are rare for our Natural Sciences team and it would have been a shame if I could not accept the WIRP Travel Grant and undertake the visit to Jamaica.  Additional funding for travel was sought for my colleague, Dr Victoria Purewal, from the Art Fund’s Jonathan Ruffer curatorial grant scheme once the WIRP Travel Grant has been awarded.

Dr Victoria Purewal, Rhian Rowson & Mr Vivian Crawford

Dr Victoria Purewal, Rhian Rowson & Mr Vivian Crawford

The aim of this study trip was to establish close communication and understanding between Bristol Museums, the Natural History Museum, the National Library, and the Urban Development Corporation of the University of the West Indies.  With these key institutions we hoped to form a strong partnership through a shared project, exchange curatorial expertise and knowledge, and find new and engaging ways to connect Bristol’s Jamaican communities with our own stunning collections.

Through researching the historical...

Susan Lord, Curator at Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre travelled to Eindhoven, Netherlands in September 2017 on a ICOM UK - HWB Travel Grant to visit the Van Abbemuseum.  This is the report from her visit.

The Way Beyond Art Collection Display, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands. Photo: Susan Lord, Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre

The purpose of the visit to the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven was to meet and work with the Van AbbeMuseum’s curatorial team to develop two projects. The first project I wanted to discuss with them was a Modernist touring exhibition, which is expected to tour to Taipei, Taiwan in 2020. The exhibition will feature artworks from the museums & galleries that make up the Greater Manchester Museums Group (GMMG) and the Van Abbemuseum. During this visit, I wanted to select works of art with the curators and developing the themes of the exhibition. The second project I wanted to explore with the team was the Radical Museum Festival, which Bury is hosting in May 2018, the festival which will last for 3 weeks will, amongst other things involve a 3-day conference. The Director of the Van Abbemuseum, Charles Esche, will be the keynote speaker. The Van Abbemuseum also wants a curatorial presence in the festival and the logistics of this I wanted to discus and organise during my visit.

By meeting face-to-face with the Van Abbemuseum team it enabled me to engender trust and mutual understanding in order to develop the two projects especially the modernist show. Christiane Berndes spent the whole day with me, which was great. She introduced me to each of the department teams and showed my around the exhibitions and collections stores. We also spent a few...

Exhibition banner outside Changsha City Museum, China

Exhibition banner outside Changsha City Museum, China

The Towards Modernity: Three Centuries of British Art exhibition tour, led by Bury Art Museum in partnership with the Greater Manchester Museums Group (GMMG), was the first of its kind conducted by a group of regional English museums.  The tour provided an international showcase for the GMMG’s world class collections and over 80 works of art from 17 different organisations in North West England were loaned to China.

In 2012-13 the exhibition toured to:

The display period at each venue was approximately six to eight weeks, and the exhibition attracted over 3 million visitors, with extensive coverage in the Chinese media reaching over 90 million viewers.

The success of the exhibition, in partnership with the World Art Museum in Beijing, has highlighted the potential for future exhibitions.  The collections of the GMMG contain significant artworks and objects that tell the story of the unique shared heritage in the North West, and this has proven to have mass international appeal.

 

Participants of the 2011 ITP looking at objects from the Prints and Drawings department of the British Museum

Participants of the 2011 ITP looking at objects from the Prints and Drawings department of the British Museum

The British Museum’s International Training Programme (ITP) gives museum and heritage professionals from across the world the opportunity to come to the UK and share knowledge, skills, and experiences. International participants can forge professional partnerships and new friendships as well as develop their careers and shape the future of their institutions.

At the British Museum, the programme is tailored around group sessions covering a full range of museum activities, as well as individual placements in specific collections departments, for a more focused professional experience.

One of the great strengths of the International Training Programme is the time participants spend with the UK partner museums. This allows them to experience regional organisations with strong local collections and community programmes, which often have stronger relevance to the participants’ own museums and audiences. The partner programmes are able to reflect the needs of the participants, and provide hands-on experience working in smaller, mixed-nationality groups, helping to develop the international network the ITP is so keen to promote.

For the partner museums, the ITP provides the opportunity to work alongside participants, exchange knowledge, and forge long-lasting links with colleagues and institutions abroad.

