CAM Bulletin No. 23 July/August 2014
By Rooksana Omar
CAM's triennial symposium presented in collaboration with Glasgow Museums was very successful with 65 delegates from 17 countries attending, including participants from Australia, Belize, Cameroon, Canada, Germany, Grenada, India, Ireland, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Seychelles, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. As this was our first symposium organized without the financial support of the Commonwealth Foundation the diversity of countries represented is particularly significant. Participants discussed various ways in which museums engage with different communities in and outside the museum.
Congratulations to Cowrie Circle members Michael Gondwe and Kim Outten Stubbs who were inducted at the Triennial General Assembly in Glasgow.
I would like to welcome new board members for the 2014-2017 term: Lumepa Apelu, Samoa; Richard Benjamin, UK; Treasurer Ericka Chemko and Claude Faubert, Canada; and David Mbuthia, Kenya; as well as continuing board members Vice-President Amareswar Galla, Denmark/ Australia; Kim Outten Stubbs, The Bahamas; Huism Tan, Singapore; Mrinalini Venkateswaran, India and Past-President Martin Segger, Canada. Timothy Mason has agreed to remain on the board until September 2014.. Their biographies will be featured in the next issue of the CAM Bulletin. Thanks to outgoing board members Michael Gondwe, Malawi; Elford Liverpool, Guyana; Sam Sirox Kari, Papua New Guinea; Fredrick Karanja Mirara, Kenya; and Umebe Onyejekwe, Nigeria for their service to CAM over the years.
Cowrie Circle Inductees
Membership in the Cowrie Circle, CAM's highest honour, is given to pay tribute to the growth and development of museums in the Commonwealth. Introduced in 1998, the nine living members of the Cowrie Circle were joined by outgoing CAM VP Michael Gondwe of Malawi and continuing CAM Council member Kim Outten Stubbs of The Bahamas. See their complete citations on the CAM website.
Michael Gondwe taught school before he began working at the Museums of Malawi in 1980. Michael was head of Lake Malawi Museum in Mangochi from 1986-1990 and the Mzuzu Regional Museum from 1991-1999, and was the National Education Coordinator (Curator) for the Museums of Malawi until his retirement. Mike holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum and Heritage Studies from the University of Western Cape, South Africa. His program Museum Saves Lives was presented at the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Summit in Trinidad as a case study for Commonwealth nations demonstrating how culture can achieve Millennium Development Goals. Mike has been very active on the international museum scene and spoke at conferences around the world. He served on CAM's Executive since 2003, as Vice- President from 2011-2014 and as a National Coordinator for the Group for Children in African Museums (GCAM) a branch of CAM.
Kim Outten Stubbs
Chief Curator at the National Museum of The Bahamas, for over 20 years Kim Outten Stubbs has worked towards a national museum system, establishing the Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation, Balcony House Museum, the San Salvador Museum, and the Long Island Museum. Kim organized the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Conference and served on the Steering Committee for the African Diaspora Conference in The Bahamas and as host curator for A Slave Ship Speaks: The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie, Lest We For Get: The Triumph Over Slavery and Amistad. Kim has served on CAM's Executive since 2003 and been instrumental in the organization of three CAM programmes: Disaster Risk Management for Caribbean Museums (2013), Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation: Resources, Research and Education in Caribbean Museums (2007), and a meeting regarding children in Caribbean museums (2005). She has MAs from the State University of New York at Albany in African and African American Studies and from University College, University of London in Museum Studies.
Taking it to the Streets Symposium
Duncan Dornan of Glasgow Museums and Rooksana Omar, CAM President and CEO of Iziko Museums of South Africa welcomed delegates to the symposium. Two days of presentations from international speakers kicked off with keynote speaker Mel Young of the Homeless World Cup. Young described efforts to change the lives of homeless people and alleviate poverty through football since 2003. His work provides a mirror to museums addressing Millennium Development Goals and Post-2015 Development Goals. Below is an overview of some of the major themes introduced by speakers.
Formal Museum/Community Collaborations
Piotr Bienkowski, Gerri Moriarty and Sally Medlyn shared the successes and challenges of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation's Our Museum: Communities and Museums as Active Partners programme which is supporting nine museums and galleries across the United Kingdom to embed participation and give communities real agency through a process of organisational change. Loveday Williams, National Museum Wales and community partner Kat York, NewLink Wales illustrated a museum/ community collaboration that features opportunities for volunteers in all aspects of the museum's work based on the needs of the volunteer rather than the museum. Chris Jamieson, Glasgow Museums provided an overview of a number of current museum/community collaborations in the city and delegates had the opportunity to visit their choice of projects and meet with community members. Lon Dubinsky, Concordia University, Montreal, discussed a comparable program operated in Canada 20 years ago, focused on literacy but that also involved a coordinated program led by the Canadian Museums Association linking museums and literacy organizations to imbed collaborative initiatives, some of which survive to this day.
