Conference Program - Subject to finalization

25th(Before the conference):
18:30: Reception dinner in the British Council, Shanghai

09.00 – 09.45: Opening speeches
Chairs and short welcome: Jack Lohman and Prof. Lu Jiansong

09.45 – 10.30: Break and conference photograph

10.30 – 11.15: Jane Portal, The British Museum
11.15 – 12.00: Chen Xiejun, Shanghai Museum
12.30 – 12.45: Claire Roberts, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

13.00 – 14.00: Lunch

Afternoon Chair: Katherine Goodnow
14.00 – 14.45: Sam Jones, DEMOS, London
14.45 – 15.30: Han Yong, Capital Museum, Beijing

15.30 – 16.00: Break

16.00 – 16.45: Phil Aldrich, Aldrichpears Associates, Canada
16.45 – 17.30: Pan Zheng, Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

27th: Morning Chair: Lu Jiansong
09.00 – 09.45: Beth McKillop, Victoria and Albert Museum
09.45 – 10.45: Pieno Castiglioni, Italy

10.45 – 11.15: Break

11.15 – 12.00: Jefff Howard/Tracy Revis, H&R Design
12.00 – 12.45: Hang Kan, Shanghai History Museum/University of Beijing
12.45 – 13.00: Chris Jiang, The Scholar Ship

13.00 – 14.00: Lunch

Afternoon Chair: Jack Lohman
14.00 – 14.30: Katherine Goodnow, University of Bergen, Norway
14.30 – 15.00: Nigel Murphy

15.00 – 15.30: Break

15.30 – 16.15: Chen Chun, Fudan University
16.15 – 16.30: Summary statements: Katherine Goodnow and Jack Lohman
16.30 – 16.45: Official closing

Reception Dinner Invitation

Connections through Culture would like to invite you to

A networking reception of
Transnational Museum Collaboration Conference


British Council, 1F Cross Tower, 318 Fuzhou Rd. Shanghai


18:30 25th June 2007 (Monday)

The networking event is to provide an opportunity for museums to expand network and discuss prospects of collaborations.

China - UK: Connections through Culture (CtC) is a joint initiative between the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the British Council with support from the Scottish Executive. It aims to further develop cultural co-operation between the UK and China with a view to improving overall relations, including diplomatic and trade ties, between the two countries.

Phil Aldrich

Phil is a widely recognized expert in institutional and interpretative planning with decades of experience in the development of cultural attractions. He brings valuable perspective, sound knowledge and creative energy to each project. With excellent leadership and facilitation skills, Phil enables groups to work together to quickly create ideas, resolve conflicting perspectives or effectively advance strategic plans. Phil has customized the workshop process for diverse groups of clients, stakeholders and designers to assist the development of successful outcomes. He applies a holistic and collaborative approach to help clients think strategically, see relationships among ideas, make sense of the design process and build commitment.