Feedback from participants and partner museums includes:

 

O’bour Hashash  (Palestine, ITP 2014) with her exhibition proposal display.

O’bour Hashash (Palestine, ITP 2014) with her exhibition proposal display

“… at the Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives, I was able to share knowledge from my specialism with thestaff. They had a collection from El Fustat in Cairo and...

Looking through material from WW1 exhibition at Simbach museum

Rob Freeman, Craven and the First World War Project Officer at Craven Museum & Gallery visited Munich and Simbach in Germany in November 2016 with a WIRP Travel Grant.  This is Rob's report from his visit.

The original purpose of this visit was to build links with heritage organisations and schools in Skipton’s twin town of Simbach-am-Inn, Germany, and to develop ideas for a project in 2018 that will bring together young people from both towns to mark 100 years since the end of the war.  The project would form part of the museum’s application for additional funding which it will be making early next year to cover the second phase of its centenary programme from 2017 – 2019.

I started my trip with a visit to the WW2 sites of Dachau concentration camp and NS-Dokumentationzentum in Munich as I felt it was important to understand how the view of WW1 in Germany is shaped by their reflection of WW2 ahead of my meetings in Simbach to discuss a town twinning WW1 centenary project in 2018.

Meeting with representatives from the Simbach-Skipton Twinning Association and teachers from local schools

Meeting with representatives from the Simbach-Skipton Twinning Association and teachers from local schools

Upon my arrival in Simbach, I was warmly welcomed by representatives from the Twinning Association and local schools who were interested in my idea of a centenary project which would bring together young people from the two towns in 2018.  I then met with the curators of a WW1 exhibition at the local museum, and whilst I was not able to visit the museum which was closed due to damage caused by recent flooding, I was able to see the exhibition material and also share information from our own exhibition....

European Prospects: Visual Explorations in an Undiscovered Continent is a collaborative project, which uses photography and contemporary lens-based art to examine questions of identity and experience in an enlarged European Union.

European Prospects Europa Re-Imagined Symposium 7 March 2014 (c) Luke Boland

European Prospects Europa Re-Imagined Symposium 7 March 2014 (c) Luke Boland

Led by Ffotogallery in Cardiff (UK), European Prospect core partners are Fotosommer Stuttgart (Germany), the Lithuanian Photographers Association in Kaunas (Lithuania), and Le Château d’Eau in Toulouse (France).  The collaboration developed from existing bi-lateral partnerships with Fotosommer and the Lithuanian Photographers Association, and conversations between the directors of Ffotogallery and Le Château d’Eau.

The aim of European Prospects is to offer a new space for European artists and cultural agents to share experience and practice, and to achieve wider exposure in Europe for their work.

European Prospects Stuttgart Conference 2013 (c) Die Arge Lola

European Prospects Stuttgart Conference 2013 (c) Die Arge Lola

Ffotogallery and partners were awarded funding from the European Cultural Foundation, The European Union Culture Programme, Wales Arts International, the State Capital Stuttgart, and Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden Württemberg.  The EU culture funding (starting 1st May 2013) enabled us to deliver an intensive two-year long programme of exhibitions, events, and workshops, residencies, as well as publishing four books exploring the work presented as part of the exhibitions. Each partner organisation was involved with the delivery of the programme, thus moving the focus of the project around Europe and bringing together an ever-growing network of lens-based artists, curators, and photography organisations.

European Prospects residencies, Wojciech Nowicki & William Ewing...
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Terence Pepper, Photographs Curator; Celia Joicey, Head of Fashion & Textile Museum; Natacha FILIOL, Head of Exhibitions, Montpellier; Beth Ojari, Exhibition Designer, Fashion & Textile Museum, Pavillon Populaire, Montpelier, 15 December 2016

Celia Joicey, Head of the Fashion & Textile Museum in London travelled to Montpellier in France with a WIRP Travel Grant in December 2016.  This is the report from her visit.

The original purpose of the visit was to develop the partnership with the Pavillon Populaire in Montpellier to bring the exhibition Louise Dahl Wolfe: A Style of Her Own to the UK in 2018.

