Stories of the World (Cultural Olympiad) - London 2012

Uploaded by london2012 on 28.04.2009

Andrew Motion, Chair - Museums, Libraries, and Archives Council: My name is Andrew Motion,
and I'm the Chair of the Museums Libraries and Archives Council, and at the MLA we're
very excited by, very galvanised by, what's going to be happening in 2012.
Alongside the athletes doing their running and jumping, all of the terrific stuff they're
going to be getting up to, we've got this amazing wide range of activities, celebrating
people and culture and language, right across the UK in all parts of the UK and this is
called the Cultural Olympiad.
Stories of the World is a project which is part of this Cultural Olympiad, and it involves
60 museums and libraries right the way across the country.
All these museums involved in Stories of the World are recruiting young people as curators,
designers, people involved in the marketing of the shows and so on and so on. In other
words you've got this tremendous personal engagement with the young people involved,
between the young people themselves, and the collections.
So what we're trying to do with Stories of the World is to re-animate them, try and make
them seem new again. To make a break from the familiar way of talking about them, and
the way that we're doing that is to connect these collections with the communities from
which they originally came. That's to say, people in the UK who are culturally related
to the origins of these collections. In other words, people in the present become the story
tellers of the past, and that's a brilliant , simple, galvanising idea.
And now we're going to have a chance to look at some of the young people who are involved
in these projects and hear from them what they think about it all.
Shillat - Warwick University: Hi, I'm Shillat. I'm a student at Warwick University. We're
here today in the Museums collection centre in Birmingham. This is where all of the artefacts
that are not on display are kept and there's hundreds of different pieces.
This is my favourite from the collection at the Birmingham Art Gallery. These fabrics
have been in storage for the past 17 years and they haven't been on display to the public,
so it's really really really exciting for the public to be able to see them in these
Stories of the World exhibitions in 2012.
Well I think it's really important because with art and culture it's so creative, and
it makes you think about a lot of things. A lot of people think "oh art is just there
as entertainment just to look at", but its' not just about your identity, it also gives
you a lot of ideas about new things and how other people think and how other people perceive
the world, and that's really important. The more you appreciate other peoples differences
and similarities between you and other people, the more likely it is that you can make the
world a better place.
May: My name is May and I
was born in England, but my parents came from China and settled here. I go to a girls school
and I'm doing 12 GCSE's.
I came to this museum and I was looking around at all of the objects and this one in particular
caught my eye and it's really different from everything else because it's not particularly
pleasant as you can see but it's different from all of the pots and all the normal stuff
that you would see at a museum. It's rather comical and his facial expression is slightly
amusing. I found a link because it's made out of pipe clay, which is very similar to
terracotta, which is where the Terracotta Army came from.
I think more money should be invested in future events at the museum. I also think that we
should exhibit more modern stuff to contrast with the past. I think young people would
be more encouraged to come here.
Camilla Morgan - Student, Exeter University: Hello, my name is Camilla Morgan, and I've
come all the way from Exeter University to have a look at the artefacts which are in
the small storage room in Blithe House, and they're erotic artefacts and I've come here
to think about different reactions that we might have to them today and what they meant
to the collectors in the 1920's and 30's when they collected them.
If you come down here there's a couple of shelves and this one has a big label that
says erotica. I'm quite interested in this clam shell. It opens up and in the top half
of the clam shell there's what looks like a Geisha having a look at some pornography.
In the bottom half of the clam shell is her female genitalia, it's really explicit, it's
really in your face. I think it's important that we really think about what these objects
mean to us today because is we think about that, we can think about our own reactions
to out own sensual culture and how the two different thing reflect.
Xuancheng Zhu: My name is Xuancheng Zhu and you can call me Ming. I'm now 18 and I have
been in Belfast for nearly two years.
These objects beside me are the lion-dogs from China. They were made in the 18th century.
They represent some of the Chinese culture and some of the Chinese traditions. Every
single culture and in every tradition has it's own advantages, it has it's own values.
It's a very good thing that they are in different countries. It's another way of communication
between different cultures.
Salma: My name is Salma, I'm in my early twenties. I'm aspiring to gain charter-ship in civil
engineering. I'm studying Cartwright Hall, an impressive art gallery in the heart of
This is The Wanderer by Yinka Shonibare. He is an artist who was born in England, grew
up in Nigeria where his parents were born. Due to his dual heritage he reflects this
in the model of a slave ship. The sails are an important element to the piece. They reflect
50his heritage. I think we've lost that attendance to galleries, realising the importance of
what a gallery is and as a personal experience it's not only a revival of who I am and where
I'm going but also developing my skills.