The ICOM-ITC November 2019 Training Workshop was successfully held at Yixing Museum from November 5 to 14. As the 13th regular workshop organized by ICOM-ITC, it recruited 31 participants, including 16 Chinese participants from 16 institutions in 10 provinces and 15 international participants from 14 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.
Centering on the theme “Museums as learning environments: Developing relevant public programs”, eight Chinese and international experts delivered lectures on various topics, including goals and challenges of museum education, evaluation of education programs , the use of technology in museum education, resource sharing and community collaboration based on their practices and experiences. These lectures emphasized on both theory and practice, which not only discuss the common concerns but also broaden participants’ cognition and understanding of museum education.
In addition to the lectures, the workshop also had multiple interactive sessions to encourage participants to share, discover and present actively. In the Show and Tell session, participants from different museums showed their brochures, tool kits and teaching aids to introduce their most representative or successful educational cases. These distinctive and innovative materials attracted everyone’s attention. Even though they were written in different language, the educational theories and methods were inner-connected. Everyone showed great interest, discussed on details and gasped with admiration from time to time.
The “Reading Artifacts” session encouraged participants to explore hidden stories of artifacts. As a classic lecture of the workshop, it always begins with questions and curiosity and ends with creativity and joy. The six artifacts selected for this session are all precious cultural relics collected in Yixing Museum. Participants chose the artifact that interested them the most and were divided into six separate groups accordingly. After exploration and discussion, they recounted the stories behind these artifacts in active forms. Participants wore the clothes and hats, which were made of colorful papers and tapes and decorated by crayons, to perform the stories by role-playing or story-telling. The experts only introduced the meaning and purpose of the session. In other words, all the readings and presentations were completed by the participants themselves.
The workshop not only discussed museum education, but also focused on the participants’ presentation skills. A lecture was given on how to make a great presentation in terms of conception, structure, slide design, key points, time control, etc. A presentation with few but valuable points, clear structure and coherent logic is more likely to be memorized by the audience. After the lecture, participants were divided into two groups and encouraged to deliver presentations with the skills they mastered just now.
Moreover, participants visited Yixing Museum, China Ceramic Museum and Dragon Kiln in Qianshu to further study. Hands-on activity is also a highlight of this workshop. After basic training, participants designed and made their own ceramic plates and teapots to experience local craftsmanship. These works have all become unique gifts for them.
The workshop owes its success to the continued support from the ICOM, ICOM China, Palace Museum and the close cooperation of Yixing Municipal People's Government, Yixing Municipal Bureau of Culture, Sports, Radio and Television, and Yixing Museum. In the future, the ICOM-ITC will continue to develop more diverse and practical training workshops under the themes of collection, exhibition, education and management, etc., build an effective international platform for exchange among museum professionals, and equip them with cutting-edge museum knowledge and information, which aims to promote museum development around the world, especially in the Asian-Pacific region.