Lydia Gatundu Galavu
I was attending CIMAM for the first time and I must say it was one of the most amazing experiences in my professional life. I am extremely grateful to the CIMAM organizing team for inviting me and more importantly awarding me a travel grant without which I would not have been able to take up this opportunity. The experience was beyond my expectation. One of the messages that ran through the conference was that we are always looking to learn from the best and the organizers of the conference ensured maximum one-on-one engagements amongst the participants by way of various session approaches. The conference helped me broaden my perspectives on the role of art in museums and further the role and responsibilities of museums in civil society. I was able to engage in meaningful dialogue with peers from diverse backgrounds; to share and exchange ideas and to hear how they handle similar situations with the view of improving my curatorial and exhibition interpretation skills. The organic environment generated confidence and made one feel that every local story is an international story.
Working in a national and government ran museum, the topic on censorship was of great interest to me. How do you prepare for censorship? How do you self-censor? And other questions raised and discussed may not have solved this difficult and sensitive issue but it did provide insightful ideas on how to re-package approaches and address issues of censorship when they arise as opposed to silence because silence creates speculation which causes the problem.
The National Museums of Kenya has a role to set international standards in Kenya for safe guarding heritage and disseminating information, which has been done in many areas of research. Art is the newest field of interest for our museum with plans currently going on for the development and installation of a permanent art gallery. As the curator for this project, my participation in CIMAM 2017 exposed me to current trends in museum practice that I will share and replicate back home.
The museum visits and the guided tour to Singapore’s Civic District were remarkable. The people of Singapore are extremely hospitable and the monuments and historic spaces were certainly as educative as they were beautiful. I would definitely recommend my colleagues to join and take part in CIMAM events.