CAM Bulletin No. 34 May/June 2016
Heritage and Nation Building
CAM Triennial General Assembly
Hosted by the Glenbow Museum and Archives
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
June 22-23, 2017
CALL FOR PAPERS
Canada marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. This symposium provides an opportunity to explore the role of museums and heritage organisations in creating and promoting a national identity with colleagues from throughout the Commonwealth during Canada’s sesquicentennial year. Suggested topics Include:
- The Road to Independence: museums and heritage organisations’ place in shifting national identities
- Museums, Human Rights and Identity
- Participatory Governance: How heritage organisations such as museums can use their resources – collections, programmes and expertise – to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Human Remains Management, in collaboration with the Iziko Museums of South Africa
- Migration: Cities - (Im)migration and Arrival Cities, in collaboration with ICOM CAMOC (Collections and Activities of Museums of Cities) and ICOM ICR (International Committee of Regional Museums);
- Use of technology in information sharing about objects and collections
- Indigenous and scientific approaches to conservation
CAM invites proposals for papers, panels, Ignite! sessions, workshops, posters, and other presentation forms. Interested presenters should send a proposal of 300–500 words accompanied by a 200-word biography by June 30, 2016 to: CAM Secretary-General Catherine C. Cole, CatherineC.Cole@telus.net; phone 1-780-424-2229 for more information.
Optional Pre-symposium Events
Tour Blackfoot heritage sites in Southern Alberta, June 19-20
- Experience Siksika cultural heritage at Blackfoot Crossing http://www.blackfootcrossing.ca/
- Imagine how First Nations people hunted buffalo at Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump world heritage site http://www.history.alberta.ca/headsmashedin/
- Explore Writing on Stone, a sacred landscape with First Nation petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) http://www.albertaparks.ca/writing-on-stone.aspx
Indigenous Heritage Roundtable, June 21
In collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations – Invited speakers:
- UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, featuring international indigenous voices
- Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations from a heritage perspective
- Preservation of indigenous heritage sites, intangible cultural heritage, indigenous curatorship, what has changed since the 1992 Museums and First Peoples Task Force and CAM’s 1994 triennial on Curatorship: Indigenous Perspectives in Post-Colonial Societies
Workshop: Access in Museums in South Asia
Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum
City Palace, Jaipur, India
March 25-28, 2016
CAM collaborated with the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum to organise a workshop on Access in Museums in South Asia. Thirty-three participants from a variety of museum disciplines came together to increase awareness of and discuss potential solutions to the challenges of making buildings and collections more physically and intellectually accessible with a special focus on historic properties and collections. The timeliness of the workshop’s topic was underlined by the unprecedented amount of media interest in our activities and deliberations throughout the week.
Following welcoming statements by Consultant Director of the MSMS II Museum Dr Giles Tillotson and CAM Secretary-General Catherine C. Cole, CAM Vice-President Dr Amareswar Galla made introductory remarks. Accessibility consultant Shivani Gupta gave the keynote address highlighting the difficulties and indignities faced by the differently-abled. Gupta recently wrote No Looking Back, an account of her struggle to rebuild her life after she lost the use of her limbs in a 1992 accident.
Chaitra Dhar Taye, Yash Pratap Shekhawat, Siddhartha Chatterjee, Nikita Sharma, and Pankaj Sharma during the simulation exercise at the City Palace
Deepak Kalra, UMANG School for the Disabled in Jaipur, led a simulation exercise in which participants were equipped with wheelchairs, or blindfolds or glasses with lenses painted or scratched to simulate different visual impairments, and sent out to accomplish basic tasks like purchase an admission ticket, explore particular galleries, use the toilets, or enter a store. We then had a facilitated discussion of what we’d learned.
We listened to a number of formal presentations on “Conflict, Disabilities and Museums” by Amar Galla; “Designing for Universal Access” by Exhibition Designer Siddhartha Chatterjee; “Access Audits” by Architect and Heritage Management Consultant Siddhant Shah and Inclusive Education Specialist Meenakshi Srivastava; and “Developing Access Policy” by Catherine C. Cole, as well as case studies of the State Bank Museum & Art Gallery in Karachi, Pakistan, by Director Dr Asma Ibrahim and of the City Palace in Udaipur by Dr Rachna Khare, Head of the Architecture Department at the School of Planning and Architecture in Bhopal. Participants were then able to practise the ideas introduced with workshop activities on conducting access audits and designing for universal access, as well as a facilitated discussion on reading artifacts for differently-abled audiences.