The visit highlighted essential details about the history of the exhibition: how and why it was initiated and the respective roles of the different curators, lenders and copyright holders.  All of this information is crucial for the exhibition to be articulated correctly in the UK and for its successful interpretation. Yet, understandably, none of this detail was in the exhibition sales information received prior to the visit.
Seeing the exhibition from the perspective of the visitor, and observing the flow and interest of visitors with a critical eye, was helpful when considering the design for London.

Terence Pepper, Photographs Curator; Celia Joicey, Head of Fashion & Textile Museum; Natacha FILIOL, Head of Exhibitions, Montpellier; Beth Ojari, Exhibition Designer, Fashion & Textile Museum, Pavillon Populaire, Montpelier, 15 December 2016

Terence Pepper, Photographs Curator; Celia Joicey, Head of Fashion & Textile Museum; Natacha FILIOL, Head of Exhibitions, Montpellier; Beth Ojari, Exhibition Designer, Fashion & Textile Museum, Pavillon Populaire, Montpelier, 15 December 2016

Meetings with the exhibition organiser in Montpellier proved extremely beneficial in enabling the museum team to focus on the practical details involved with transportation, the layout and hang of the exhibition.  Difficulties involving image copyright for press and marketing brought to our attention by the Montpellier team have highlighted the need for a longer critical path to realise press and marketing successfully.

Additionally, the Fashion and...

Lindsay Moreton, Collections Manager at Haslemere Educational Museum travelled to Sweden in March 2016 on a WIRP International Travel Grant.  This is Lindsay's report on her visit.

 

Elaborately painted interior of farmstead at Skansen Open Air Museum, Stockholm. Courtesy of Lindsay Moreton.

Elaborately painted interior of farmstead at Skansen Open Air Museum, Stockholm.
Courtesy of Lindsay Moreton.

The original purpose of the visit to Skansen and the Nordiska Museet was to explore and research similar items in their collections to artefacts we hold at Haslemere Educational Museum.  We currently know very little about how the Swedish objects in our collection were made and used by the people that owned them, and I hoped to explore the collections in Stockholm and consult with their curators to further our knowledge of Haslemere’s collection.  I also wished to consult some of Joseph King’s (a former Curator of the Peasant Art Collection) correspondence with the swedish museums that is held in their archives.

We also want to develop the potential of our European Peasant Art collection by applying for Designation from Arts Council England in 2016, so the visit was also to help us gain a greater understanding of our collection to inform our application.  I also wanted to develop relationships with the curators in Stockholm, make them aware of our collection, and possibly collaborate on research or a project.

On my first day in Stockholm I visited Skansen Open Air Museum where I was hosted by curators Andreas Lindblad and Johanna Krumlinde.  We discussed Haslemere’s collection of Swedish Peasant Art and then they gave me a very detailed tour of Skansen including many of the buildings which are not open to...

Photo by Jide Odukoya (2016)

Photo by Jide Odukoya (2016)

Photo by Jide Odukoya (2016)

Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp, Curator of Anthropology at the Horniman Museum & Gardens in London travelled to Lagos, Nigeria with a WIRP Travel Grant in November 2016.  This is the report from her visit.

The initial plan for the visit was to develop a partnership with LagosPhoto, working with photographers linked to the festival to document market life in urban south-western Nigeria. This project was planned to generate content for a major anthropology gallery redisplay at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, reflecting our department’s desire to work collaboratively with international artists and communities. This project planned to develop photographs and film footage to bring an exhibit on Nigerian markets to life, focusing on three markets in Lagos, Ikeja and Benin City. It was also hoped that the collaboration would establish stronger links with the thriving artistic community in Lagos, resulting in further collaborations in the future. In particular, we hoped to develop a co-curated exhibition working with the festival’s artistic director to support the international profile of photographers who contribute to LagosPhoto.

During planning for the trip the festival’s artistic director and my main contact, Alafuro Sikoki-Coleman, resigned from her post to pursue her own artistic career. This meant that the project plans shifted to working with two smaller studios formerly linked to LagosPhoto, in particular Jide Odukoya Studios (based in Lagos) and Sikoki-Studios (based in Leamington Spa and Lagos).

 

Photo by Jide Odukoya (2016)

Photo by Jide Odukoya (2016)

Two distinct projects emerged out of planning for the trip: working with photographer Jide Odukoya to document market life in Lagos, and with Sikoki-Studios to create a couture piece...