C o m m o n w e a l t h
A s s o c i a t i o n o f
M u s e u m s
CAM Bulletin No. 19 November/December 2013
Commonwealth Organisations’ (COs) Consultation
Commonwealth organisations have met in London several times in recent months to discuss the changing relationship between accredited COs, like CAM, and the Commonwealth Foundation and Commonwealth Secretariat. Accreditation provides formal recognition for Commonwealth organisations and establishes their membership in the Commonwealth Association. The accreditation guidelines have recently been revised and CAM will now have to re-apply for accreditation.
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
(CHOGM), Sri Lanka, November 2013
Commonwealth Organizations have been invited to make submissions to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and the Peoples Forum. A series of regional civil society consultations intended to feed into these meetings has taken place but COs were not invited to the consultations. A number of accredited COs including the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) are boycotting the meetings in Sri Lanka, as is the Prime Minister of Canada, due to the country’s lack of respect for human rights.
The Gambia’s Withdrawal from the Commonwealth
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma has circulated a notice regarding the withdrawal of The Gambia to withdraw from the Commonwealth with effect from 3 October 2013. He noted that “This separation from the people of The Gambia is a disappointment for the Commonwealth family at large” and stated “We look forward to The Gambia’s return to the Commonwealth.” CAM would like to add that Hassoum Ceesay of The Gambia in particular has been very active in CAM and GCAM, most recently as one of the organizers and speakers at last year’s workshop on Collaborative Program Planning in Nigeria. We wish you all the best at this time.
WELCOME TO CAM'S NEW PATRON
Davidson L. Hepburn, PhD, OBE
Davidson L. Hepburn has been a friend of CAM for many years. A son of Cat Island, one of the most rural areas of The Bahamas, Dr Hepburn holds a BA from Florida A&M University, an MA from Michigan State University and a PhD in Comparative Languages and Literature from the University of Madrid, Spain as well as a Diploma in International Relations from the Institut des Hautes Études in Geneva, Switzerland. He was an Assistant Professor, Languages and Literature at Alma College in Michigan before entering public service.
He served as Ambassador of The Bahamas to the United Nations from 1978-1988 and joined UNESCO in 1993, serving as President of the 35th UNESCO General Conference from 2009-2011. He was Chairman of the Board of the National Museum of The Bahamas, Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation of The Bahamas.
Dr. Hepburn is the first Bahamian to be named Chevalier of the French Légion d’Honneur and in 2008 received the Order of the British Empire. He is married to the former Ada Thompson, MD, and they have one son, Davidson Scott.
Dr. Hepburn joins CAM’s current patrons His Excellency Nelson Mandela of South Africa and former Secretary General of the Commonwealth Sir Sridath ‘Sonny’ Ramphal.
CAM’s 2014-2017 STRATEGIC PLAN
Membership Survey Results
We received 39 responses to the survey, primarily from Africa, which reflects the strength of CAM’s membership and the activity level in Africa over the years; there were few responses from Asia or the Caribbean and none from the Pacific which suggests that more work needs to be done in these areas.
Respondents strongly support CAM’s current objectives and areas of focus and felt that CAM’s most valuable asset is the diverse network across the Commonwealth. They requested increased communication, particularly through the CAM Bulletin and website but commented that the website is difficult to navigate and out of date. CAM established a discussion forum on the website two years ago that has not been developed or accessed. Several respondents suggested the idea of twinning museums and offering an exchange programme.
Respondents supported the distance learning programme but noted that it needed to be updated and made even more relevant to those working in small museums with limited resources; CAM has an international panel currently reviewing the program. Respondents also suggested that CAM work with universities to provide accreditation for the DLP, something that remains a long-term goal. Those respondents who had participated in the internship programme found it valuable but also noted areas for improvement, such as having a stronger connection between the intern, host and CAM, something which is now being addressed. Respondents were enthusiastic about the triennial symposia and regional workshops and suggested locations and topics.
The complete survey analysis has been shared with the Executive Council and will inform CAM’s current strategic planning process. Thank you for participating!