· Certified Professional Facilitator, International Association of Facilitators
· Certified ToP Facilitator Designation, Institute of Cultural Affairs, Toronto, ON
· Advanced Facilitation Certificate, Institute of Cultural Affairs, Toronto, ON
· Bachelor of Arts (Urban Studies), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
Professional Affiliations
· American Association of Museums
· Association of Children’s Museums
· Association of Science Technology Centers
· Canadian Association of Science Centres
· Canadian Museums Association
· Interpretation Canada
· Institute of Cultural Affairs Canada
· International Association of Facilitators
Group Facilitated Strategic Planning and Concept Development
· West Vancouver Arts, Culture and Heritage Facility Development Study, West Vancouver, BC
· Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, Santa Cruz, CA
· Williams Lake Tourism Discovery Centre, Williams Lake, BC
· Dawson Creek Visitor Centre, Dawson Creek, BC
· Sea to Sky Adventure Centre Concept Development Workshop, Squamish, BC
· National Maritime Museum of Canada - Creative Concept, Vancouver, BC
· Capilano College Program Development, Squamish, BC
· Valles Caldera National Preserve Interpretive Master Plan, Los Alamos, NM
· Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre Master Planning, Concept Development, Osoyoos, BC
· Pushpa Gujral Science City Master Planning, Chandigarh, India
· Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Master Planning, Batavia, IL
· Great Canadian Science Adventure Travelling Exhibit: Canadian Association of Science Centres
· Las Vegas Springs Preserve Interpretive Master Planning, Las Vegas, NV
· Desert Living Center Concept Development, Las Vegas, NV
· Dynamic Earth Thematic Development Sudbury, ON
· Lacerte Children's Zoo Master Planning and Concept Development, Dallas, TX
· Woodland Park Zoo: Family Science Learning Center Concept Development, Seattle, WA
· Toronto Zoo: Children’s Discovery Zone Communications Planning, Thematic Development, Concept Development, Toronto, ON
· Interpretive Center and Trails: MacMillan Provincial Park Communications Planning, Vancouver Island, BC
· Minnesota Zoo Master Planning, Apple Valley, MN
· Vancouver Museum Research and Concept Development, Vancouver, BC
· Kidspace Museum Communications Planning, Concept Development, Pasadena, CA
· San Francisco Zoo Project Organization, Concept Development, San Francisco, CA
· Alaska Islands and Ocean Center Architectural, Interpretation Program, Homer, AK
· Cape Girardeau Nature Center Architecture, Site, and Interpretation Master Planning Cape Girardeau, MO
· The Tech Museum of Innovation Concept Development, San Jose, CA
Zoos and Aquariums
· BC Wildlife Park, Kamloops, BC – 2006
· Woodland Park Zoo: Family Science Learning Center and Zoomazium phases, Seattle, WA – 2006
· Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, BC – 2006
· Gorillas in the African Rainforest / Lion Exhibit at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, London, England – 2004
· Lincoln Park Zoo: Regenstein African Journey, Chicago, IL – 2003
· Victoria Open Range Zoo: Lions Safari, Werribee, Australia – 2002
· Ocean Park: Wave Cove, Hong Kong – 2000
· Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK – 2000
· Dallas Zoo: Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo, Dallas, TX – 1997
· Jurong Bird Park Nocturnal Pavilion, Singapore – 1996
· Brookfield Zoo: Wonders at the Coast, Chicago, IL – 1994
Interpretive, Visitor and Cultural Centres
· USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu, HI - Current
· Heritage Park Historical Village, Calgary, AB – Current
· Kodiak Refuge Visitor Center, Kodiak, AK – Current
· Squamish Adventure Centre, Squamish, BC – Current
· Mascot Gold Mine & Snaza’ist Centre, Hedley, BC – Current
· Desert Living Center, Las Vegas, NV – Current
· Canaan Valley Institute, Davis, WV – 2006
· Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Osoyoos, BC – 2006
· Dalinor Nature Reserve Chifeng, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region – 2005
· Stanley Park Nature Interpretive Centre, Vancouver, BC – 2005
· American Memorial Park, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, USA – 2005
· Cape Girardeau Conservation Campus, Cape Girardeau, MO – 2005
· Alaska Islands and Ocean Center, Homer, AK – 2003
· Edmonton International Airport: Patterns in the Landscape, Edmonton, AB – 2003
· Great Rivers Resource Center, St. Louis, MO – 2003
· Las Vegas Springs Preserve, Las Vegas, NV – 2003
· Vancouver Port Corporation, Vancouver, BC – 2003
· Sullivan Mine Interpretive Center, Kimberley, BC – 1998
· Capilano Salmon Interpretive Center, Vancouver, BC – 1999
· Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA – 1997
· Wickaninnish Visitor Center, Pacific Rim National Park, BC – 1996
· Gulf of Georgia Cannery, Steveston, BC – 1994
· Sharing Traditions: Aboriginal People of the Commonwealth, Vancouver, BC – 1994
· Rocky Reach Dam Visitor Center, Wenatchee, WA – 1994
· Manning Park Visitor Center, Manning Park, BC – 1988
· The Energeum, Calgary, AB – 1982
· Museum of the Regiments, Calgary, AB – 2003
· Kidspace Children’s Museum, Pasadena, CA – 2003
· Museum of Discovery and Science, Fort Lauderdale, FL – 2000
· Children's Museum of Richmond, Richmond, VA – 1999
· The Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, CA – 1998
· The Jewish Museum of Western Canada, Winnipeg, MB – 1994
· The Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA – 1988
Science Centres
· Mauna Kea Astronomy Education, Center Hilo, HI – 2006
· Pushpa Gujral Science City, Chandigarh, India – 2004
· The Nature Exchange: Science North, Sudbury, ON – 2000
· Science City at Union Station, Kansas City, MO – 1997
· Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, OR – 1996
· Northern Freshwater Ecosystems: Science North, Sudbury, ON – 1995
· Dinosaur World Tour for the ExTerra Foundation, Edmonton, AB – 1994
· The Alberta Science Center, Calgary, AB – 1992
Themed Attractions
· EXPO 86 World’s Fair: Expo Center Futures Theatre, Norway Pavilion, Norwegian Explorers Pavilion, Spanish Pavilion, Aviation Theme Plaza, BC Pavilion, Alberta Pavilion, Coquihalla Highway Project, Vancouver, BC – 1986
Articles, Papers and Workshops
· Western AZA Regional Meeting, Vancouver, BC: Workshop Facilitation “New Ideas for Visitor Engagement and Changing Behaviors”, 2006
· Simon Fraser University: ORID Focused Conversations, Dialogue Methodology Showcase, 2005
· SEAZA Conference, Hong Kong: Inspiring Stewardship Through…? with Studio Hanson-Roberts, 2004
· Interpscan: Things that Go Ping, Shock, Amaze and Delight, with Bufo Inc., 2004
· Simon Fraser University: Tools for Implementation in the Urban Design Process, Guest Lecturer, SFU City Program, 2003
· Interpretation Canada Conference, Banff, Canada: The Design of Exhibits for Interpretation, 2001
· Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design: Using Facilitation in Exhibition Design 1999
· Informal Science Review, July/August: Why not let theme parks take over informal education? 1998
· International Zoo Design Conference, Paignton, England: Growing Together with Nature: New Approaches to Meeting the Needs of Young Children in Zoos, 1998
· TiLE Conference, Singapore: Science Centers vs. Theme Parks: What’s the Difference, 1996
· ASTC Conference, Portland: Everything Counts-Serving Up Science Successfully, 1994
· ASTC Conference, Boston: Visitors as Scientists-A Case for Involvement, 1992
· Muse Magazine: The Role of Design in a Museum, 1991Communication Arts:

Samuel Jones

Samuel Jones is a researcher at Demos, a think tank in the UK. His current projects include an investigation into young people's creative production, Making Good Work, and he has recently published As You Like It, a study into the future the English language and its implications for policy-makers. He has also written, Talk Us Into It a pamphlet that reconsiders the role of conversation in the modern world.
Working on the idea of cultural literacy, he has written on the importance of creativity and visual development in young people's education. He is also a co-author of the influential pamphlet, Cultural Diplomacy and has developed work on the international role of cultural organisations. Sam contributed to the Demos collection, Production Values, which features his piece on 'The New Cultural Professionals'. He has spoken at various events on culture, conversations and the English language.
Elsewhere, Sam sits on the UK Executive Board of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). He has also worked with the BBC to investigate TV arts audiences, and has three years experience of brand and consumer consultancy. With this experience, he brings an understanding of people as people and how culture might fit into their lives more generally. He has a double first in History from the University of Cambridge and an MA in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Nigel Murphy

Nigel Murphy is a sixth-generation New Zealander of Irish-German-English descent and a librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library/National Library of New Zealand. He has studied Chinese New Zealand history for over 20 years and has been involved in the Chinese New Zealand community for nearly as long. He has been secretary of the Wellington Chinese Association and is currently chair of the Wellington Chinese Language School. He has published and lectured widely on the history of the Chinese in New Zealand, and on racism and White New Zealand. His most recent publication Aliens at My Table: Asians as New Zealander see them, co-authored with Manying Ip, was published in 2005.

In 2002 he was seconded to the Office of Ethnic Affairs as a researcher and historian to support the Chinese poll tax apology reconciliation process. One outcome of this process was the National Library exhibition ‘A Barbarous Measure: the Poll Tax and Chinese New Zealanders’ which he curated. The exhibition was held at the National Library in Wellington in 2003 and toured New Zealand between 2004 and 2005.

He has recently completed a Masters of New Zealand Studies, his thesis being ‘Racism and Empire: Discourses of Race and Empire in the Formation of New Zealand’s National Identity 1890-1907’.

Katherine Goodnow

Katherine Goodnow is Professor at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. She is also a documentary film-maker and has produced a number of individual works and series for the national broadcasters in Norway. Goodnow is Co-series Editor for the UNESCO series Museums and Diversity and has published numerous works on museum content and design.

Jack Lohman

Jack Lohman was appointed Director of the Museum of London Group inAugust 2002.Of Polish origin, Jack Lohman was educated at the University of EastAnglia where he studied Fine Arts. He was awarded a scholarship to readArchitecture at the Freien Univeristat in Berlin and later obtained aMasters degree in Architecture at the University of Manchester. He wenton to win a British Council Fellowship Award to study History of Art atWarsaw University. He received Honorary Doctorate from the University ofWestminster in 2004.Before taking up his present appointment, Jack Lohman was the ChiefExecutive Officer of Iziko Museums of Cape Town, an organizationconsisting of fifteen national museums including the South AfricanMuseum, the South African Maritime Museum and the South African NationalGallery. Here he led the creation of a new museum institution and thetransformation of the national museum sector.Between 1985 and 1994, he worked for English Heritage, developingmuseums and exhibitions both nationally and internationally.Jack Lohman is Professor of Museum Design and Communication at theBergen National Academy of Arts in Norway (since 1995), Chair of ICOM(International Council of Museums) UK (since 2002), Chair of RothschildFoundation Europe (since 2007) and a member of the UK NationalCommission of UNESCO (since 2005). He is a Board Member of Warsaw Museumand Editor-in-Chief of UNESCO's publication series 'Museums andDiversity'.

