Unfortunately, I really didn’t go to a Fellowship of the Ring meeting. It would have been really cool too. But in middle May, I got to attend the first conference for my fellowship program here in Germany.
As I have mentioned before, my job here in Germany is funded by the International Museum Fellowship Programme of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. I applied for the position in March of 2016 and within five weeks, I had moved across the world (that is a story for another blog post).
One of the requirements of the fellowship is that I get to travel all around Germany and visit with the other fellows (there are 16 other fellows besides me doing projects around the country). We spend between three and four days talking about the issues facing museums, like collections care, exhibition problems and cultural relevancy, and how museums work with visitors. They also feed us a lot of very good food and coffee, which means I probably eat more pastries than I should.
We spend a lot of time in workshops or hearing keynote speakers. It is a really fun perk of the program. I get to learn a lot and see parts of Germany that I wouldn’t necessarily get to see without the program.
It’s also exhausting, but in a good way. We go for about 10 hours a day, and we get tours and talks and free admission into some really cool museums. Our first trip to Halle, and later Leipzig let me see one of my first “Cabinet of Curiosities”, something I read about a lot in my Master’s program. In Leipzig, we got to visit the German National Library and see the German Museum of Books and Writing, and at the end a visit to the Grassi Museum.
We talked about the ethics of museum collections, spending workshops talking around whether or not museums should even be collecting items anymore, and whether or how we should be presenting items from the past.
One of the workshops at the National Library had us all drawing each other in 20 seconds without looking at our papers. I would sit across from someone and have to draw them without looking at what I was doing. I do not claim to be the best artist in the world, and not many (okay, none) of my photos looked like my partner, but it made for a lot of fun and some great art!
They also have a film crew wandering around taking film and pictures of the events. They made a 5-minute video about the conference. It sums it up and shows a lot of what we got to do! Check it out here. You have to navigate down a little bit to see the video.
Thanks for reading, be kind to each other, and see you next time!