By Edmund Connolly, on 9 April 2013
It is hard to believe we will be playing proud host to our group of 9 Fellows in just a few months’ time. Time has flown and our Fellows have been busy developing their Community Engagement projects using the case studies and skills that were showcased during the weeks spent in the UK at UCL and a group of host museums. Following on from our last post I will now profile out Egyptian Fellows: Sayed Ahmed and Mohamed M. Mokhtar, who both work at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) in Cairo.
Sayed has always aspired to “work with the community and to have a positive impact on it”, using the museum as a vehicle to promote a strong community – heritage relationship that is sadly lacking in much of Egypt. After the week spent at UCL, Sayed visited Liverpool Museum, with Paul Khan as his mentor. Sayed has returned to Egypt and is already developing exciting new ideas to work with the community at his museum. Inspired by the loan boxes at UCL, Sayed hopes to produce a similar resource that will enable him to engage a broader audience of the local Cairo community. Using objects such as canopic jars, heart scarabs and a Ushabty statue, Sayed will be able to interest children in a more active way with the fantastic collection at NMEC. This project will also involve handling sessions and film footage to really capture the audience’s attention, and offer a new way for the collection to be received and understood.
Our second Fellow is Mohamed M. Mokhtar, a colleague of Sayed, who has studied Art, History and Tourism, as well as working as a curator at NMEC. As a key developer of the NMEC database Mohamed M. is not only familiar with the Egyptian material, but has delivered exhibitions (such as one mapping the evolution of wooden Egyptian vessels), which included pieces from the local craftsmen and was geared towards attracting local secondary school children.
Now Mohamed M. has returned to Egypt to deliver his community engagement project, he has been focusing on developing a new way for community groups to have a bespoke interpretation of the museum and collections in guided tours. In addition to including the collection, Mohamed M. hopes to tell people of the ideas behind this new museum, its ethos, as well as the simple, yet essential logistics of its location and opening hours. Mohamed M. has already drummed up a lot of support for colleagues and interested parties that will help deliver these tours that hope to open the NMEC to the more general Cairo community.
Both projects look to be great successes, and we are very proud of all our Fellows for delivering such promising project plans and ideas. These projects aim to be delivered prior to September of this year, when our Fellows will return to the UK for the conclusion of the Fellowship.