Beth McKillop

BETH McKILLOP, Keeper, Asian Department, Victoria and Albert Museum


MA (Glasgow) Italian and English, 1972
MA (Cantab) Chinese Studies, 1975
Certificate of Postgraduate Studies (Peking University) (British Council Scholar), 1977
M Sc Information Science, University College, London, 1999-2004

Previous Employment

BBC Monitoring Service, editor, Summary of World Broadcasts, 1978-80

British Library
curator of Chinese , 1980-1990 (collection development, cataloguing, reference work)
curator of Korean, 1985-present
curator of the Samsung Gallery of Korean Art, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1990-93, (curating a gallery and building a database of the museum’s Korean collection)
exhibitions and loans officer for Oriental Collections, 1996-2004
budget manager, 1995-2004
Head of East Asian Collections, Asian, Pacific and African Collections, 2001-4

London University, Sotheby’s Institute of Art and the British Museum
Occasional lecturer ‘Arts of Asia’ courses, on the book history of Korea, 1995-present

Guide to the British Library's Korean Collection, 1986
China (Great Civilisations series), Franklin Watts, 1988
Translation of "The Graduate" by Lu Wenfu in The Gourmet and Other Stories, Readers International, 1988
Contributor to Dunhuang Manuscripts in British Collections, Sichuan People's Press, China, 1990-95
Travellers' Chinese (phrasebook), Pan Books, 1991
Korean Art and Design, Victoria and Albert Museum Publications, 1992
Korean Material Culture (Papers of the British Association for Korean Studies, 5) 1993 (editor, with G.L Barnes)
‘Books and prints, Korea’ (co-author, The Dictionary of Art, 1996)
‘A Korean Buddhist Illuminated Manuscript’ British Library Journal (24:1) 1998
‘Presentations of odes, gifts of cloth and a banquet in 1809’ in Patrons and Art in Korea, Pak and Whitfield ed. London: Saffron Books, forthcoming Joint editor and contributor for ’North Korean culture and society’ British Museum Research Publication 151, 2004
Contributor, exhibition catalogue, Chinese Printmaking Today. London: British Library, 2004


V & A Museum, Korean Gallery, 1992
British Museum, 1997 and 2000, substantial sections on books, maps and manuscripts in the Korea Foundation Gallery of Korean Art, permanent display
British Library (King’s Library and St Pancras), exhibits and displays about China, Korea and the Oriental and India Office Collections, including the 1997 photographic exhibition ‘Tomb Paintings of Koguryo’ in the King’s Library, and co-ordination of Oriental and India Office Collection exhibitions in the British Library and at external venues


With Professor Fujimoto Yukio, describing and researching early Korean books in the British Library, to produce the first systematic survey of the BL’s Korean holdings, completing in 2007.
Leading the Asian Department’s contribution to a new V & A sculpture gallery project, in the garden galleries, planned for 2008.
Korean ceramics research for the V&A Ceramic Galleries renovation, completing Phase One in 2009.
Editing the exhibition book China Design Now, Victoria and Albert Museum Publications, 2008.


Secretary and past president of the Council of the British Association for Korean Studies
Convenor of the Korea Library Group
Member, British Council-sponsored delegation to libraries and museums in Peking, Chengdu and Kunming, 1982
Council member and secretary, including conference organiser, for the British Association for Chinese Studies, 1985-88
Member of British Museum and Library joint delegations to the DPR Korea, March 2001, May 2002; editor of papers from conferences arising from these visits
Guest lecturer, British Museum Traveller group to Korea, September 2001, and to China, October 2004.

Jane Portal

Jane Portal studied Chinese at Cambridge and then Chinese Archaeology at Beijing University. She has worked in the British Museum since 1987, where she is Assistant Keeper in the Department of Asia, responsible for the Chinese and Korean Collections. She worked on the redisplay of the Hotung Gallery in 1992 and the accompanying British Museum Book of Chinese Art. She then studied Korean at SOAS and Yonsei University, Seoul, gaining a BA Hons in 1996. She curated the Korean Gallery, which opened in 2000 and is now working on the British Museum’s relations with China, including arranging British Museum exhibitions in China and Chinese exhibitions in the British Museum. Her next big project is the First Emperor loan exhibition from Xi’an, opening in September 2007.


