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 2004-2005
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. Funds were requested from The Foundation for 2003-2004 and a further request was submitted for 2004-2005. Thirteen thousand Pounds was expended along with funding from the A.G. Leventis Foundation, funds on hand and from some other donors. 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.
We were particularly pleased that the National Bank Training College in Malawi expanded their services at no extra cost for the program and the Department of Youth, Sports, and Culture in Malawi decided to support the program and recognize the activity. Press coverage and participation by the Minister of Municipal Affairs made the Malawi event the most nationally recognized of the three workshops. We were also extremely pleased that participation was expanded by the support of individual institutions in sending delegates, again to a degree more extensive than any previous occasion with the exception of the generosity of the National Museums of Kenya for the first two workshops and in sending five participants to the third one.
"Realizing the Dream: Reaching the Children in Africa" was rescheduled for late June 2005 and took place in Blantyre, Malawi. There were 33 participants including 9 from Malawi (several had to travel long distances to attend). It was an extremely successful workshop partly because the participants were very keen to pick up the torch and carry on in honour of our late President and because they believe in the program. They decided to hold the next workshop in the Seychelles if funds can be raised and we have already had an official acceptance from the Seychelles.
The program was able to conceptualize an exhibit on poverty to travel in Malawi. It is one of the poorest countries in the world and has experienced another difficult period of famine since the workshop. We are currently trying to raise funds to assist in the production and touring of the exhibit. Children, parents, teachers and NGO?s were again involved directly in the workshop and contributed significantly and creatively to the discussion. They will be involved in the future development as well.
A second objective was to work on the Manual for Children in African Museums with a view to finalizing. While not too much progress was made on this aspect, a draft was circulated at the meeting, several aspects were discussed and we have a GCAM team to finish the publication.
CAM was extremely encouraged by the enthusiasm, initiative and commitment of the GCAM participants and all but two persons (retired or about to retire) paid memberships as well as signing up over 10 other colleagues for membership. In addition several museum people who were not able to attend have joined CAM.
The intern from the previous year in Malawi attended with some support from CAM in order to help with the logistics and act as a resource person since she is employed by a company which specializes in producing museum exhibitions and had achieved a good knowledge of Malawi and Blantyre.
This program is well established in Africa and we began the process of working in the Caribbean. It has been suggested that we expand to the South Pacific and an opportunity to discuss this possibility will happen at the Australia Program in late January 2006.
Developing Educational Programming in Caribbean Museums
This new program planned for museums in the Caribbean 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 went extremely well and we engaged her for a little longer to co-ordinate the Phase 1 workshop which took place May 19-22, 2005. With the funds from 2003-4 and 2004-5 Phase 1 is nearly complete.
A plan to broaden the scope of the discussions was developed and a workshop to include more Commonwealth Caribbean museums (and others with their own funding) is being developed. One of the difficulties is the raising of funds for the event. Additionally the way in which to collaborate with the Museums Association of the Caribbean must be worked out as that association can be of considerable assistance but has few resources. Some funds remain on hand from the current year?s allotment (2005-6) along with a small amount from the previous grant. Other funds will be solicited from a number of sources especially relevant to the Caribbean but at present our usual Council member who engages in this activity is extremely busy as President of the International Council of Museums.
The first step in the next process is the finalization of the report from the Phase 1 workshop.
Pacific Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development
This program was originally titled "Celebrating and Sustaining Cultural Diversity and Harmony through Museums" and a grant of ?6500 was received last year. It?s current title as above includes the aspect of cultural diversity but also a number of other issues relating to heritage sustainable development. It is primarily a regional workshop with some participation from elsewhere as planned.
Most of the objectives of the original proposal are achievable. The development of the program was undertaken exclusively by the Australian National University and there are some aspects which are less evident than in the original proposal. CAM decided to support the program as a partner as it presented an opportunity to begin the study of this area seriously as well as gain considerable knowledge about Commonwealth museum needs and development in the South Pacific. It is also intended to discuss Children and Museums with these museums to ascertain interest and enthusiasm.
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.
Unfortunately since the death of the President, we have been unable to locate the art exhibit shipment. We will continue to search through our Nigerian colleagues.
We have put into place preparations for the second exhibit from the Art Contest. An opportunity was missed which could have displayed the exhibit in Malawi for Peace Day in September but we hope to have circulation underway before the end of June 2006.
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.
One of our Council members has followed up on the Peace initiative and joined the Association for Peace Museums. He spoke at their conference in May. He and other African colleagues from CAM are very interested in working on Peace Education in Schools and we hope to be able to help to raise some funds to undertake this workshop.
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. 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. However, circumstances have meant we have not spent further time on this project.
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.
A further opportunity to investigate further will also arise at the Australian Program as both cultural property issues and intangible heritage will be on the agenda in late January 2006.
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.
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 same was true in 2004-5 and 2005-6. The selection for 2004-5 was for an intern in Barbados. She undertook work directly related to the Children in Caribbean Museums program by preparing and conducting a survey on children?s museum education programs in the Caribbean. She also assisted in the children?s programs in the Barbados Museum. With some good follow-up work an excellent report was prepared and was used extensively during the Phase 1 workshop held in May 2005 (see below) The intern also worked with the Secretary General to organize the workshop and carry out logistics. She played an important role in reviewing the survey results at the workshop and helping to work with local suppliers.
During the current year (2005-6), an intern was received for PMDA, Programme for Museum Development in Africa - now called CHDA, Centre for Heritage Development in Africa. The work relates to learning about English-speaking African museum training needs and contributing to the organization, reporting and logistical arrangements for training programs that are being held. It also will gain knowledge of the children and museums work of CHDA and consider options for collaboration to enhance all of our work in this area.
Distance Learning Program
The interim revision for the Program was completed in 1998-9. Since that time ten students have completed the program and one more has been enrolled in 2005. Interestingly there have been an additional 6 students enrol in late 2005. It remains a useful introduction to museums at the post secondary level at a reasonable cost.
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 although a couple of issues need to be resolved. Once again this activity has been delayed due to the circumstances of the past two fiscal years but we expect to go forward again shortly. Production should require only a few weeks after issues are resolved and the final review complete. 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.
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 and editing has begun.
The Manual for Children in Museums has been drafted and was used at the Malawi workshop. As soon as a second draft is finished it will be circulated to the GCAM team appointed at that time and should be finalized before the end of 2006. The form of publication has yet to be decided.
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 several in the next year. Much more activity, announcements and contact takes place by email but that method is still limited due to continuing limited access to email 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. However, we are working on that activity now and hope to have a reconstructed website before June 30, 2006. The most significant problem to overcome is the ongoing maintenance and our ability to post items very quickly.
It also hoped to purchase list serv software to enable us to send information to several groups in the easiest and fastest way possible and to stimulate discussion among members.
Included in the rough plan attached is an event in India, either local / regional or Commonwealth wide. A Triennial program for 2006-7 has been included in the grant application and will take an expanded view of diversity in museums and whether it can be achieved. It will relate to cultural equity and understanding, other aspects of diversity, e.g. economic and 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.
We sincerely thank the following for their support in 2004-5:
- The Commonwealth Foundation
- Core £10000
- Activity Grant £10000
(Those below have rough estimates of Sterling equivalents)
- Funds for the DCH Internship Program ($13500 Can.) £5926
- University of Victoria website maintenance £500
- Barbados Museum & Historical Society est. £500
- National Bank Training College est. $1,500 US
- Department of Youth, Sports and Culture, Government of Malawi $3,000 US
- A.G. Leventis Foundation
- for the GCAM 3 program including the Malawi workshop $20,000 US