C o m m o n w e a l t h
A s s o c i a t i o n o f
M u s e u m s
CAM Activity Report for 2003-2004
CAM Triennial - "Museums in the Commonwealth: Global Vision, Local Mission"
The Triennial Program was held in Liverpool from July 14-18, 2003 having been rescheduled from April 6-11. The dates were changed by decision of the Executive Council due to the timing of the war in Iraq. It was about to begin just at the point of purchasing air tickets for participants from developing countries and because of the lack of resources CAM cannot risk having to support participants in other countries beyond the allotted time. A number of political concerns were also involved. National Museums Liverpool generously hosted the program.
CAM was extremely pleased to have Rudo Chitiga, Deputy Director of The Commonwealth Foundation, as our keynote speaker and her address set the direction of the program and the deliberations. We were also very fortunate to have Dr. David Fleming, Director of National Museums Liverpool as our feature museum speaker and he brought to us the perspective of National Museums Liverpool, a group of museums located in a city whose foundations and wealth rested heavily on its international activities and its global vision. While some of that history is infamous, modern Liverpool is what it is today in large part because of its diversity and its intricate international history, much of it on display in the museums. Discussions of the theme were enlivened by these speakers and those that followed. Resolutions resulting from the conference and the papers themselves will be prepared for publication.
This event was the main general activity for 2003-4 along with a very successful internship in Malawi.
Group for Children in African Museums
After the very successful second workshop in Nairobi "The Friendly Museum", it was decided to hold a third workshop in a different location, this time in southern Africa with preference to Malawi. The intent in this case is to put into practice during the workshop some of the theory discussed in the two previous workshops in Nairobi. It is expected to produce an actual exhibit to travel & possibly a children's corner for the Blantyre Museum in Malawi and to work through a draft of the Manual for Children in Museums in order to publish it after the event. Funds were requested from The Foundation for 2003-2004 and a further request was submitted for 2004-2005 and will be allocated from the activity grant awarded. Thus funds have been allocated over the two years along with other funds to be raised. In July 2004, we received $20,000 US from The Leventis Foundation for the Malawi workshop, for West African participation, the publication and a small activity in Nigeria. This latter will be held to honour our late President, Emmanuel Arinze and Constantine Leventis, also deceased, who was the key figure in our program funding. All activities to come will also pay tribute to these two visionaries.
"Realizing the Dream: Reaching the Children in Africa" has been rescheduled for mid 2005 (probably last week in June) to take place in Blantyre, Malawi. We will endeavour to find further funds as well. The Museums of Malawi are undergoing significant financial constraints and with this workshop we hope to be able to leave a concrete contribution behind.
CAM also continued to support the activity concerning Children and Museums and GCAM with an intern at the Museum in Blantyre for 2003-2004. It is expected that a package of shared programs will be distributed before or at the Malawi workshop.
Museums, Peace, Democracy and Governance
in the 21st Century
"What Peace Means to Me"
Children's Art Contest and Exhibit
There are several ways in which the Peace program will be continued. The grant request for the exhibit was approved in 2000-2001 and ?6000 was received in July 2001 for the Children's Peace Exhibit. The preliminary stage was an art contest and the first entries were received from a selection of African museums at the Nairobi Workshop: The Friendly Museum in September 2001. Other entries were received up to June 2002 and there is art work from Canada, Northern Ireland, Barbados, The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Namibia (14 countries plus one distinct area with Zanzibar).
When one views the art pieces and reads the descriptions from the children, the ideas come alive and the exhibit will be a very interesting and at times arresting one. Matting, production and packing took place in fall 2003 and it was hoped to open the exhibit during the CHOGM in Abuja but logistics there did not permit. The small exhibition of 25 pieces will be circulated in Nigeria first since it is already there. Due to events in 2004 a new schedule will be worked out and confirmed. We hope it will begin to circulate in Nigeria in 2005.
In the meantime there are a significant number of pieces ready which can be put together into a second and even third exhibit or retained for a larger exhibit that CAM has envisioned for a broader audience. Work will begin on the second exhibit as soon as possible but realistically, it may not happen until 2005-6. The pieces have also been photographed digitally and consideration will be given to a preview on the website. More funds will be required to travel to even all the participating countries and it is hoped to assist in raising local funding to do so.
Cultural Property Project
This project was supported by the Foundation Activity grant. It was begun with some background information and contacts with ICOM and with the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in Cambridge which has been focusing on the illicit traffic aspect of cultural property. These activities helped to define the project but much more needed to be done and an implementation plan established.
It was decided to use the participants in the triennial program, especially those from international destinations, to consider the project and how they could contribute to it, in order to help to formulate the concrete plan. We had hoped to have representatives from ICOM, UNESCO and ICCROM attend as well to determine what activities were taking place in those organizations. Catherine Antomarchi from ICCROM was there but there but no one from ICOM or UNESCO was available. One of our then Vice-Presidents, Alissandra Cummins, who had represented Barbados on the UNESCO Board and has since become President of ICOM, was able to provide some good background information as well. The Secretary General stopped in Paris on the way to an international meeting in Slovenia and was able to spend a day obtaining good background information from the Cultural Heritage Division in UNESCO and ICOM. With these steps, we have a much better idea of how we want to proceed and what seems possible on the museum / cultural heritage front.
It remains to formulate the plan, to do more background research and contact the relevant Commonwealth Associations to try and enlist assistance in specific areas. CAM's position as a Commonwealth Association is important in what we can accomplish and we can produce a reference document that will be useful to Commonwealth and other museums as well as to Commonwealth culture ministers and governments.