‘Decorative Arts for Display’ pp 168-211 and ‘Luxuries for Trade’ (with Jessica Rawson) pp 256-292 in Jessica Rawson (ed) The British Museum Book of Chinese Art (London: British Museum Press, 1992). (Winner of the National Art Book Prize in 1993)

‘Korean Celadons of the Koryo Dynasty’ pp 98-103 in I. Freestone and D. Gaimster (eds) Pottery in the Making: Ceramic Traditions (London: British Museum Press, 1997)

Korea: Art and Archaeology (London: British Museum Press, 2000)

Chinese Love Poetry (London: British Museum Press, 2004)

North Korean Culture and Society. British Museum Research Publication 151 (ed, with Beth McKillop) (London: The British Museum, 2004)

Introduction to Qu Lei Lei Chinese Calligraphy. Standard Script for Beginners (London: British Museum Press, 2004)

Art Under Control in North Korea (London: Reaktion Books in association with British Museum Press, 2005); American edition (University of Chicago Press, 2005); Korean edition (Keelsan Books, Seoul, 2005)

Chinese Art in Detail (with Carol Michaelson)(London: British Museum Press 2006)


The First Emperor – China’s Terracotta Army (Ed.) (British Museum Press 2007)

Successful Museum Exhibits - Meeting the needs of local and international museum visitors

Phil Aldrich
AldrichPears Associates, Canada

What makes successful museum exhibits successful? How does a museum achieve success, especially in transnational collaborations where distance and cultural differences must be accommodated? In this interactive presentation, Phil Aldrich, a widely recognized expert in institutional and interpretative planning, discusses the relationship between successful exhibits and museum audiences while revealing the process of achieving effective exhibit design and production.

In the final analysis it is the impact and the relationship we build with our audiences that determines whether exhibits succeed, so understanding and meeting the differences in audience needs with a variety and balance of techniques is paramount. Providing cues to content and theme; accommodating a variety of learning styles and interests; making the content relevant; and offering opportunities for personal reflection and social interaction are approaches that effectively satisfy the visitors’ motivations for visiting an exhibit.

The process of designing and building successful exhibits is explored with a focus on visioning, organizational planning and partnership development. Phil’s facilitated planning approach emphasizes collaboration and facilitated workshops to help museum groups create or advance their vision, exhibit design concept and thematic framework.
Within a transnational context, this process is modified to accommodate long distances, many players, cultural differences and diverse audiences.

As a principal of AldrichPears Associates and a Certified Professional Facilitator through the International Association of Facilitators, Phil brings to ICOM decades of experience in the exhibit design industry. AldrichPears Associates is a Vancouver-based firm that provides exhibit design and planning services to museums, science centers, zoos, and interpretive centers around the world.

Whose History Is It? Chinese New Zealanders And The Museum Community

Nigel Murph, New Zealand

Museums reflect the history and identity of the communities they represent, whether those communities be local, regional or national. They also tend to reflect the dominant or mainstream culture of those communities. National museums of the past were storehouses of the spoils of empire, and were used to display collections that showed the breadth, strength and power of both the nation-state and the empire at large. Such museums embodied the power and dominance of the mainstream culture of the nation, reinforcing and reflecting the dominant narrative. They symbolised and reflected the power and resources of the nation and the mainstream, in the same way that Parliamentary buildings and armed forces do. A vestige of this symbolism still adheres to them.

Because museums reflect their societies, they are also responsive to changes in their societies. In New Zealand, the national museum responded to the challenges of the democratisation of history, and the impact of biculturalism and multiculturalism, by physically moving from its lofty position on a hill overlooking the capital city to the downtown waterfront. It changed its name to Te Papa or ‘Our Place’ and attempted to reflect the different communities that made up New Zealand. How successful these initiatives have been is still open to debate. The question this paper asks is: are ethnic groups that have previously been excluded from the mainstream narrative able to be successfully represented in cultural institutions such as museums? How well can such institutions represent and reflect “other” communities and “other” narratives?

The Chinese New Zealand community has had a long history of marginalisation and exclusion from the national narrative, suffering considerable racism in the process. For such a group to give up its treasures, stories, histories, heritage and the spirit of its culture to institutions that have traditionally represented an oppressive history and culture is truly a challenge. Can such institutions store, nurture, represent and interpret the histories, narratives and identities of communities such as the Chinese New Zealand community? Can they also allow these communities significant control over how their heritage and history is stored, displayed and represented? To assume ownership and control of such communities’ history and identity, and to misrepresent it, merely compounds the hurt caused by the legacy of exclusion and racism.

