International creative academy helps transform museum management in China
A University of Nottingham project is bringing together some of the leading practitioners in Western and Chinese museums, with university academics, to train museum managers in China.
The need for museum training in China was identified in the early 2000s in response to a rapid growth in the sector. Soon after this, a group of scholars from the University’s China and UK campuses formed a network — ‘China Cultural Visiting Hub’ (CCVH) — and began the process of designing masterclass training.
In May 2015, a group from CCVH, with training partner the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), visited China and discussed training needs with museums and cultural organisations including the China Academy of Sciences in Beijing, the Today Art Museum in Beijing, the new Ningbo Port Museum, and the Ningbo Historical Museum. This led to an agreement to explore areas where the University could provide value through collaboration.
The first course was delivered at the University’s Ningbo campus in 2015, and funded through the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) ‘People to People Dialogue’ initiative. It provided a thorough overview of how a Western museum is run and covered areas including strategic planning, project management, marketing and curatorial storytelling.
Bringing together experts
Identifying a clear demand for arts training in China, the University established a new centre at its Ningbo campus to deliver future training, known as the International Creative Economy Leadership Academy (ICELA). The aim of ICELA is to bring together experts in the museum, heritage, sustainable tourism, film and performing arts sectors in order to deliver relevant professional development training in China.
ICELA’s next two masterclasses secured funding through the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s China Prosperity Fund (CPF). The first, in June 2016, drew on collaborations with the Metropolitan Museum of Arts (Met), the National Portrait Gallery, the Shanghai Museum and other partners to deliver a five day masterclass, entitled ‘The Art of Telling Stories.’
It was attended by 45 carefully identified museums professionals from across China. The second masterclass focused on audience engagement, and took place in January 2017 in Ningbo, in conjunction with the V&A and the National Portrait Gallery and Guangdong Times Museum. Members of ICELA’s board of international advisors joined the group to observe and help to evaluate the programmes.
Speaking about the importance of ICELA in delivering training in China, Jason Feehily, Director of Knowledge Exchange Asia at The University of Nottingham, said: “The creative economy has been identified as strategically important to China. The International Creative Economy Leadership Academy that we have established at University of Nottingham Ningbo China is bringing together academic experts and practitioners from all over the world to deliver top quality and highly relevant training to Chinese professionals working in museums, film and other creative sectors. We regard the development of the creative economy in China as a key component of our Global Strategy 2020.”
ICELA’s training programmes in the museums sector have been delivered to over 100 Chinese professionals to date.
Lizzy Moriarty, lead member of ICELA’s board of international advisors, and attendee at the January 2017 training, added: “It is very important that we build strong links with our museum colleagues in China to enrich cultural exchanges on an institutional and region to region level.
“We are not just helping Chinese museum professionals to develop their understanding of how Western museums are run, but by delivering this training with Chinese colleagues who provide the Chinese context for the training, we are also able to learn a great deal from them and from our academic partners at The University of Nottingham.”
ICELA is working with its partners to plan its programme of activities for 2017 and 2018.
For more information about the work of ICELA in China, please contact Sarah Kerr, Senior Partnerships Officer at The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)7814 791 928, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.