Delegates to "Curatorship: Indigenous Perspectives in Post-Colonial Societies" Victoria, Canada, 1994 Presentation of first Distance Learning program certificate to Jennifer Wishart, Jamaica, 1989 Holetown Community Museum, Barbados Museum and Historical Society, 1999 Dionisio Mula with his sculpture, Maputo, 1999 (Jennifer Fredrickson) Baskets, National Art Gallery, Botswana, 1995 Martin Segger & Duncan Cameron, Victoria Cowrie Shell headdress from West Africa, Transatlantic Slavery Gallery, Liverpool, 2001 GCAM delegates overlooking Lake Nakuru, Kenya, 2001 (NMK)
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CAM Bulletin #43 November/December 2017

November/December, 2017


Dr Richard Benjamin

In the UK October is Black History Month (BHM). In recent years it has had some detractors, who point out that every month should be BHM and Black history embedded in all history taught as part of the school curriculum. I agree, however, I still believe it is a very worthwhile event as it often the first time some people engage with Black history and the Black experience. Not ideal but a fact. We have similar experiences here at the Museum. For many people we are an introduction to chattel slavery, transatlantic slavery and modern forms of enslavement but also African achievement, African civilizations and indeed African agency. These should be obligatory aspects of British and world history, but we are not there quite yet so in the meantime, we still support BHM events.

BHM eventually made its way to the United Kingdom in the 1980s after the call from Black community activists for it to be recognised. But it was Dr Carter G. Woodson who established ‘Negro History Week’ in 1926 in the United States (which traditionally takes place in February). In 1976, during its 50th anniversary, it became Black History Month (or African American History Month) and subsequently US Presidents have issued proclamations.

In 2012 President Barack Obama declared In honour of those women and men who paved the way for us, and with great expectations for those to follow, let us continue the righteous cause of making America what it should be -- a Nation that is more just and more equal for all its people. Honourable sentiments but a work in progress.

I’m sure there are similar debates across the Commonwealth — and how Indigenous and Diaspora histories need appropriate prominence in national narratives and educational curriculums. Canada’s National Aboriginal Day, Australia Day (known as Invasion Day by many), and Waitangi Day in New Zealand provoke strong feelings. Museums not only need to be platforms for these debates but centres of expression for those who feel they are still culturally and socially marginalised.

Best regards,



National Museum of Cultures

Mexico City, October 28, 2017

In collaboration with ICOM CAMOC, ICOM ICR and ICOM Mexico

The first Migration:Cities workshop was held in Athens in February of this year and the second in Mexico City on October 28 as part of CAM’s ongoing partnership with ICOM CAMOC (Collections and Activities of Museums of Cities), ICOM ICR (Regional Museums) and other collaborators and contributors: 45 delegates from 20 countries participated in the workshop.

The workshop began with a very thought-provoking presentation by keynote speaker Doug Saunders, author of Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History is Reshaping our World. His presentation was titled The Museum at the Centre of Arrival. Saunders provided an overview of migration, emigration and immigration patterns and the potential role of museums, libraries and cultural centres as institutions for inclusion. It is important for host countries to understand the cultures of immigrants, and for immigrants to have the opportunity to share their culture with their children and with their new neighbours.

Doug Saunders giving the introductory keynote

Usually most museums in a city are concentrated in the historic district or downtown core. One of the physical challenges Saunders discussed is social problems created by vacant spaces between housing in districts usually occupied by immigrants – and the potential to create infill in the form of museums that will both make the community safer and provide an opportunity to create more social cohesion through cultural heritage initiatives. These museums may look different than traditional museums, reflecting the cultures of the neighbourhood. 

Our second keynote speaker Mexican anthropologist Francisco Javier Guerrero spoke about some of the challenges posed by in-country migration as well as immigration, and the need for greater empathy between peoples. In many ways we are all alike but people migrate for different reasons, and patterns change through time yet there are cultural differences that we need to make an effort to understand. He emphasised the importance of intangible heritage, not just the tangible.