This paper will explore these highly charged and political questions by focussing on the Chinese New Zealand community. It will also address the issues of differing national and community narratives, identity, ownership, representation and misrepresentation, and whether collaborations between museums and ethnic communities are possible and can be successfully negotiated.

Claire Roberts

Claire Roberts is Senior Curator, Asian decorative arts and design at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney and a Research Fellow in the Division of Pacific and Asian History at the Australian National University. She was educated in Melbourne, and studied Chinese language, painting and art history at the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute and the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, 1979-81. She has a Master of Arts in Chinese language and art history from the University of Melbourne and a PhD in Chinese art history from the Australian National University. She was curator at the Museum of Chinese-Australian History in Melbourne (1986-1988), and since 1988 has been employed at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum as curator of Asian decorative arts and design.

Claire has written widely on Asian art and material culture and curated many exhibitions. Her projects include The Great Wall of China (2006), Other Histories: Guan Wei's fable for a contemporary world (2006), China, China: recent works in porcelain by Ah Xian (2001), Earth, spirit, fire: Korean masterpieces from the Choson dynasty (2000), Rapt in colour: Korean textiles and costumes of the Choson dynasty (1998), Evolution & Revolution: Chinese dress 1700s to 1990s (1997), In Her View: the photographs of Hedda Morrison in China and Sarawak 1933-67 (1993), and Post Mao Product: New Art from China (1992).

Claire was a curatorial adviser to the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in 1993, 1996 and 1999. She played an active role in the formation of The Asian Arts Society of Australia and is currently a member of the Australia-China Council.

The Great Wall of China: an exhibition

Dr Claire Roberts
Research Fellow, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University;

Senior Curator, Asian Decorative Arts and Design, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney


The Great Wall of China exhibition, a joint project of the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney and the National Museum of China, Beijing, opened Sydney in September 2006 and is currently on display at the Melbourne Museum. It is the first exhibition to chart the 2,500-year history of The Great Wall of China, from the Warring States period 475-221 BCE to the present day.

The project was initiated by the Powerhouse Museum as a curatorial collaboration – with the National Museum of China and the Palace Museum, Beijing, to select the objects and develop a storyline that would suit the needs of an international audience, and with the China Heritage Project at The Australian National University, Canberra to produce the publication.

From the outset the Powerhouse Museum made a conscious decision to tell the remarkable story of The Great Wall of China (or rather the many walls that constitute what is referred to as The Great Wall of China) from its origin, as a series of military barriers built by successive dynasties, through to its transformation into a national icon and one of China’s most visited tourist destinations. The exhibition, based on striking objects drawn from museums across China, incorporates a wide range of interpretive media including inter-actives, videos, models, large screen panoramas, educational programs and a blog site. Themes such as tourism, popular culture and product branding are explored, as well as who built the walls and why.

In this paper, Claire Roberts, lead curator of The Great Wall of China exhibition, will discuss the institutional collaborations and some of the challenges associated with the development of the project.

Building Cultural Literacy, Museums as spaces for shaping the political world of the future

Samuel Jones

We live in an age of globalisation, an age in which culture is more important than ever before. Recently, along with Kirsten Bound, Rachel Briggs and John Holden, I published a pamphlet that discussed the importance of ‘cultural diplomacy’. More than the opinion columns and leaders in our broadsheets, it is culture by which you and I engage with people from other countries. Culture has emerged not as a subsidiary to politics, but as a space in which politics must be conducted. It is not a case of culture being put at the service of politics, but rather of culture being a determinant part of politics. Recently, twin developments have set a vital new agenda that governments and others have to address. This paper will outline what skills we need to navigate this world, and what this means for museums, and the future of the museum profession.

The first is the amplified frequency of culture: we have the opportunity to experience, see, feel and hear a wider range of cultures and cultural forms than ever before. Tourism, television and, above all, new technology allows us to determine what culture we access, where and when. Writing this, I can switch to my Web browser, download a podcast from MoMA in New York, and when I get the train later today, I can listen to a narration of Jasper Johns’ Flag.

The second development is that, while we can access far more cultures than ever before, we can also shape the way that we engage with them and inflect our own opinion. For example, when I get off the train later today, I can record my own podcast and send it back to MoMA; after listening to the curator, what do I think? It is this expectation that makes culture so powerful a force: culture matters globally because we can see immediately how it matters to us, and how we can shape it to get and say what we want.