Collaborations Addressing Social Issues
A number of speakers focused on how museums collaborate with their communities to address social issues. Christina Hardy, Nelson Provincial Museum, New Zealand reminiscence and Zoë Brown and Nuala Morse, Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums, England health care. Hilary Jennings, The Happy Museum, explored principles being tested in 22 museums throughout the UK. Braveson Nkhoma, Lake Malawi Museum discussed challenges faced in involving communities in developing exhibitions and outreach programmes related to critical issues of health, poverty, climate change and human trafficking.
Nicole Sabrina Barreau, Seychelles and John Angus Martin, Grenada in discussion
Engaging Communities in Collections Development
Speakers discussed new ways to connect collections and communities. Nicole Sabrina Barreau, Seychelles Natural History Museum outlined how the museum involved the community in the devleopment of the Seychelles Plant Gallery and improved access to the collection through a film, newsletter, photo competition, interactive travelling exhibition and outreach programmes. Similarly, Andrew Ellis, Public Catalogue Foundation, UK, described how the Foundation has opened up public art collections for enjoyment, learning and research through a photographic record of the nation's entire collection of paintings in public ownership built in partnership with the BBC and current efforts to encourage the public to tag the paintings with keywords and subject information using the Your Paintings Tagger tool to address the issue of declining specialist knowledge in UK collections.
Two current international collaborative projects to enhance knowledge of collections were introduced: Jeremy Silvester of the Museums Association of Namibia outlined a project initiated by the International Committee for Museums of Ethnography to 'map' the location of African ethnographic collections held in European museums and trace the origins of European material culture held in African museums which involves museums in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Finland, Germany, Norway, and the UK. Eve Haddow and Jilly Burns, National Museums Scotland, described a project being undertaken by four Scottish museums in partnership to review their Pacific collections, study and document stories that emerge both within and across the collections, identify areas for further research, and facilitate worldwide knowledge sharing about the material.
Co-curation, whether with individuals, communities or other museums, was addressed by several speakers. Rachel Roy, University of British Columbia, Canada reflected on city museums and partnerships with urban communities through recent co-curatorial projects undertaken at the Museum of Vancouver (MOV), a city museum that focuses on ongoing engagements with diverse urban communities. Linda Tzang, Royal Alberta Museum, Canada examined two cooperative and co- curated exhibitions that attempted to present contemporary communities in Canada rather than their links to the 'old country' and tensions that arose as a result of this interpretive direction. Jennifer Siung, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ireland looked at some of the challenges in engaging with culturally diverse communities through programming, and explored how museums can seek new audiences and meet members of Ireland's new diverse communities.
Working with Communities on Contested Histories
Speakers addressed the role of museums in working with communities to navigate contested spaces and histories. Helen Perry, Causeway Museum Service, Northern Ireland gave several examples of co-curated peace building projects in post conflict society. John Angus Martin, Grenada National Museum described efforts to mark the 30th anniversary of the executions of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and his supporters and the American invasion of Grenada, events which have polarized the Grenadian population. The museum solicited input from many involved to create a balanced presentation and is using feedback from the temporary exhibit to create a permanent exhibit that echoes the views of Grenadians and provides a place for healing.
Participants on a tour of the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre
Museums in Community Development
Csilla E. Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke, Leiden University, the Netherlands discussed community engagement in the Caribbean and stressed the need for multi-vocality to represent the diversity of Caribbean identities, pasts and heritage and challenged the traditional Western museum model. Sherilyne L. Jones, Museum of Belize and Houses of Culture, suggested that the idea of museums is a relatively new concept in Belize and described the House of Culture concept, an open and accessible cultural space in district towns that acts as an intermediary for the Museum of Belize and allows the community to engage and access resources that promote cultural development that may otherwise not be accessible to them. Asma Ibrahim, Museum & Art Gallery Dept., State Bank of Pakistan also addressed means of bridging the gap between museums and communities through community- led exhibitions and outreach programs that empower people to take control of their own course of development. Similarly, Wendy Molnar, Cultural Visions Consulting, Canada explored how heritage centres have evolved in the Canadian North through working within their communities and particularly with Elders to create events and programming that enhances culture and heritage.