Participants discussing access audits in the Baradari at the City Palace
Photograph of contrast, of the heat of the sun and the cool of the shade, taken by Asma Ibrahim
Partho Bhowmick, Executive Director of Mumbai-based Blind With Camera led a very interesting workshop on blind photography in which participants worked in pairs and took turns wearing a blindfold and photographing touch, sound, smell, contrast (i.e., between sun and shade), and a body part. The results were remarkable.
We visited a number of museums and heritage sites in and around Jaipur including: Jaigarh Fort, Jal Mahal, Anokhi Museum, Government Central Museum (Albert Hall), and General Amar Singh Kanota Library & Museum. In each case, participants roleplayed to imagine what the experience would be like if we had any one of a number of conditions ranging from lack of language to pregnancy, visual impairment, physical impairments, etc.
Workshop participants on our way to Jal Mahal
Following the workshop, Giles Tillotson, the foremost authority on Indian palace architecture, led a tour to Nagaur and Jodhpur. In Nagaur we were joined by supporters of the Islamic Department of the MET in New York City. In Jodhpur, we met with Director Karni Singh Jasol to present our preliminary findings and initiate a more collaborative approach among palace museums to addressing these concerns in the future.
Thanks to the organising committee, consisting of Mrinalini Venkateswaran, Giles Tillotson, Bess Forrestall, Siddhant Shah, and Catherine C. Cole, particularly to Mrinalini who served as convenor and Bess who was responsible for most of the local arrangements. Special thanks to our hosts, Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur and Maharaja Gaj Singhof Jodhpur, for their hospitality and willingness to allow workshop participants to critique their sites in terms of accessibility.
CAM has received a Special Projects grant from ICOM to support a publication resulting from the workshop. S-G Catherine C. Cole also received funding from the Alberta Museums Association and the Canadian Museums Association to support her travel costs. The workshop was supported by ICOMOS India, ICOM Canada, ICTOP, the Gem Palace Jaipur and the Mehrangarh Museum Trust. Workshop associates were Jaigarh Public Charitable Trust, General Amar Singh Kanota Library and Museum Trust, the International Institute for the Inclusive Museum, and Eka Archiving Services.
The Jaipur Declaration on Access in Museums
We the delegates of the Commonwealth Association of Museums workshop on Access in Museums in South Asia, meeting from 25-28 March, 2016 at the City Palace, Jaipur;
Recalling the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) which affirms that: “disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”;
Recalling the International Council of Museums (ICOM) definition of museums, and the ICOM Cultural Diversity Charter (2010);
- Museums retain knowledge and resources for society and have the power to influence it; and all persons have the right of access to them.
- For the purpose of this declaration, access means the ability of persons with disabilities to engage with museum spaces and collections in ways which provide an enjoyable and educational experience, with dignity, safety, independence, and exercising choice.
- Access includes, but is not restricted to, intellectual, physical and sensory access, with the aim of enabling exploration and social learning. It includes access to knowledge and experience both on site and online (real and virtual).
- Providing access acknowledges the unique needs and expectations of diverse audiences and institutions.
- A high proportion of museums in India and Pakistan occupy heritage buildings, thus presenting heightened challenges for the provision of access.
- There is currently minimal collaboration between museums and relevant stakeholders in the provision of access. There is minimal awareness of the need for participation and continuous engagement in the process.
We recommend that:
1. Museums in India and Pakistan must regard the provision of access as a non-negotiable matter of human rights and entitlements.
2. Museums should embed accessibility into their policy framework, including developing and implementing minimum standards and guidelines, treating it as an ongoing and incremental process.
3. Museum professionals, including but not restricted to policy-makers, curators, administrators, designers, architects, and educators, should collaborate in providing and improving access.
4. To improve access, all museum professionals should consult and collaborate with individuals and organisations comprising or representing the differently-abled; and with appropriate educational institutions and professional bodies.
5. Museums should minimise the disabling effects of existing barriers to access by implementing human-centred design. This encompasses design of systems, products and spaces, for use by all people as independently as possible, and signage in Braille and other forms that are easy to understand.
6. Museum educational programs, along with live interpretation and other forms of assistance and support should seek to engage persons with disabilities.
7.Museums should sensitise all staff to issues of access and facilitate behavioural change through special training.
8. Museums should commit to providing competitive employment opportunities across the spectrum of staff posts to persons with disabilities.
9. With respect to heritage structures and spaces, conservation concerns must not always take priority over access. We recommend consideration of the current use and users of the building, while respecting international guidelines on conservation.
10. Museums should adopt website accessibility standards as per W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium. In keeping with this, museums should support the design, development, production and distribution of relevant technologies and information systems at an early stage, so that they become accessible at minimum cost.