CAM Curatorial Intern at Glasgow Museums
CAM has recruited an intern to work at Glasgow Museums until the end of March 2014. She will be assisting Glasgow Museums with community engagement related to an exhibition project and assisting CAM with planning the triennial symposium in Glasgow next May. Rachel Erickson has an MA in Museum Cultures from Birkbeck, University of London and a BA from the University of Winnipeg in Canada. Her MA thesis analyzed the contemporary shift within the British museum sector towards a more audience-led, participatory and inclusive engagement strategy and discussed the potential for the museum to become a space for constructive, cross-cultural encounters. She will be an asset both to Glasgow Museums and to CAM. Welcome Rachel!
CAM Intern Rachel Erickson at the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland
Taking it to the Streets
CAM 40th Anniversary, Triennial Symposium
CAM and Glasgow Museums
Scotland Street School Museum, Glasgow
May 14-17, 2014
We received nearly 50 proposals from people interested in speaking at the symposium in Glasgow and are now reviewing abstracts and biographies to select those to be included in the program, pulling together the program, and securing funding to for delegate travel. We are encouraging all delegates to try to secure their own funding to attend. For information contact: Secretary-General Catherine C. Cole CatherineC.Cole@telus.net.
RECENT CAM ACTIVITIES
Disaster Risk Management for Caribbean Museums
Nassau, Bahamas, September 24-27, 2013
CAM organized a workshop on Disaster Risk Management for Caribbean Museums in collaboration with the the Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation, The National Museum of The Bahamas, Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation (AMMC) September 24-27 in Nassau, The Bahamas. Dr. Davidson Hepburn gave the official welcome followed by remarks from the Director of the National Museums and the Chairman of the AMMC.
CAM extends sincere thanks to our Executive Council member Kim Outten-Stubbs, Chief Curator, AMMC, for her role in coordinating and hosting the workshop. We also extend our appreciation to the facilitators, in particular Stephanie Hornbeck, Caryatid Conservation Services, Inc. / Chief Conservator, Smithsonian Institution Haiti Cultural Recovery Project and Allison Callender, Curator Art & Art History, Barbados Museum and Historical Society, who volunteered to teach aspects of the program.
Participants discuss a water drainage issue outside Balcony House, Nassau
Members of the local heritage community, including the AMMC, the National Trust, the National Gallery and the National Archives, presented local challenges in The Bahamas, and representatives of emergency response organizations such as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA); Royal Bahamas Defense Force; Fire Services, Ministry of Works and Urban Development; and Insurance Management (Bahamas) Limited spoke about disaster preparedness.
Delegates from museums in Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos and the family islands in The Bahamas (Abaco, Long Island and San Salvador) spoke about their greatest threats. Delegates then focused on issues related to the built environment and object conservation, the preparation of Disaster Management Plans and fund development.
We also had the opportunity to visit Balcony House, the oldest surviving wooden home in The Bahamas; the Pompey Museum which has suffered two fires in recent years and is under restoration; the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas; and were guests at the Launch of Reenactment and Living History at Fort Charlotte.
CAM workshop participants outside Ponpey House, Nassau
Although the workshop was restricted to participants from the Caribbean, interest was expressed from CAM members in Africa and the South Pacific who also need to address these issues. CAM will approach other organizations including ICOM, UNESCO, ICCROM, PIMA and AFRICOM to determine whether it is possible to provide workshops in other regions and will work to strengthen the material on disaster risk management in the distance learning program that will be of use to people throughout the Commonwealth.
This workshop was made possible by a generous grant from the Commonwealth Foundation.
It has been just over a year since I joined the Grenada National Museum as the curator and I have been so busy trying to upgrade its displays, fundraising, etc. that I have spent little time thinking about a disaster management plan. Attending this workshop was an eye- opener! Having the opportunity to learn so much was great, but also daunting when I realized the task ahead for our small museum with its limited resources. It was encouraging hearing the experiences of the other participants and having the opportunity to interact and ask questions. Probably the most important thing I took away is the importance of developing a disaster management plan, and that there are things I can begin doing that will eventually get the museum sufficiently prepared for a disaster. Workshops like these are very important for small museums like ours that lack the resources to engage consultant. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.