Manvi Seth, Department of Museology, National Museum, New Delhi described a series of projects she has been coordinating for the National Museum Institute and Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council involving documentation of intangible cultural heritage and capacity building. Mrinalini Venkateswaran, Eka Archiving Services, India/CAM Board Member outlined the process involved in developing the Government of Punjab's Cultural Heritage Policy which defines the state's future approach to the safeguarding of heritage and its relation to socio-economic development.
Re-Engaging with Zimbabwe
CAM Board Member Timothy Mason and Geoffrey Davis, Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (ACLALS) Board Member outlined the efforts of the Commonwealth Committee on Zimbabwe to identify where help is needed to assist Zimbabwe's development programmes as well as its anticipated re- integration into the international community; to investigate gaps in technical and training capacity in Zimbabwe; and to broker effective responses to identified needs in the wider Commonwealth. They outlined the findings in the report Re-engaging with Zimbabwe through Arts and Culture and provided an update on activities since.
Delegates enjoying a break
Museums Initiatives Outside the Museum
A number of papers dealt with exhibitions and programs outside the museum Ð that came about whether by accident, intention or necessity. Kaleemullah Lashari, Management Board for Antiquities & Physical Heritage, Sindh, Pakistan described the neighbourhood of galleries and restaurants that arose in the Cukoo's Den when an exhibition of paintings by Iqbal Hussain of girls from Heera Mandi (Diamond Market), the red light district in Lahore was cancelled by the Alhumra Art Gallery. Martin Segger, Past-President, CAM, Canada outlined different approaches to public art taken in three communities on Vancouver Island. David Mbuthia, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi described efforts to reach communities particularly through a recent outreach programme in Baringo County that made ongoing paleontological research relevant to the local community. Blair Jackson of the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, New Zealand described the Outer Spaces programme which, since the gallery's closure to the public after the devastating earthquakes of February 2011 and September 2010, has become the gallery's main vehicle to connect with audiences and to maintain profile with the community, funders and stakeholders.
David Mbuthia, Kenya presenting his paper
Receptions and Museum Visits
Delegates enjoyed the hospitality of the City of Glasgow at a reception at the City Chambers and of the Hunterian Art Gallery at a reception sponsored by the University of Glasgow and Museums Galleries Scotland. David Gaimster gave an introduction to the university's Museums and Gallery Service. He outlined the Museum University Student Educators (MUSEs) programme, which recruits students to deliver public gallery tours, and the Hunterian Associates Programme (HAP), which enables doctoral researchers to apply their personal research knowledge to collections through a public programme of events and interactive activities. Delegates had the choice of visiting the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC), Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, or the Riverside Museum of Transport and Technology.
Participants on the way to the Hunterian reception
Participatory Governance in the Museum Context
CAM is one of about 80 recognized Commonwealth Organizations. The Commonwealth Foundation's new strategic plan now focuses on participatory governance. Participatory governance calls for emphasis on encouraging and enabling citizens to engage with the state and the market and dialogue between the citizen and others in the governance system is a cornerstone. Participatory governance can result in policy change, social transformation, and responsive institutions. There is increasing recognition of the need to make space for citizens and many examples of citizens taking advantage of those spaces.
Sorting through concepts of participatory governance
Workshop participants discussed what participatory governance meant to them. Jeremy Silvester of Namibia presented a case study of the importance of the Baobab tree in the Ombalantu community and whether the Baobab Museum would provide a space for debate on the issue of deforestation Ð which could lead to participatory governance in forestry legislation Ð or whether the purpose of the museum is still viewed simply to be a tourist attraction. Participants discussed the role of museums in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: How museums can use their assets, their expertise, collections, exhibitions and programmes to help people engage with contemporary challenges and specifically to impact legislative change. Finally, participants discussed potential participatory governance initiatives that could be undertaken by museums and the role for CAM in organizing regional workshops and/or demonstration projects. CAM has initiated a study of participatory governance in the museum context in collaboration with two Canadian museums: the Galt Museum and Archives in Lethbridge and the Musée Heritage Museum in St. Albert, funded by the Alberta Museums Association.
This conference was a first for me in regards to the theme of museums and community engagement... It was good to hear of the work museums are doing to engage communities all over, but more so to narrow that gap between people and museums. It was inspiring to hear of the many ways in which people are working to open up their museums. It definitely started me thinking of what I can do here in Grenada! Though I enjoyed and learned from many of the presentations, I believe it was the side conversations I had with some of the presenters and attendees that were truly valuable. These conversations afford time to elaborate about specific parts of presentations that you were interested in, and you have the time to ask more in-depth questions. I found that people were always willing to discuss their work, which made engaging with them very easy. It truly was a wonderful conference and I am happy I had the opportunity to attend.
