CAM Bulletin No. 28 May/June 2015
by Rooksana Omar
The one thread that binds the Commonwealth Association of Museums membership is our common political, economic and linguistic heritage and of course the fact that we work in museums which have collections that reflect our Imperial heritage. I have recently been reflecting on the role of museums within the wider heritage sector because of a campaign that was initiated for the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue from the University of Cape Town. Needless to say Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902) was a British businessman, mining magnate, politician who founded the British South Africa Company which in turn founded Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Zambia as British territories. He was also the founder of the Rhodes scholarship currently known as the Mandela Rhodes scholarship.
The 'Rhodes must fall' campaign spread like wild fire and other campaigns sprouted up against different statues, memorials and monuments in public spaces. There was a frenzy of activity to deface, necklace and destroy these representations of 'heroes' from an era when there was volatile political suppression. My point is that while there was fiery discussion about the pros and cons of what each of the statues represented historically there was also a loud call for the statues to be removed and placed in the museum and I began to feel a sense of discomfort about the perception of the role of museums in these turbulent times. I could not help but wonder whether museums are the right place to house these unwanted statues; is it our role as museums to rescue these statues? Perhaps we as CAM should share what has happened in your part of the Commonwealth so that our membership can learn how to deal with such complex demands placed on museums.
Junior curator programme, Barbados Museum
Workshop: Museum Education and Professional Development in the Caribbean, Barbados, June 17-19, 2015
CAM, ICOM Barbados, the Museums Association of the Caribbean, and ICOM ICTOP (the International Committee for the Training of Personnel) are collaborating to curriculum-based formal education for students; informal education/programming for adults and children; and professional development for museum workers in the Caribbean. For more information contact the Secretariat.
Topics to be covered include:
- Formal curriculum-based education for students;
- Inquiry-based teaching methodologies;
- Informal education/programming for adults and children;
- Roundtable discussion of programmes offered in participants' museums
- Programme planning;
- Professional development for museum workers;
- and more!
Hosted by the Barbados Museum and featuring site visits to the Museum of Parliament and the Nidhe Israel Museum. Supported by: The Royal Commonwealth Society-Edmonton Branch, ICOM, and ICOM Barbados.
While we are unable to provide full sponsorship, funding is available to support travel costs of CAM members from Caribbean Commonwealth nations to attend. Applications are due June 1. For more information or to submit an application contact CatherineC.Cole@telus.net.
19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers, The Bahamas, June 22-26, 2015
Following the workshop in Barbados, CAM Secretary-General Catherine C. Cole will travel to The Bahamas to represent CAM at the 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers. The conference theme will be Quality Education for Equitable Development: Performance, Paths and Productivity. In particular, ministers will consider the quality, skills and delivery mechanisms that are needed to meet both national and international standards in relation to:
- Quality in education: enhancing the performance of teachers
- Pathways for economic growth and investment
- ICT integration in education systems and across sectors, and
- Cost and financing: the implications for quality.
CAM board member Kim Outten-Stubbs of The Bahamas is working with conference organisers to place museum education on the agenda.
CAM INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME - FUNDING ANNOUNCED
CAM has received funding from the Canadian government's Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage Programme to support one of the three internships applied for, an Outreach Intern at the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, City Palace, Jaipur, India. The internship will run from October 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016.
The intern will assist assist the museum in the development of outreach programmes related to their permanent galleries and historic buildings, create a training manual and provide staff training on how to implement outreach programmes. He or she will also assist CAM in the planning, fundraising and delivery of a regional workshop on Improving Accessibility in Indian Museums to be held in March 2016 and recommend additional readings for the CAM Distance Learning Programme.
The internship will raise CAM's profile in India and help to further develop networks between CAM and India's museums. The intern will gain invaluable experience working internationally and increase their knowledge of Indian courtly arts, architecture and history.
Since 1997 CAM has provided opportunities for young Canadian museologists to intern in museums and related organizations throughout the Commonwealth funded by the Canadian government. These internships provide invaluable international work experience in the museum field for recent graduates and have benefitted the Canadian museums community and CAM as well as host institutions in Africa, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, the United Kingdom - and now, India.
Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, City Palace, Jaipur
RESEARCH REPORT: PARTICIPATORY GOVERNANCE AND MUSEUMS
by Catherine C. Cole & Lon Dubinsky
As promised in the November/December 2014 issue of the CAM Bulletin, the report on Participatory Governance and Museums conducted by CAM in collaboration with the Galt Museum and Archives in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada and the Musée Héritage Museum in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada is now available on the CAM website at: http://www.maltwood.uvic.ca/cam/publications/index.html.
Stephen Weil noted that, "Museums have changed from organizations based on what they have to organizations defined by what they do." And what they do is increasingly to address contemporary issues.
During a recent presentation at the Canadian Museums Association conference in Banff, Alberta, participants moved around to identify where their organisation or project was on the participatory governance continuum.
The concept of participatory governance may not be familiar to many museologists as it resides primarily in the development literature. Participatory governance is the democratic process in which citizens are active in determining the formation and implementation of policies and programmes affecting their daily lives, a form of engagement which is a viable option for museums in both the developed and the developing world. The question is: How can museums use their resources - their collections, exhibitions, programs and expertise - to motivate citizens to action on contemporary issues?
As the model below illustrates, participatory governance may be defined as the convergence of community engagement and social responsibility. The content axis (top) includes: object centred, issue-based, relevance, social responsibility, and public debate while the process axis (bottom) includes: audience development, participatory museums, community consultation, working together, and shared authority. The two axes meet at participatory governance. We chose the image of Canada Geese flying in V-formation to illustrate the model. Like Canada Geese museums may sometimes take the lead in participatory governance and at other times drop back and develop an object-centred exhibition or a project focused on audience development.