Marlen Mouliou gave an introduction to the Migration:Cities project and encouraged workshop participants to contribute to the website that is currently under construction. A toolkit will soon be available on the CAMOC website at with information about how to contribute. CAM is particularly interested in learning about any migration-related projects in Commonwealth countries that can be included. How is migration impacting your cities? How are museums engaging with migrants and migration support agencies to develop exhibitions and programmes? We’re particularly interested in any projects focused on women migrants – a growing number of women are migrating on their own or with children, posing particular challenges. Is this an issue your museum would be interested in working on? Would you be interested in creating a 5-minute video that we could post to the website? We’d like to hear from you.

We had several presentations by museum workers in different parts of the world about migration-related initiatives in their own museums – whether related to current or past migrations – including a presentation by CAM board member Rachel Erickson about the development of a new exhibition about immigrants in the City of Winnipeg, Canada that will be mounted at the Manitoba Museum, as well as presentations by Annemarie de Wildt about an exhibition under development called Representing Amsterdam – Music and Migration; a presentation by Jenny (Chunni) Chiu, Hiromi Takeo and Kaori Akazawa titled (Im)migration and Museum Trends in Japan; a presentation by Andrea Delaplace about Immigration Heritage in São Paulo; and a video contribution Sara Kariman called The Functionality and Necessity of a Museum’s Attention to Immigration with a Case Study of Afghan Refugees in Iran.

Then we had a panel of papers from NGO representatives who focus on migration in Mexico City, including Irazú Gōmez Vargas on Hospitality Response to Migration in Mexico and Fabienna Venet Rebiffe and Inés Giménez Delgado on Open Museums: Spaces of Social Participation for Inclusion from Diversity. Together they provided a good overview of migration issues in Mexico and engagement with museums. They pointed out some of the difficulties in working with migrants – that they are trapped in a position that makes it difficult for them to think about museum collaborations, that the transient nature of their lives makes any sort of commitment a challenge, that they feel stigmatised by their situation, and are often fearful of potential repercussions of speaking publicly. 

We showed a number of videos that have been created for inclusion on the Migration:Cities website – and are already available on the CAMOC YouTube channel. The day concluded with a workshop led by Linda Norris of the International Coalition for Sites of Conscience who led participants through a series of exercises designed to increase self-awareness and empathy for migrants. At the end of the day she asked everyone to record what we would do differently in future as a result of the day’s discussions and to write our thoughts on post-it notes.

Participants’ notes about their intentions.

Following an incredible stop at the Day of the Dead parade, we held a reception that night at the Museum of Popular Art which was notable for the fantastic creatures that appeared throughout the evening.

CAM Board Member Rachel Erickson (L) and Secretary General Catherine C. Cole (R) at the Museum of Popular Cultures

Thank you to the local organisers, particularly Dr Yani Herriman who co-organised the workshop with CAM Secretary-General and ICOM CAMOC Vice-Chair, Catherine C. Cole. This was a very challenging time so soon after the September earthquakes in Mexico City: 1800 monuments were damaged by the earthquakes and National Museum staff and colleagues are busy determining the extent of the damage and the course for restoration.

The guide giving a tour of an exhibition of staff choices from the National Museum of Cultures

Thanks to the workshop organising committee comprised of CAMOC board members President Joana Sousa Monteiro, Secretary Afşin Altayh, Treasurer Layla Betti, and Past-President Marlen Mouliou, Gegê Leme Joseph, Nicole van Dijk, Jenny (Chin-nu) Chiu, Renée Kistemaker, and Jelena Savis, Irena Žmuc (ICR), and our ICOM Mexico colleagues who managed the local arrangements under very difficult circumstances: Patricia de la Fuente, Maya Dávalos Murillo, and Maria Inés Madinaveitia Ramirez. And thanks to all of the speakers and participants who travelled to Mexico, some from great distances, to make the workshop such a success.