Such freedom of approach and inflection might seem threatening to the museum. I argue that, in fact, it points to a new role. The skills and expertise of museums professionals are vital to the new world in which culture, experienced and shaped in more individual ways, is central to how we are going to communicate with each other. As we encounter cultures, we need to understand and relate to them. The realisation of global diversity is one of the major achievements of our age, but it can often bring with it confusion. We need instead to focus on a global conversation.

Museums will be vital to developing the skills by which we can participate in that conversation. Specifically, the knowledge that they impart will be integral to an age in which the voices in that conversation have proliferated and each one can reverberate around the world. The problem is the that in an age of globalisation, our ability to experience, encounter and engage with culture has far outstripped our ability actually to relate to it.

Where then does this leave the museum professional? Heritage, both living and past, and history are more important than ever before because they give context and quality to cultural experience. Museums are not just about the past, they are about the present and the future. The objects and artefacts that they contain and share are the way that we will navigate and communicate the world. In this paper, I will make the case for museums being a central part of how we prepare ourselves for the future. However, I will also set out some of the challenges that this poses to the profession. Perhaps most of all, how we can use new models of cultural engagement and apply the lessons of new technologies to developing environments in which resources are not so easily found. Where, in part, this is a story about developing cultural understanding between cultures and nations, it is also about developing opportunity.

Transnational work at the V&A Museum

Beth McKillop
Keeper of the Department of Asia
Victoria and Albert Museum


The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s leading museum of art and design. Our international work traces its origins to London’s first global gathering, the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, which took place from 1 May to 15 October 1851, attracting 6 million visitors, equivalent to a third of the population of Britain at the time. A healthy profit was made from ticket sales, part of which was used to fund the museum that became the V&A. From beginnings as a museum with a mission to exhibit the best international art, craft and design to the Britain public, we have grown into an institution that transmits knowledge, exhibitions and ideas and receives objects, inspiration and support from all over the world. If to be transnational means to transcend national boundaries, then the V&A has been transnational since before we knew what the term means.

Henry Cole (1808-82), whose determination and convictions shaped the new museum, wrote in a report to his political masters, the Board of Trade, ‘A Museum presents probably the only effectual means of educating the adult, who cannot be expected to go to school like the youth, and the necessity for teaching the grown man is quite as great as that of training the child. By proper arrangements a Museum may be made in the highest degree instructional.’ This didactic mission, this high idealism, must surely remain at the heart of museum work in the 21st century. To use language of a more modern kind, we can say that museums are part of the movement to change the asymmetry of power and knowledge which exists between the privileged and the underprivileged, between the educated and the ignorant. With seven day a week opening and free access to the permanent collections, the V&A (like Britain’s other national museums) is delivering excellent value to the citizens of Britain and to others who visit us.

Between Henry Cole’s time and now, probably the two biggest changes to the context of museum work have been the growth in international travel since the 1960s, and easy universal access to the internet from the 1990s. Today, the V&A website, like all the others, just keeps on growing. Between April 2006 and March 2007, it attracted 19.4 million visits. As well as our institutional main site, we collaborate in electronic projects such as the ‘Institute of Jainology’ website (a resource for Jain believers and for students of Indian art and culture) and the innovative ‘Discover Islamic Arts’ site, operated by the Brussels-based ‘Museum with no Frontiers’ consortium which displays Islamic art from collections around the Mediterranean Sea, opening up curatorial and web-specialist conversations between colleagues working in very diverse institutions.

In these ways, we are networking our products to reflect the networked world we live in. For example, over 20,000 images from our collection, with short descriptions, are published on our website, and these digital images are free to all, for personal and education use.
In addition to building up our virtual resources, the V&A has been a trail-blazer for UK regional and international touring exhibitions. We’ve found that when we work abroad, we have to adapt and to interact. Each country has its particular way of working, its assumptions, its audiences and its expectations – which colour and modify the way the V&A is perceived. We believe our exhibitions do a lot to showcase British design, culture and history in ways that enhance Britain’s reputation, but we recognize that international touring exhibitions in particular need a stronger funding framework in which to thrive. As successors to the business-like founders of the early V&A, we are keenly conscious that a solvent museum is a thriving museum. We’ve recently worked with colleagues in a number of cultural organizations in London, commissioning the British think-tank Demos to write a report about cultural diplomacy - Through the Demos report we hope to stimulate a lively and wide-ranging debate about the place of culture in international relations and to draw attention to our successes: this month for example the V&A has five exhibitions touring (Vivienne Westwood – Modernism – Cinema India – Japanese prints – Mediaeval and Renaissance Treasures), and our last 12 month total for visitor numbers in international venues (2006-07) is 295,000 people.