Begun in 2013, the initiative was prompted by a decision of the Commonwealth Foundation, CAM's traditional funder, to limits its grants to projects on participatory governance. To be in a position to continue applying for support, it was necessary to explore the potential for participatory governance initiatives in museums. The report suggests directions CAM members may choose to take.
Work began following the CAM triennial symposium Taking it to the Streets, held in Glasgow in May 2014, when participants from throughout the Commonwealth participated in a one day workshop on participatory governance in the museum context. From June to September 2014, research focused on two aspects concurrently, the literature review and survey of museums and community engagement. Because the concept is more familiar in the development than the museum context, the literature review considered sources beyond museology and the survey addressed themes beyond participatory governance. The report identifies a number of current or past initiatives as well as possibilities for participatory governance in museums.
International Museums Day
The theme of International Museums Day 2015 is Museums for a Sustainable Society. Please see the ICOM website for further information: http://network.icom.museum/international-museum-day. If your museum is planning a related programme let us know. CAM continues to collect ICOM membership numbers. If you are an ICOM member, please send us your membership number as soon as possible at CatherineC.Cole@telus.net.
ICOM Advisory Committee and General Assembly Meetings, Paris, June 1-3
CAM Secretary-General Catherine C. Cole will represent CAM at the ICOM meetings in Paris June 1-3. CAM is very grateful for funding received from ICOM for the workshop in Barbados and encouraged by ICOM's interest in including reports from affiliated organizations like CAM in the Advisory Committee meeting.
Recommendation on the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections
A final report, with recommendations on the protection and promotion of museums and collections is being circulated and will be discussed at a meeting at UNESCO in Paris on May 27-38. The documents are available at: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/museums/recommendation-on-the-protection-and-promotion-of-museums-and-collections/.
NEWS FROM COMMONWEALTH MUSEUMS
Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu
Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam is regarded as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Vanuatu. Now based in Australia, Kirk Huffman Honorary Curator (National Museum) Vanuatu Cultural Centre, reports that the cultural centre escaped major damage. The main floor got a bit wet, and the main floor of the newly-opened National Archives building next door got a bit flooded, but there was no damage to collections in either building. He noted that "although built of modern materials, both these buildings follow a traditional architectural style from the northern islands that minimises cyclone damage." All staff and families are fine, although several families lost their houses. The Malakula Cultural Centre was not damaged, as the cyclone passed far to the east. The Tafea Cultural Centre, on the island of Tanna, which opened 2010 got its roof blown off, but all staff and their families are fine. The roof can be replaced: "As Tanna does not traditionally produce masks, drums, etc, there was little tangible in the collections there to destroy." Huffman notes Tanna is a classical example where traditional culture is almost completely intangible (one of the reasons why it is rather difficult for a cyclone to destroy that island's cultural heritage - "well, unless it carries off all the knowledge-holders, that is").
Touring Exhibition Showcases Kiribati Culture
Tungaru: The Kiribati Project addresses contemporary issues in Kiribati including climate change, overpopulation, and other threats to traditional ways of life. Titled after the pre-colonial name for Kiribati, the exhibition is a collaboration between New Zealand artists Chris Charteris and Jeff Smith, inspired by Charteris' desire to explore the island heritage of his ancestors. Tungaru includes sculpture, installation, photography and interactive video, while incorporating traditional materials found on Kiribati. The exhibition is currently showing at Pataka Museum in Porirua, New Zealand until May 31st. For more updates go to: https://www.facebook.com/kiribatiproject
Interactive warrior by Jeff Smith. Photo: Sam Hartnett
CAM Vice-President Amareswar Galla is returning to Australia to live effective May 22, 2015.
Welcome new members:
Shahnaz Mckie, Canada; Christine Ngereza, Tanzania; National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago.
RENEW YOUR CAM MEMBERSHIP NOW!
Join or renew your membership by electronic transfer, bank draft or PayPal at:: www.maltwood.uvic.ca/cam/about/membership_info.html
Membership rates, for individuals based upon the Human Development Index:
Group 1: $50.00
Group 2: $35.00
Group 3: $25.00
Group 4: $10.00
Associate/Non-voting, including, students/retired
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Group 1: Australia; New Zealand; Canada; Singapore; United Kingdom; Brunei Darussalam; Cyprus; Malta; Barbados; Seychelles & residents of all non-Commonwealth nations
Group 2: Bahamas; Grenada; Malaysia; Antigua and Barbuda; Trinidad and Tobago; Dominica; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Mauritius; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Jamaica; Saint Lucia; Sri Lanka
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CAM Executive Council, 2014-2017
President: Rooksana Omar, Chief Executive Officer, Iziko Museums of South Africa
Vice-President: Amareswar Galla, Founding Executive Director, International Institute for the Inclusive Museum, India, Denmark & Australia
Treasurer: Ericka Chemko, Program and Operations Manager, Edmonton Heritage Council, Canada
Past-President: Martin Segger, Research Associate, Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria, Canada
Lumepa Apelu, Principal Officer, Museum of Samoa
Richard Benjamin, Head, International Slavery Museum, National Museums Liverpool , UK
Claude Faubert, Director-General , Canada Science and Technology Museum
David Mbuthia, Head, National Museums of Kenya (NMK) Central Region
Kim Outten Stubbs, Chief Curator, National Museum of The Bahamas
Huism Tan, Head, Curation and Exhibitions, National Library Singapore
Mrinalini Venkateswaran, Projects Manager, Eka Archiving Services, New Delhi, India
The Commonwealth Association of Museums is an Affiliated Organization of ICOM and a recognized Commonwealth Organisation.