The workshop was followed by the ICOM CAMOC Annual Conference with the theme of Museums of Cities and Contested Urban Histories, a theme which also resonates with CAM members as we address the UN Sustainable Development Goal about urbanisation. The conference included a number of very interesting presentations, about:

- Inclusivity as a principle and in practice
- Developing exhibitions and programmes about marginalised people (e.g., incarcerated, living in poverty) that acknowledge their place in society
- Recognition of Indigenous rights as human rights, and social justice and museums
- The importance of intangible/living heritage (e.g., music, museums as places of memory)
- Rediscovering aspects of history that have been lost – whether by accident or intention
- The impact of politics on museums, particularly government-run museums, but all museums
- Growing political awareness of the importance of cultural heritage and the evidentiary aspect of museums, museums and memorialisation
- The importance of addressing timely, controversial topics, particularly during this period of increased polarisation
- The question of whether museums are still or should remain neutral spaces – museum activism
- Bridging the gap between academic and public history


Museum Education in the Pacific Workshop

GCC Complex, Draiba

Suva, Fiji, February 14-16, 2018

in collaboration with

The iTaukei (Fijian) Trust Fund, the Fiji Museum and the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts

The workshop programme is currently under development. CAM colleagues in the Pacific who are interested in participating are invited to contact the CAM Secretariat. Details will be provided as they are confirmed. Funding is available to support travel for a few colleagues from Pacific Island nations.

Maritime Gallery, Fiji Museum

Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM)

Nadi, Fiji, February 19-23

The theme of the upcoming CCEM is Sustainability and Resilience: Can Education Deliver? CAM will participate as a formal observer at ministerial meetings and by coordinating a panel about the role that museums can play in supporting education for development, particularly in terms of teaching people about traditional knowledge and culture in order to build resilience to contemporary challenges.

CAM is working with CCEM organisers in London, UK to ensure that museums and cultural heritage are represented at this meeting. Please provide information about any educational programmes you offer that relate to sustainability. If your museum falls under the Ministry of Education, you could help us to convey the importance of museum education – and of professional development opportunities for museum workers that will improve their ability to deliver these programmes – to your government.

Human Remains Management Workshop

Hosted by

The Museums Association of Namibia (MAN)

Windhoek, Namibia

February/March 2018

in collaboration with

the Iziko Museums of South Africa, the National Museum of Botswana, ICOM Namibia, ICOM Botswana and ICOM South Africa, ICOM ICME (the International Committee for Museums of Ethnography) and ICOM ETHCOM (the Standing Committee on Museum Ethics)

This will be the second workshop related to the Human Remains Management Project. Dates and details to be provided as they are confirmed.

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

London, UK, April 14-24, 2018

The theme of the upcoming CHOGM is Towards a Common Future. There will be four focus areas:

1. A fairer future: democratic values and principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter; our collective commitment to the rule of law and human rights; good and honest governance; and gender inequality.
2. A more sustainable future: climate change and desertification; use of natural resources and the Commonwealth Blue Charter; needs of small and vulnerable states and building resilience to natural disasters; strengthening healthcare systems and financing for development.
3. A more secure future: peace-building and countering violent extremism; cyber security and tackling illicit financial flows; and eradication of modern slavery and human trafficking.
4. A more prosperous future: the potential for increased intra-Commonwealth trade and job creation; and inclusive economic growth with support for youth entrepreneurship.

CAM is meeting with CHOGM organisers and members of other Commonwealth Organisations to discuss how we may best contribute to this important meeting, including submission of information about museum initiatives related to these themes. Culture – while commonly considered the fourth pillar of sustainable development has been overlooked by meeting organisers to date. Please let the Secretariat know about ways that your museums are addressing these themes.

Migration:Cities Workshop III

Frankfurt, Germany

June 2, 2018 (To be confirmed)

The third and final Migration:Cities workshop will be held in Frankfurt, Germany the first week of June 2018 immediately before the CAMOC 2018 Annual Conference and the ICOM Advisory Committee meeting in Paris. Details to follow.


CAM and our partners, the Iziko Museums of South Africa, the Museums Association of Namibia, National Museum of Botswana, ICOM Namibia, ICOM Botswana, ICOM South Africa, ICME (the International Committee for Museums of Ethnography), and ETHCOM (the ICOM Standing Committee for Museum Ethics) are initiating consultation in Namibia’s San community regarding what, when, where, and how to repatriate remains from Iziko Museums to Namibia, as well as to develop a travelling exhibition and website.


