guest blogger: Tonya Nelson (Petrie Museum Manager)
This year UCL Museums and Public Engagement entered into an exciting partnership with the British Council to develop and deliver a Fellowship programme for museum professionals from the Middle East and North Africa on the topic of community engagement. While in the UK museums are increasingly creating platforms for their communities to advise and consult on the use of collections, create exhibitions and host their own programmes in museum spaces, little of this type of participation occurs in museums in the Middle East or North Africa. Eight Fellows coming from Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Algeria, Palestine, and Lebanon were selected for the programme and attended an intensive 2 week training programme in the UK. However, the idea behind the Fellowship programme is not simply to teach the Fellows about community engagement practices in the UK. The Fellowship also seeks to share knowledge and ideas. The hope is that the UK museums supporting the Fellowship will learn about the practices of museums in other countries, build relationships with museum practitioners and institutions abroad and develop a better understanding of how they might serve Middle East/North African communities living in their communities. To that end, I will write a series of blogs this year profiling the Fellows and the innovative work that they are doing in their home institutions. In this blog, I will profile the work of Fellows Carla Mardini from Lebanon and Tamara Musha’sha’ from Palestine.