"With the many interpretations of our field of study and practice, the time has come to discuss holistic approaches to our pedagogy and profession. In the warm climes of Barbados in the Caribbean, we have special opportunities for fresh and effective exchanges. From objects to landscapes, from material to non-material evidence, tangible to intangible, inclusive to pluralistic, the multi-faceted pressures on our teaching, complicate our courses and degree formations and framework of our professional development and probably weaken our progress. Yet, outside of what could be theoretical talks, the very immediate pressures of capacity building to support our museums, heritage development, our professionals and publics, add opportunities to listen to wise voices in our international dialogue.
The Caribbean location offers a unique venue to take up the challenges of professional development for 2015-2016. With hundreds of thousands of museums and heritage personnel, organizations and a professional history going back at least to the 1980s, Caribbean islands have striven to bring their organizations together to strengthen their work. Members include workers, volunteers, boards and government people and also link to international organizations as well as Latin American countries. Nevertheless, training and capacity building remain an on-going challenge, especially within the context of exploring the impacts of colonialism and slavery history, the supposed opportunities of tourism and a commitment to social and community action.
Given these challenges, where to focus? Current efforts towards developing capacity in museum education and professional development have reflected the power or working together on issues that build the field. Last year’s ICTOP conference tried to address the issues of sustainability for museums and capacity development. In the Caribbean context there are special matters: for example, no school or degree in museums or heritage studies yet exists and further training comes from foreign organizations. Is it time to develop an indigenous Caribbean location for professional qualifications?
We have planned comprehensive full day working meetings with cultural visits and performances, welcomed by our Barbadian hosts. Keynote speakers will spark our discussions and move it towards a resolution at the end of the session. ICTOP is very fortunate and pleased to be partnering with ICOM Barbados regarding this endeavour".