January 26, 2021
Revive and Thrive: Digital Collaboration Across Continents
A guest blog by Kofo Adeleke, INTO Trustee and President of Legacy 1995
British Council Wales has a new digital initiative, a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to explore innovative ways to demonstrate artistic interpretation and practice.
Under #GoDigital Sub Saharan Africa-Wales Creative Projects, one collaborative partnership, facilitated by INTO, brings together Penrhyn Castle, a National Trust property in Wales and Legacy The Historical and Environmental Interest Group of Nigeria‘s Jaekel House.
Connected through shared collections of railways history, the project will seek to link these two museum sites through commissioning an artist-in-residence to respond to each sites’ archives and history.
Drawing new audiences to Jaekel House
Jaekel House built over 100 years ago, a site within the historic Railway Compound in Lagos, is in Legacy’s custody. Its mini-museum, visited by over 4,000 school children yearly, requires improved interpretation of its collections and displays to enhance visitor experience.
The introduction of new, creative interpretation will highlight heritage stories, build new relationships, bring in new visitors to the mini-museum, improving access for younger visitors. Through access to Jaekel House and Penryhn Castle’s collections the artist-in-residence will draw out the global nature of shared heritage, exploring the winding paths of history between these two contexts.
Building resilience in the arts and heritage sectors
Strengthening capacity and resilience building is also at the heart of this project. Digital exchanges between at Legacy and the National Trust will focus on increasing capacity of staff through skills and resource exchange and explore new ways of working.
Working alongside artists is a model used by National Trusts globally to enhance visitor engagement with treasured heritage. Connecting with Nigeria’s vibrant art scene which, like heritage and many sectors in Nigeria, has been impacted by the pandemic, will encourage future supportive collaborations between the arts and heritage sectors.
The grant will support purchase of equipment to showcase this new art commission whilst modernising the display at Jaekel House. Additionally, the appointment of an assistant curator will support the facility manager and oversee the curatorial improvements to the mini-museum.
International exchange within the INTO family
In line with Legacy’s aims and objectives to form partnerships and enter collaborations both nationally and internationally, Legacy has benefitted from INTO’s worldwide network, and the opportunity to work alongside the British Council. This level of networking supports the development of best international collaboration in heritage conservation.
Working in partnership with the National Trust is a professional development opportunity on both sides, to highlight interest in heritage on a global scale and to tell stories of commonality through new media. It brings together new perspectives and represents an opportunity to acquire best practices with fresh and open interpretations.
This digital collaboration signifies a new virtual space to explore these narratives and climate-friendly approaches to international collaboration on heritage and artistic exchange.