One element to be considered for inclusion in the project is the area of intangible heritage. The UNESCO Convention on the protection and preservation of intangible heritage was signed in October 2003 and it is an area under study by museums and museum associations including CAM. CAM is collaborating with ICTOP, the International Committee for the Training of Personnel, to look at this matter in relation to competencies and training. Thought will also be given to how it needs to be included in the cultural property project which would then be expanded to be the cultural heritage project even though still dealing largely with cultural property.
Fund raising to augment the Foundation funds will be necessary to complete the project properly and we will be able to plan more effectively for that purpose after initial meetings with associations.
Further progress on this activity will probably take place in 2005/6.
Internship Program - Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada
This program as it applies to museums is administered through the Canadian Museums Association (CMA). It provides funds to assist Canadian young people to undertake international youth internships.
In July 2002, CAM was successful in obtaining $36,000 for three interns in the 2002-2003 program. Unfortunately, in 2003, the international portion of the internship program was dropped as a separate section. It was possible to apply for an international internship but the competition was melded with internships located in Canada. CAM was able to acquire only one intern for 2003-2004 but with a slightly higher subsidy of $13,500. The selection was for an intern in Malawi, again a new location for CAM, and again to assist with the GCAM (Group for Children in African Museums) children's programs. The internship went extremely well despite some security problems and the very poor resources of the museum in Malawi. The intern has proven to be strong supporter of CAM and we contracted with her to do a small amount of work for us in later 2004. We anticipate that we can continue to obtain one intern and we will look for ways to increase this if possible, always applying for more than one at the least.
During the current year (2004-5), an intern was received for the Children in Caribbean Museums project. This internship directly relates to CAM's children's program work and the new project in the Caribbean (see below) and will enhance all of our work in this area.
Distance Learning Program
The interim revision for the Program was completed in 1998-9 and 13 new students began the program in 1999. Three more began in the fall of 2000. Three more began in 2001, five in 2002 and one more in 2003. One more is currently being added in 2005. Ten have successfully completed the program and several more are progressing well.
It is essential to place a high priority on rejuvenating this program both with the major revision planned and with more effective promotion. We usually have a number of new applications after programs but need to make the program more widely known. It has a special niche for museum workers in developing countries who need to become familiar with the field and do not yet have qualifications for post-graduate work.
Botswana Papers & Other Publications
As indicated by the grant submissions for the last two previous years, CAM wishes to catch up on the publications from recent conferences. Editing is nearly complete on the Botswana papers and production should require only a few weeks after that. Although the meeting was held several years ago, the papers are still timely and relevant and have a bearing on several of the themes now very prominent within the international museum community. Completion in the current year is anticipated.
The next publication will be the selected papers from the Barbados meeting on Museums and Peace. Some funds are on hand to do this and the publication of the Botswana Papers will be helpful in determining what the necessary resources are and how soon we can achieve publication. Papers have been placed on the computer but editing is required.
The Manual for Children in Museums will be drafted before the Malawi workshop and so should be available within a few months of that event now scheduled for mid 2005.
Papers from the Liverpool meeting are transcribed onto computer and editing will follow. We hope to publish these in one form or another by late 2006.
Other CAM Activities
Circumstances have continued to delay the CAM Bulletins but it is hoped to produce two within a few months. Much more activity, announcements and contact takes place by email but that method is still limited due to still limited access by some members. The website is not fulfilling its potential at present and more work needs to be done to make it a good communication tool.
Cowrie Circle pins were presented to Catherine Antomarchi of ICCROM and Reginald Varney at the Triennial meeting in Liverpool. Catherine has assisted many museums and museum workers in Africa through her work at ICCROM and has been instrumental in maintaining liaison with CAM and the Distance Learning Program at ICCROM. Funding has been provided by ICCROM for several participants in the program, for participation in CAM workshops and for support of the program itself.
Reg Varney was a founding member of CAM and has served on the Council in various capacities over many years, most recently as Vice-President. His career at the Commonwealth Institute in its best years ensured his continuous involvement with Commonwealth affairs and he has been an excellent liaison with Indian museums as well as representing CAM on the London scene for the last 14 years.
Developing Educational Programming in
This is a new program planned for museums in the Caribbean and was submitted to The Foundation in August 2003. CAM engaged an intern for 2004-2005 for Barbados to work on Phase 1 of this project. Duties included the development and administration of a survey on the current status of educational programming in Caribbean, gathering and analysing curricula related to culture and heritage, and planning a workshop to initiate a strategy for children's programming in the Caribbean. The internship has gone extremely well and we are engaging her for a little longer to co-ordinate the Phase 1 workshop which will take place aound May 18-22, 2005. With the funds from 2003-4 and 2004-5 and a little more, we will accomplish the completion of Phase 1. From the workshop, a plan will result to broaden the scope of the discussions and workshop to include more Commonwealth Caribbean museums and others with their own funding. A request has been made from the Foundation for 2005-6 and funds will be solicited from a number of other sources especially relevant to the Caribbean.
While not included in the rough plan attached, we hope to plan for an event in India, largely local / regional, and a Triennial program for 2006 which will reflect our ongoing concerns in a specific area such as international issues including the cultural heritage and cultural equity and understanding, children and museums and museums and communities. We also hope to conceptualize a project involved with gender issues as they relate to museums and their communities.
We continue to be extremely grateful for the generous support of the Foundation. This is particularly true because Foundation funds give us the seed money from which to expand the financial base. This funding formula truly creates a family of associations rather than simply a funder-recipient relationship.