Angus Martin - Grenada
The most inspiring experience of the symposium was the visit made to Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC). The complex contains 17 purpose-built 'pods' that are used to store the 98% of the 1,400,000 artifacts from Glasgow's museums and galleries that are not on display. The visit was impressive not only as an introduction to the state-of-the-art storage systems used to safely store and conserve different types of object, but also for the GMRC's role as the hub of a mobile museum system. The mobile museum system consists of a set of purpose-built boxes contained artifacts from GMRC's educational collection and organised according to theme. The system enables the boxes to be loaned to schools, museums, libraries, old age peoples' homes and other interested institutions.
Jeremy Silvester - Namibia
I chose to visit Govan, an area historically associated with ship-building located opposite the new Riverside Transport Museum. Several community partnerships were covered, ranging from working with local self-help groups that used boat-building as a means to provide training as well as sense of community among those on the fringes.... Others re-told local history, and in some cases worked with the museum to re-interpret collections on display. Taken together, part of the point of the project is to use the community's leverage to facilitate better access to the museum. It is ironic that there is no bridge to get from Govan to the museum! It was a valuable reiteration for me that museums do not have to have a big impact, but a meaningful one.
Mrinalini Venkateswaran - India
Site visit to discuss community partnerships in Govan
As I flash back on my experience during CAM's symposium titled "Taking it to the Streets" in Glasgow exactly a month ago, I have a lot of good memories. The presentations were all very insightful. I enjoyed moderating one of the symposium's sessions. The diversity of conversations I had with different participants was not only a clear testimony of their commitment and experience in the field of heritage, but a great inspiration to me as well. Being nominated to the Executive Board of CAM was a humbling experience to me.
David Mbuthia - Kenya
CAM acknowledges the sacrifices participants made to attend and is pleased to report that David Mbuthia's family is well following the bombings in Nairobi and was saddened to hear of the difficulties our colleagues Asma Ibrahim and Kaleemullah Lashari are going through in Karachi since the arrest June 3 of MQM leader Altaf Hussain who has been living in exile in London. These events make our time together all the more precious.
The Program Committee was comprised of Catherine C. Cole, Secretary-General, CAM, Chair; Tim Mason, Arts & Culture Consultant, UK; Carol Meyer, Head Curator, UBC Museum of Anthropology, Canada; Rooksana Omar, CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa; Huism Tan, Exhibitions, National Library Singapore; Mrinalini Venkateswaran, Projects Manager, Eka Cultural Resources & Research, India; Tarisi Vunidilo, Executive Director, Pacific Islands Museums Association, New Zealand; and Helen Watkins, Research Manager/ History, Glasgow Museums, Scotland.
Thanks to CAM Intern Rachel Erickson who provided the liaison between CAM and Glasgow Museums and coordinated local arrangements and to our hosts and collaborators at Glasgow Museums, in particular Duncan Dornan, Senior Manager (Public Programming and Customer Service), Patricia Allan, Curator of World Cultures, Yla Barrie, Volunteer and Placement Co- ordinator, Chris Jamieson, Open Museum Manager, and Helen Watkins, Research Manager (History), volunteers, and Glaswegians who opened their homes to international delegates. And thanks to the City of Glasgow, the University of Glasgow and Museums Galleries Scotland for hosting receptions and to the Rangoonwala Foundation, the British Council, the Alberta Museums Association and to our own organizations for supporting delegate travel.
Creating places to live in, together: Reflections from the post-symposium tour in Northern Ireland
By Sherry Ann Chapman
participants at Dunluce Castle
"The sea was a connector, then," observed John Hamilton, Community Outreach Coordinator with the Causeway Museum Service, during a community dinner hosted by the Bushmills History and Folklore Group. We had spent part of a blustery afternoon on the north Antrim coast of the old province of Ulster, on the island of Ireland, walking what remains of Dunluce Castle. It was held by the MacDonnell family in the early 1600s as an unofficial part of the plantation of English and Scottish Protestant settlers by the English Crown. In about 2008 a collaboration emerged between the Causeway Museum Service (CMS), the University of Ulster's Centre for Maritime Archaeology and local community members. Together they, with local schools, uncovered and studied layers of Dunluce Castle grounds and learned from material cultural evidence. The area was culturally diverse in an era of extensive maritime travel. Knowing of such past connections can be helpful to meaning making in a place of contested narratives following the Troubles, the conflict in the 20th century.
The insights from this project help to populate the new online, Northern Ireland Community Archive: http://niarchive.org/trails/plantation-rewriting-the-story/ and http://www.niarchive.org/causeway/.
One of the collages created during the place mapping workshop.
