Wow! What a week.
I feel very lucky to have participated in the international training course Creating Innovative Learning Programmes at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
It was an intensive training course that brought together delegates from all over the world. From far Northern Europe, South America, South East Asia, the USA and Australia (of course!).
Not only were the professionals at the V&A friendly and helpful but they were open and transparent about their practice, approaches, successes and challenges. Additionally it was extremely valuable to work with and get to know other professionals in this area of museum practice. The delegates themselves were a wealth of knowledge. Needless to say important comparisons were made throughout the week.
I think smaller institutions can often think that large institutions have fewer issues, but it was clear that the V&A face similar problems, just on a different scale. It was interesting to know that even a big museum can feel like the poor cousin sometimes too!
I think one of the most important elements to this course is creating a professional space for this type of museum practice to grow and develop. Programming in museums does not always seem to be viewed as a professional undertaking, and is definitely not formalised in many tertiary institutions. But I’m actual face it is underpinned by rigorous research in many areas including museology, education, public history, art education, science education, heath and more!
Learning, both formal and informal, should be considered from the inception of any project. I did already believe this, but it was nice to know there is a specific push for this in the UK. The V&A Learning Department are represented on every project team throughout the museum from the beginning and are always working with curatorial, interpretation, marketing and all other departments very closely along the way.
The most inspiring thing throughout the week was that every staff member from the V&A spoke proudly to their mission. It was clear that the staff were engaged with not only their own work but the bigger picture of the organisations goals. It’s often the core reason of what we do that gets forgotten in the midst of our daily tasks. It’s a nice reminder to always take a step back and think about the context of our work.
I could go on forever, but I’m sure you get he point. I had a great time and the value of doing professional development like this is invaluable.
Until next time… ✌🏼️