11.Museums should identify the unique challenges that persons with disabilities might encounter during emergency and evacuation situations and develop a risk management strategy accordingly.
CAM 2013-2014 AGM
The AGM was held in Jaipur on March 28, 2016. The Annual Report and Financial Statements are available on the CAM website at: http://www.maltwood.uvic.ca/cam/publications/activity_reports.html
CAM INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME
CAM was delighted to learn that we have received funding from the Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage Programme of the Department of Canadian Heritage, administered by the Canadian Museums Association to support a Human Remains Management Intern at the Iziko Museums of South Africa from October 1, 2016-March 31, 2017.
CAM DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMME
Five more students from South Africa have registered for the Distance Learning Programme bringing the number of students there to nine. We welcome new students on an ongoing basis. If you need training in basic museum studies, and would be interesting in participating in the distance learning programme, review the information on our website http://www.maltwood.uvic.ca/cam/programs/distance_learning.html and contact the Secretariat CatherineC.Cole@telus.net.
Distance Learning through CAM
By Vivienne Garside
It would never have happened if the CAM distance learning course hadn’t been so effective.
In 2009, I had the pleasure of attending GCAM4, which took place at Luthuli Museum, not far from my own Vukani Museum. There I met the most charming, friendly and stimulating people from all over Africa – and they all spoke highly of the CAM course. My immediate thought was, “If a man with a doctorate says he learned a lot from it, we need it, too.” I talked my Board of Trustees into paying for two of us to register, then badgered three of my colleagues from the Zululand Historical Museum to join us. We were away.
The effect of the course was fairly immediate – a sense of orientation developed, an understanding of where we, who live in the deep countryside of Zululand, fit in to the world of museums. Our confidence rose as we developed skills and understanding. How often don’t we museum folks do things because “that’s how they’re done”? Now we understood why we had to do things that way and how that knowledge could be adapted to other situations. Our work standard rose. So we went to conferences and burbled on about how good the course was and how much fun we were having, and a bunch of our friends up in the Drakensberg Mountains – five, I think – decided to register as well.
Then disaster struck! The Commonwealth Foundation terminated their grant to CAM and the cost of the course rose from $100 to $400 – well over R4000 to us. I must explain that our municipalities won’t pay for international courses that are not registered with our national qualifications authority, so individuals have to find their own funding. This was more than most young museum practitioners could afford.
But there are white knights in the most unexpected places. The KwaZulu-Natal committee of the South African Museums Association sat down and had a good think about it, and decided to award bursaries – two in 2015, four in 2016. And a private museum paid for two of their staff. There is a commitment for more bursaries; the CAM course has become to “go to” place for education in KZN museums.
So now we have another nine studying, many of them previously seriously disadvantaged in their education. Most work in remote areas and none could ever afford to take a year off to do a residential course at the same level, which is all we have currently in South Africa. The CAM course fills a dire need for rural museums in particular but I would recommend it to anyone who needs to orientate their skill or discipline into the museum world – these marvellous, stimulating, sometimes whacky places we work in.
Migration: Cities - (Im)migration and Arrival Cities
CAM is collaborating with ICOM CAMOC (Collections and Activities of Museums of Cities) and ICOM ICR (International Committee of Regional Museums) on a special project about migration. Migration: Cities is a long-term project that aims to ethically engage the theme of migration in museum-making, on how to play a socially meaningful role through participation and inclusion of migrant populations in the construction of ‘Arrival Cities’ narratives, and how to have a relevant role in connecting people to foster dialogue between diverse people within ever transforming urban environments. It entails creating a platform for continued sharing of knowledge, experiences and learning tools between museum professionals to support this aim. CAM will be meeting with CAMOC and ICR at ICOM in Milan in July to discuss details. If your museum is working on a migration-related initiative and would like to be included in the project, please contact the Secretariat, CatherineC.Cole@telus.net.
Scotland welcomed in London as new Commonwealth Secretary-General
Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Commonwealth Secretary-General
CAM looks forward to working with Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC who assumed responsibilities as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations on April 1. Scotland describes herself as “a classic child of the Commonwealth” – born in Dominica in the Caribbean and brought up in London. She shared her vision for the Commonwealth, stating “Working and acting as one people – one family – we can make a different future.” Scotland was the first black woman to be appointed to the Queen’s Counsel in the United Kingdom, the first woman to hold the position of UK Attorney General and now the first woman Commonwealth Secretary-General.