Our 2017-2018 intern, Paige Linner, recently arrived in Namibia to work on the above mentioned project and is just getting settled. She will be working at the Museums Association of Namibia until March 31, 2018. Here’s a postcard from Namibia:

Paige (L) celebrating her arrival with her new colleagues

After a month of preparation and nearly twenty-four hours of travelling I have finally arrived in Windhoek, Namibia! Upon arrival my sleepy brain did not have many coherent thoughts, but I did have an overwhelming number of feelings. I have never been anywhere quite like Windhoek, and feelings of wonder, excitement, anxiety and confusion have ruled my first few days on the African continent. I arrived at the Museums Association of Namibia office at noon on my second day and met my four co-workers. I was immediately struck by how open, welcoming and dedicated this amazing group of people is. I was literally welcomed with open arms and immediately made to feel like I belonged. So far my first few days at work have been filled with orientation. I have been trying to become acquainted with the many projects that MAN is currently working on, the many workshops and conferences we will be attending in the coming months and what my role and projects will be. I still have a lot of work to do and many things to learn, but I have a lot of help and support. I have a feeling that my next five months will go by before I know it!
- Paige

We are grateful for the funding received from the Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage and administered by the Canadian Museums Association. With the assistance of this programme, CAM has placed nearly 30 interns in Commonwealth museums over the years.


Three new students in South Africa and one in India/UK have registered for the Distance Learning Programme, bringing the number of current students to 32. The South African Museums Association (SAMA) has provided a number of scholarships for museum workers to participate in this programme over the past few years. If you or your staff need training in basic museum studies, please review the information at and contact the Secretariat to register.


Download your copy of CAM’s newest publication Access in Museums in South Asia from our website


Commonwealth Day Theme

Monday March 12, 2018

The 2018 Commonwealth Day theme is ‘Towards a Common Future’, the same as that chosen for the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. ‘Towards a Common Future’ renews our Commonwealth vision, and recommits to building on the individual and collective strengths of all member countries to meet the needs of citizens, respond to global challenges, and deliver a more prosperous, secure, sustainable and fair future for all, particularly young people. Please let us know how your museum is marking Commonwealth Day next year. Send a brief report (100 words) and a picture for inclusion in the May/June CAM Bulletin.


ICOM KYOTO 2019, September 1-7

It may be nearly two years away but it’s not too soon to start thinking about CAM’s presence at the ICOM 2019 Triennial General Assembly in Kyoto, Japan. Do you think CAM should organise a programme in Kyoto or perhaps collaborate with one of the ICOM International Committees or another Affiliated Organisation (e.g., the Museums Association of the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands Museums Association and/or the Federation of International Human Rights Museums) to organise a programme? Many CAM members are also Chairs of National Committees and members of International Committees so have conflicts at ICOM conferences. Many CAM members are not also ICOM members. The 2019 theme Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition is a particularly relevant theme for CAM. Please let the Secretariat know if you expect to be in Kyoto and would be interested in participating in a CAM event.


Conflictorium: Museum of Conflict

By Poulomi Das

Memory Lab

Calling itself “a participatory museum” the Conflictorium at Gool Lodge, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, treasures multiple stories. It is located in communally sensitive Mirzapur in the old house of Bachuben Nagarwala, a female

hairstylist of the minority Parsi community, whose clients came from the world over to not only address their external appearance but resolve their inner distress.

Mirzapur locals directed me to the house extending the personal warmth and association the museum aims to achieve. Weaving my way through the narrow by lanes of India’s first UNESCO certified World Heritage City, Ahmedabad envelops more than 600-year-old history. Expecting a sombre atmosphere with painful tales, I was surprised by the bright colourful posters and walls. The staff was happy to talk about the museum and its wide range of interactive displays discussing types and manners of conflict ranging from communal riots to Bhopal gas tragedy to strikes. The ground floor also has a room bringing the real issues that the Indian Constitution tried to remedy, which makes it so much easier to understand why, what and how our political leaders attempted to make India a ‘sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic.’