Transnational work takes place as much on home ground as in distant places. The V&A’s Chinese New Year celebrations – attended by thousands of Londoners and tourists every winter – are as much part of the V&A’s world profile as are the exhibition tours. Creative approaches to the funding and operation of international programmes are the key to sustaining and developing the transnational work. I hope to contribute to, and learn from the debate at the ICOM Shanghai conference.

The British Museum - a Museum of the world for the world

Jane Portal,
Curator of Chinese and Korean Collections,
Asia Dept,
British Museum


The British Museum's collection is worldwide in origin and is intended for use by the citizens of the world. The museum collaborates on skills sharing and research with many international partners. These partnerships bring insights into the collection and help create new understandings of our changing world.

Between 2002 and 2006, the British Museum initiated a series of reciprocal relationships with cultural organisations and governments worldwide, concentrating on research, mutual loans and professional exchanges. In many cases these relationships have been formalised in Memoranda of Understanding – signed agreements which express the desire of both parties to work together in particular areas for worldwide public benefit.

In Africa, a series of strategic partnerships resulted in MoUs signed with partners in Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Mali as well as Senegal. The MoU with Kenya led to the collaborative exhibition Hazina on East African cultures which opened in Nairobi in March 2006.

In the Middle East, the British Museum has long collaborated with colleagues in Baghdad in supporting the preservation of the cultural heritage of Mesopotamia, itself holding the greatest collection of Mesopotamian antiquities outside Iraq. John Curtis, Keeper of the British Museum's Department of the Middle East, has been closely involved with reporting on damage caused by looting and war damage to the site of Babylon, as well as initiating collaborative international conservation plans.

In the Far East, the exhibition Treasures from World Cultures has travelled to eight venues across three countries and been seen by over 2 million people.

In China, the British Museum signed the first ever cultural agreement between a British institution and the National Museum of China in September 2005. Signed in the presence of Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the agreement facilitated future collaborative projects. These include major loans from China and the loan by the British Museum of exhibitions of world cultures unrepresented in Chinese collections. In June 2006 a further MoU was signed with the Palace Museum Beijing, which will cover wide-ranging collaboration, including the exchange of exhibitions and personnel in the field of paintings, clocks and porcelain. In March 2006, the first British Museum exhibition in Beijing, Treasures from World Cultures – the British Museum after 250 Years, opened at the recently built Capital Museum, where it was also the first temporary exhibition in the new museum's programme.This was followed in June 2006 by the opening of the exhibition of Mesopotamian treasures Art and Empire at Shanghai Museum.

Further plans in China include exhibitions in Beijing,Shanghai and other cities, in the period between the Beijing and London Olympics, building towards realising the Games' cultural ideals.

Conference Introduction

New Collaboration, New Benefits:
Transnational Museum Collaboration,
June 26-27, 2007 Shanghai

ICOM UK in partnership with ICOM China
The British Museum, the Shanghai Museum, Museum of London, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Fudan University,
the University of Bergen


In recent years, China has become one of the key countries and strategic destinations for international museum exchanges. This seminar and conference explore how important new cultural transnational collaborations are being created and realised. Bringing experts together from across China, Oceania, Central America, Europe and the Caribbean, the conference seeks to explore evolving frameworks for international cooperation, delivery and support and governments role in this.

Keynote speakers will discuss the issues and directions facing transnational collaboration. In particular the challenges of building partnerships, twinning, skills sharing, and exchanging ideas and advice, all often torn between local and global needs.

New areas for possible collaboration will also be discussed especially in the areas of joint fundraising, conservation, research, design, capacity building and training. What is the potential? Where do we want to go with collaboration?

The conference will be held 26-27 June 2007 at Fudan University, Shanghai in collaboration with ICOM China and ICOM UK.


For those who would like to attend the conference:
• Foreign participants: £140
• Domestic participants: No Charge

The rate covers two lunches, one dinner, a boat trip with dinner on the Huangpu River and coffee/tea.

Full payment should be sent by cheque payable to ICOM UK. Please send this to ICOM UK, Museum of London, 150 London wall, London EC2 5HN.
Participation will be limited to 200 on a first come, first serve basis.


Selected papers and discussion will be published in UNESCO's Museums and Diversity publication series.

Heng Wu
Conference Organizer

Lucy Watts
ICOM UK Executive


A final programme will be issued in May 2007.

For this information in Chinese - please visit 博物馆的国际合作