She has been busy: First, Scotland launched the Dominica Disaster Resource Centre in her home country, to be housed in a former library building. In her first official address, she stated, “I am determined that we are going to work together on tackling violence against women and girls, deal with the existential threat of climate change, promote trade and good governance, champion the health, well-being and human rights of our citizens, and ensure young people have the opportunities they need for the future.” http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/disaster-resource-centre-launched-dominica-secretary-general#sthash.pH5UzejR.dpuf
At the High Level Policy Dialogue on Climate Change April 6, Scotland argued that “having been instrumental in achieving the Paris agreement, the Commonwealth now has to be instrumental in delivering it.” http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/we-will-move-swiftly-climate-action-new-secretary-generals-commitment#sthash.LMjZi4cT.dpuf
April 15, the Commonwealth and UNESCO renewed ties for cooperation Education, Youth and Sport and Peace-building and Dialogue. http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/commonwealth-and-unesco-renew-ties#sthash.kAce9W1o.dpuf
April 18, 2016, the SG announced a Commonwealth ‘kitemark’ against corruption, alongside an Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform to help countries enhance policy-making and legislation http://thecommonwealth.org/media/press-release/commonwealth-tackle-corruption-kitemark-and-office-justice-reform#sthash.IMw3v2D1.dpuf.
On May 11, the Commonwealth will host a meeting on corruption prior to the UK Prime Minister Cameron hosting an international summit on corruption May 12.
The new SG has launched an impressive and much-needed set of positive initiatives for the Commonwealth in her first days in office, and has committed to goals that promise a raised profile and relevance for the association. These will meet resistance, but the renewed engagement with UNESCO, and the fact that she is the first woman Secretary General, as well as her commitment to fighting corruption and violence against women and girls, are welcome developments after a long period of relative obscurity.
Board and Membership Diversity for Commonwealth Accredited Organisations
By Nicholas Watts
On 23 March 2016, the Commonwealth Secretariat hosted a meeting to promote the capacity of Commonwealth Organisations (COs) to enhance the diversity of their trustees and membership. Emma Kerr noted that COs appeared to be struggling to recruit younger people and people from diverse backgrounds. This year, the Accreditation Committee would be looking at COs for reaccreditation.
Lawrence Muli, a young professional at the Secretariat, reported on the Commonwealth Youth Programme and the Commonwealth Principles for Youth Engagement and spoke of the need to engage youth formally in networks. He drew on the example of the Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network (CYCN) and the Commonwealth Youth Development Index, currently in preparation.
Chantelle Cummings, Gender and Economic Development Programme Officer at the Secretariat, addressed women’s leadership in the context of board diversity, referring to gender equality in the Commonwealth Charter and the Commonwealth Gender Plan of Action, commenting that at current rates of progress, global gender parity would not be reached until 2095. She asked what COs could do to speed this up, including identifying champions of change.
Arif Zaman of the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network, argued that board members needed to connect with beneficiaries, and that governing boards would be increasingly accountable for diversity and should consider how to improve it. He emphasised the importance of using social media to attract youth, and the need to plug into the diaspora network. Kurt Barling of Middlesex University noted that human rights were at the heart of the Commonwealth mandate, and that the 2016 Commonwealth theme An inclusive Commonwealth required that we value diversity. Drawing on the imagery of the Commonwealth Games, he said that, given a level playing field, change would happen.
The diversity of CAM’s board and membership is an excellent reflection of Commonwealth best practice. CAM’s board has members from throughout the Commonwealth: South Africa, India, Australia, Canada, Samoa, UK, Kenya, The Bahamas, and Singapore. Because CAM is incorporated in Canada a quarter of the board is Canadian. But geographic diversity does not necessarily equate with cultural diversity. Board members may self-identify as African, Indian or be ‘hyphenated’, e.g. Indo-Caribbean-Canadian. We have six women and five men on the board and members ages range from their early 30s to their 60s. These are all factors to keep in mind for next year’s election.
CAM’s membership is spread through more than 40 Commonwealth countries and a few countries outside the Commonwealth (US, Italy, Brazil). CAM makes a conscious effort to recruit members in countries where we have no members. People often join when we have regional workshops or to participate in the distance learning programme or internship programme – all of which attract young members. CAM also has an extensive worldwide listserve subscription, individuals who are not paying members.
NEWS FROM COMMONWEALTH MUSEUMS
By Erin Sobat, McGill University firstname.lastname@example.org
New Zealand Museum Announces On-Site Business Incubator
Te Papa Museum in Wellington recently announced a $1 million investment in Mahuki, a new on-location business innovation hub that will encourage local entrepreneurs to develop digital technologies that support ‘better storytelling’ in the cultural, heritage and education fields.