Causeway Museum Service has provided leadership amid collective efforts to understand the 17th century, Plantation of Ulster. Since 1999, Helen Perry has facilitated a vision for the service. At the symposium in Glasgow, she described how the region has only 10% of Northern Ireland's population yet it experiences tremendous tourism which can be a pressure for a society living with the effects of violence. Northern Ireland is in the midst of a 'decade of anniversaries' (2012-2023); given the contentious nature of the anniversaries the CMS collaborates with various community groups, academic researchers and other organizations. They create ways for Northern Ireland and visitors to consider a longer spectrum of the past than just the Troubles. By inviting people to explore this landscape, the CMS and partners hope that people will move out of familiar places and ideas. For example, we participated in a walking tour of Coleraine to explore local archaeology and then a workshop in which we co- created composite maps of the town with photos and images (e.g., from maps, brochures). Co-facilitator, Gemma Reid, described that tour/workshops like this one create "a process regarding socio/emotional meaning making," critical for place making.
We ended the tour at Corrymeela, a community for healing and reconciliation, based on the north Antrim coast. From Sean Pettis, we learned about Corrymeela's efforts to support teachers as they, with students, 'face history'. We heard hopes for partnering between Corrymeela and the CMS. Then my mind returned to that blustery afternoon at Dunluce Castle. Describing a 17th century, Scottish merchant's home with pottery from across Europe, Dr. Colin Breen, a lead archaeologist, described the potential for collaborative, community archaeology in that, "You create a space to live in, learn in, work in, to create place in." This and other projects with which CMS is involved demonstrated to us the encouraging potential for community engagement. Imagine that! A community- archaeology project as a process for moving beyond division to re-connection!
CAM Distance Learning Programme
A group of museum workers in South Africa recently completed the Distance Learning Programme. Congratulations to: Vivienne Garside, Nola Cynthia Ladwig, Zanoxolo Mnqobi Mkhize, and Ms. Susan Zama Mbatha of the Eshowe -Vukani Museum and Zululand Historical Museum; Jongukuthula Shabalala and Thobeka Nkosi of Ladysmith; Barbara Gwenyth Bruynse, Mrs. Elizabeth Mackay, and Charles Robert Hicken of Himeville Museum, and Robert Luyt of the Local History Museums, Durban. Congratulations too to Ashley Clarkson of Canada.
L to R: Vivienne Garside (VM), Zanoxolo Mkhize (Zululand Historical Museum), Zama Mbatha (VM) and Nola Ladwig (ZHM and Vukani Zulu Cultural Museum).
CAM Internship Programme
For the first time since the CAM internship programme began in 1997, we were unsuccessful in our funding application to the Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage. In the past up to four positions have been allocated for international internships Ð this year the applications were evaluated against Canadian projects rather than as international opportunities as is expected to be the case in future. We are following up with the Canadian Museums Association which administers the programme on behalf of the federal government to try to ensure support for international internships in future. These opportunities are invaluable for Canadian museologists interested in international work as well as for host museums throughout the Commonwealth.
Strategic Plan and Funding Diversification Strategy
CAM members approved the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan and Funding Diversification Strategy with minor changes. These documents were previously circulated to members; the revised documents are posted on the CAM website.
CAM Bylaw Revisions
Secretary-General Catherine C. Cole provided an update on the new Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and the steps involved in applying for continuance under the act (required by October 2014), revising the bylaws, and applying for registered charity status. CAM's bylaws will be streamlined in accordance with current practice and changes required by the act will be introduced. The revised bylaws will be circulated to members to review when they are available.
CAM board member Timothy Mason attended the ICOM General Assembly in Paris. CAM had proposed an agenda item to further collaboration between Affiliated Organizations (like CAM) and International Committees (ICs). The following proposals were presented to the Advisory Committee and approved:
"To raise awareness of Affiliated Organizations, the membership application form should also contain the list and the contact information of these organizations. NCs should also promote ICs and Affiliated Organizations in a more effective fashion, be it in their forms or on their websites; and
That interested Affiliated Organizations should be allowed to present themselves and their interests in co-operation with the ICs during the ICs separate annual meetings."
CAM welcomes this new openness towards Affiliated Organizations and looks forward to fruitful collaborations with International and National Committees in the future.
RENEW YOUR CAM MEMBERSHIP NOW!
If you have not yet renewed for 2014-2015, please do so as soon as possible. You must renew by August to continue to be recognized as a CAM member! The CAM membership year now runs from January- December. Renew now and your membership expires in December 2015. CAM accepts payment by electronic transfer, bank draft or PayPal: www.maltwood.uvic.ca/cam/about/membership_info.html
New membership rates, for individuals based upon the Human Development Index:
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