- Angus Martin, Grenada National Museum
... Of particular note were the presentations on
Emergency Preparedness by Allison Callender and on
Object Handling and Artefact Recovery by Stephanie
Hornbeck. I intend to share this information with
museum professionals in Jamaica. We are in the process
of starting the Museums Association of Jamaica and as
such the information from this workshop will be a very
good starting point for our group. I believe that a multi
stage approach can be taken to get museums disaster
ready. A series of workshops with in-museum activities
and short reports on progress should help in enhancing
the disaster risk reduction processes ….
- Dr Sherene James-Williamson, The University of the West Indies
Postcard from Afghanistan
By Prof Amareswar Galla, CAM Vice-President
Amareswar Galla debriefing on gender mainstreaming in safeguarding intangible heritage with Dr. Sima Samara (middle) and Dr. Habiba Sarabi
Post-Taliban redevelopment of museums and cultural heritage in Afghanistan has been challenging. But there are several success stories. Most such narratives focus on rebuilding or stabilising structures, and repatriation of stolen objects from museums and archaeological sites. The rehabilitation of the National Museum in Kabul is a significant achievement after the wanton destruction by the Taliban. Perhaps, the most visible manifestation internationally is the exhibition entitled Bactrian Gold from the Tillya Tepe, excavated by the Russian archaeologists under the expertise of Viktor Sarianidi, and meticulously documented and handed over to the Kabul Museum. Since then the story of its survival and rescue has been legendary, thanks to the bravery and leadership of the Museum Director Omara Khan Massoudi.
Elsewhere several sites are being pillaged. There are some magnificent pieces recently returned after they were confiscated in the UK. The British Museum has become a valuable ally in this process. The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago is currently digitising the entire museum collection. There are also provincial museums planned for Herat, Bamiyan, Balkh and Aynak. Security continues to be the number one challenge for this national network of museums. If illicit traffic to destination and transit countries could be minimised, it would help to protect archaeological treasures which are being pillaged.
Heritage as a cultural right is also a concern for the Chairperson of the Independent Human Rights Commission, Dr Sima Samar, a champion of women’s rights and human rights. Dr Habiba Sarobi, the first female Governor in Afghanistan and now a Vice Presidential candidate in the next election before the end of March 2014, has not only established the framework for rehabilitation of the Buddhist World Heritage Landscapes of Bamiyan Valley but also laid the foundation for an all-inclusive Bamiyan Cultural Centre that aspires to bring together intangible heritage and tangible heritage.
Join CAM in Celebrating the Queen’s Baton Relay
The Queen’s Baton Relay was launched on October 9, 2013 and over a period of 288 days the baton will visit 70 nations and territories, cover 190,000 kilometres. It will finish its journey at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland on July 23, 2014. CAM would like to include museums of the Commonwealth in this tradition leading up to our own Triennial Symposium – Taking It To The Streets – which will be held in Glasgow in May 2014. Is your museum on the Baton route? Please send us 250 words about your museum and any activities related to the Baton or the Commonwealth Games generally to include in a blog leading to Glasgow. Contact: Wendy Molnar firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the Queen’s Baton Relay website for more information: www.glasgow2014.com/queens-baton-relay
CAM EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
President: Rooksana Omar, South Africa
Vice Presidents: Michael Gondwe, Malawi and Prof. Amareswar Galla, Australia
Treasurer: Timothy Mason, U.K.
Secretary General: Catherine C. Cole, Canada
Huism Tan, Singapore
Elford Liverpool, Guyana
Dr. Sam Sirox Kari, Papua New Guinea
Fredrick Karanja Mirara, Kenya
Kim Outten Stubbs, Bahamas
Umebe Onyejekwe, Nigeria
Mrinalini Venkateswaran, India
Past President: Prof. Martin Segger, Canada
RENEW YOUR CAM MEMBERSHIP NOW!
CAM’s membership year runs from July 1-June 30. If you have not yet renewed your membership please do so as soon as possible. Pay by PayPal: www.maltwood.uvic.ca/cam/about/membership_info.html.
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