Mahuki will operate on a resident system of 40-person cohorts, providing $20,000 in start-up funding to each proposal while retaining a 6% equity stake for the museum. The goal is for participants to design products that will improve access to collections but that can also be exported globally. Guidelines might be based around issues such as enhancing the visitor experience of aging populations through emerging technologies. There are also plans for creating student-and Maori-specific design teams. Participants will have the opportunity to test their ideas with Te Papa visitors before marketing products to both the museum and external clients.
Te Papa hopes to build on the success of recent projects like Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War, produced in partnership with special effects company Weta Workshop (known for its work on The Lord of the Rings films). The exhibition narrates the World War I battle through a film-like combination of textual and visual effects, dioramas and historical photos, allowing visitors to engage with interactive resources like a 3D map and digital soldier database http://www.gallipoli.tepapa.govt.nz.
Mahuki also follows the lead of major museums like the the British Museum, the Smithsonian Institution and the Metropolitan Museum of Art that are seeking to combine commercial and professional expertise both inside and outside their walls. The first project cohort for this new experiment will begin their four-month residency in August 2016.
Elmina – Java Museum
By Thaddeus P. Ulzen MD, Board Chair
The museum officially opened on February 15th 2003 and is operated by the Edward A. Ulzen Memorial Foundation.
The museum officially opened on February 15th 2003 and is operated by the Edward A. Ulzen Memorial Foundation.
The permanent collection of the museum includes:
- Artifacts from the controversial 19th century recruitment of 3000 African soldiers through Elmina into the Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL). These include replicas of uniforms, family photographs, paintings and documents donated by Afro-Indonesian descendants in the Netherlands.
- Artifacts of the compelling story of the two Ashanti princes Kwasi Boakye and Kwame Poku sent to Holland for a European education in 1837.
- A special exhibit on the 10 generations of the Ulzen family from 1731 to the present.
- Exhibits from other Euro-African families of Elmina and other aspects of Elmina’s history from its earliest African settlements in the 1300s through the Portuguese, Dutch and British periods.
- Other African diaspora exhibits from Brazil, Surinam and India.
- The history of conflict between the British, Dutch, Ashanti and Elminians at the onset of British colonialism in 1872 exhibited through samples of correspondence between the key parties.
- An exhibit donated by Vlisco, makers of Java Wax Prints with samples of fabrics commemorating Ghana’s independence in 1957, along with Indonesian artifacts donated by Belanda Hitam families from the Netherlands.
The museum is focused on a dimension of the African Diaspora experience and the history of the Elmina area itself which is not found in any museum in the country.
International Museum Day May 18, 2016
Don’t forget to submit photographs and a 150-word report about any special programs you’re organising on the theme of Museums and Cultural Landscapes for International Museum Day (IMD). Please send to CatherineC.Cole@telus.net by June 15; we will publish a selection in the July/Aug issue of the CAM Bulletin. For more information, visit the IMD website at http://network.icom.museum/international-museum-day.
ICOM Triennial General Assembly, Milan July 3-9, 2016
The theme of the upcoming conference is Museums and Cultural Landscapes Building up a Cultural Heritage. Please advise the Secretariat if you are planning to attend; if there’s sufficient interest we will plan to meet and discuss CAM initiatives including the collaboration with CAMOC and ICR mentioned above.
RENEW YOUR CAM MEMBERSHIP OR JOIN NOW!
Remember, CAM memberships expired at the end of December; to continue to be a CAM member, renew now! New members are always welcome. As a member you are part of the international museum community; have a voice at ICOM and in Commonwealth deliberations. You receive the CAM Bulletin six times a year and are eligible to participate in the distance learning programme, apply to host an intern at your museum and participate in workshops and symposia. If you would like to become active within CAM contact the Secretariat. Please complete the membership form: http://www.maltwood.uvic.ca/cam/about/membership_info.html. Payment is accepted by PayPal, electronic bank transfer or bank draft. If you would like to pay at the ICOM meetings or require an invoice in addition to the membership form, please contact the Secretariat.
Welcome New Members
Pam McFadden, Bornwell Masuku, Siyathokoza Africa and John William Norman Leveridge, Talana Museum, Dundee, South Africa; Liz Mackay, Bongekile Zondi and Louise Roderick, Himeville Museum, South Africa; Poulomi Das, India; Siddhant Shah, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, Jaipur; Vanicka Arora, Dronah Gurgaon, India; Manda S. Hingurao, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, Vadodara, India; Supriya Consul, Dag Modern, Delhi; Mehrangarh Museum Trust, Jodhpur, India; Siddhartha Chatterjee, Delhi