Bristol: The Bigger Picture

A collaborative online exhibition by representatives from Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Bristol Museums, the British Museum, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Kitale Museum, National Museum Kaduna, National Museum New Delhi.

In 2015 the British Museum’s International Training Programme (ITP) celebrated its 10th anniversary. Since 2006 the British Museum and UK partner museums have welcomed museum professionals from across the globe to share skills and knowledge, discuss museums on an international scale and create a network of inspired museum professionals. To celebrate the programme’s 10th anniversary Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) hosted ITP fellows and programme partners for a conference on Creating Museums of World Stories. Attendees were put into groups and asked to brainstorm and debate new forms of ‘encyclopaedic’ displays presenting familiar local and national histories in the context of global stories.

Early into discussions one group realised that all but one of the group members had spent 10 days in Bristol when they attended their UK partner placement on the ITP’s summer programme.  The group began to think about Bristol as a global city and how their own cultures and experiences were similar or different to the citizens of Bristol. They began to examine how national and international stories are interconnected, through the lens of material culture

In the front hall of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) is a grand painting of the Delhi Durbar of 1907. It depicts the procession of Indian rulers passing the Friday Mosque and Europeans watch the spectacle of British pageantry mixed with Indian tradition from the Mosque. In the same picture Indian citizens fill the streets, watching the same spectacle but from a different perspective. The painting was the inspiration for this online exhibition.