The beautifully restored 20th century building with its porcelain tiles, wooden staircase and coloured glass windows led me to the first floor to encounter an issue we are happy to avoid – personal conflict. Instead of holding on to past trauma, the Memory Lab and Sorry

Tree allows us to let go of the bitterness and move towards the positives in the present and future.

A repository of memories, experiences, associations and problems that afflict every human being, the Conflictorium is a space that made me feel I was back to the times when Bachuben would have soothed out problems, refreshed confidences and taught one to love oneself and the world better.

Upcoming Getty Leadership Institute Programs


Online: March 5-10, 2018

Residency: March 26-March 31, 2018

Apply by January 3, 2018

NextGen 2018 is a blended-learning experience designed for mid-level staff with three to five years of museum management experience and extraordinary leadership potential as recognized by senior-level executives. The program blends one week of online learning and one week of residency in a collegial environment at CGU. The curriculum is intensive, while also offering time for self-reflection and practical application of materials and concepts. Participants examine their individual leadership styles, team dynamics, institutional needs and perspectives, and the future of the museum field.

GLI 2018

Online: May 14-26, 2018
Residency in Claremont, California: June 8-23, 2018

Apply by January 23, 2018

Entering its 39th year, the renowned Executive Education Program for Museum Leaders is designed to help experienced top-level executives become better leaders to strengthen their institutions' capabilities and advance the field. This intensive management program is for senior-level museum executives who influence policy, effect change and are in the first two to seven years of their position. Participants take four weeks of intensive courses that address current trends and challenges in the museum field. The program blends two weeks online and two weeks of residency at CGU, and includes practicum sessions at Los Angeles area institutions. Academically rigorous, the program emphasizes leadership, strategy, organizational culture, and change management.

For more information, and to apply, visit:

Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) Foundation Engagement Program for International Curators

This two-year programme supports three non-US based curators and three US Liaisons working on or having worked within exhibitions and projects that explore historic American Art (c. 1500-1980). Through fostering international relationships between curators, the program provides opportunities for professional development and exchange within the curatorial field, and expands and strengthens the international curatorial community. The program is an active part of building international partnerships, leading cross-border conversations, and spearheading international representation within AAMC’s membership and AAMC Foundation’s efforts. Deadline for applications November 10th. For further information go: The program is made possible with support from the Terra Foundation for American Art. 



CAM values and depends upon your ongoing support. It’s time to renew your membership for 2018. New members are always welcome. Members receive the CAM Bulletin, may participate in the distance learning programme, host an intern at your museum, receive a registration discount, and are eligible for travel bursaries for CAM events. CAM members have a voice – and votes – at ICOM and contribute to Commonwealth deliberations. Payment is accepted by PayPal, electronic bank transfer or bank draft. Please complete the membership form:

Welcome New Members

iTaukei (Fijian) Trust Fund Board, Suva, Fiji; Ayanda Ntuli, Museum Assistant, Eshowe Museum, South Africa; Tau Lenkena, Howick uMngeni Museum, South Africa

CAM Executive Council 2017-2020


President: Dr Richard Benjamin, Head, International Slavery Museum, National Museums Liverpool, UK

Vice-President: Nirvana S. Persaud, Executive Officer, National Trust of Guyana

Treasurer: Dr Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo, Assistant Professor and Director of the Heritage Resources Management Program, Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada

Past-President: Rooksana Omar, Chief Executive Officer, Iziko Museums of South Africa, Cape Town


Poulomi Das, Consultant for Museums & Heritage Spaces/ Project Coordinator, Sister Nivedita Museum & Knowledge Centre, Kolkata, India

Rachel Erickson, Manager of Museum Programs, Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg, Canada

Ken Hall, Curator, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, New Zealand

Dr Asma Ibrahim, Director, Monetary Museum of the Central Bank of Pakistan, Karachi

David Mbuthia, Keeper, Antiquities Sites and Monuments, Central and Western Regions, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi

Dr Jeremy Silvester, Project Development Manager, Museums Association of Namibia, Windhoek

Wesley A. Wenhardt, Executive Director, Foss Waterway Seaport Maritime Museum, Tacoma, Washington/Vancouver, BC

CAM is an Affiliated Organisation of ICOM and an Accredited Commonwealth Organisation.

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