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Intercultural dialogue: Connecting people to objects

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  1. Intercultural dialogue: Connecting people to objects

  2. Themes • Understanding of the principles and purpose of the British Museum • How the British Museum uses objects to generate intercultural dialogue and discussion • How the British Museum engages with community audiences Photograph © Benedict Johnson

  3. The British Museum: Principles and purpose • A Museum of the world for the world • A place for the ‘curious and studious’ – a centre of research at all levels • A collection preserved and held for the benefit of all the world, present and future, free of charge • A forum for the expression of many different cultural perspectives • A place to address the whole world, and to increase understanding of the links between and influences across different societies • A place where the UK’s different communities can explore their inheritances

  4. Community Learning Programmes • Partnership UK: programme of touring exhibitions • ESOL (English for Speakers of other Languages) programme for migrants to the UK • Project with Brent Museum to engage with young people • Engagement with particular heritage communities around special exhibitions: Africa; Bengal; China • Objectively Speaking – creating a dialogue around iconic objects within the Museum

  5. Throne of Weapons tour • A Partnership UK project • Demonstration of the role that museums can play in contemporary society • Example of using an object to act as a catalyst for debate • Part of the Museum’s contribution to Africa 05

  6. English language programme (ESOL) • Students learn about other cultures and societies, as well as finding out more about their own • Language practice and learning • Benefit from learning together outside the classroom • A new experience • Students return with friends and families

  7. The Making of the UK

  8. Brent Museum project This game is called Mancala and is played in India usually by women. You place the coins in the holes and whoever clears their side first, wins. This board is the shape of a fish which is quite unusual but you can always fold them and they are easy to carry. In my country they are sometimes made in silver. -Naima- The same game is usually played by men in my country, Somalia. It is usually played with holes dug in the earth, or carved in stone. For counters you can use stones, seeds, beans, coins or anything you can find! -Leyla- Photograph © Benedict Johnson

  9. This bag is made by very skilled workmen from Afghanistan. They are worn by women in the villages for carrying cosmetics but no one from the city wears them except tourists who buy them in the markets. When I lived in Afghanistan we couldn’t go and play outside so we used to make bags and rugs. This bag would take me about 20 days to make but a rug would take about 6 months. -Khosal- Photograph © Benedict Johnson

  10. Working with different heritage communities • African heritage communities: Africa 05; Resistance and Remembrance; Church and Emperor: An Ethiopian Crucifixion • Iranian community: Forgotten Empire: the world of Ancient Persia • Bangladeshi community: Myths of Bengal • Chinese community: First Emperor China’s Terracotta Army

  11. Objectively Speaking: pilot project • Engage with iconic objects from the British Museum • Working with young people 14-19 from London and Manchester • Collaboration with Manchester Museum • Develop personal responses to objects • Inform interpretation of objects

  12. Contact information: Jo-Anne Sunderland Department of Learning and Audiences The British Museum jsunderland@thebritishmuseum.ac.uk +44 207 323 8854