With generous support from the Bei Shan Tang Foundation, the Art Museum held the Fourth Museum Professionals Training Workshop in March. Co-organised by the National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage, Korea, this year's workshop was themed "Exhibition Planning and Design". As in the previous workshops, guest speakers were seasoned specialists from museums worldwide who shared their experience with 19 mid-career museum professionals from mainland China and Hong Kong.
To ensure in-depth participant-guest communication, Mr Michael McCafferty, retired Director of Exhibition Design of Seattle Art Museum was invited to be the tutor of the workshop's Hong Kong part. In addition to giving a talk entitled "Curator and Designer: the Process and Art of Collaboration", Mr McCafferty also took part in visits to the History Museum, the Heritage Museum, the Maritime Museum and Art Basel, and served as a commentator for the participants' micro-exhibition proposals. A veteran with 40 years' experience in the field, he participated in the full programme in Hong Kong and discussed with and responded to participants over the seven days. For the Korea field trip, Professor Chi Jo-Hsin, Visiting Scholar of The Art Museum and Department of Fine Arts, took the role as guide to the participants, with her rich curatorial experience and solid academic expertise. Having worked at the Palace Museum, Taipei, as the Chief Curator of the Department of Antiquities, the Department of Registration and Conservation and the Department of Safety, Professor Chi enlightened participants not only with her talks entitled "On Several Large-scale Special Exhibitions of the National Palace Museum Held in the 21st Century" and "On the Raden and Celadon of China and Korea", but also with her inspiring critique of participants' exhibition proposals and her comments on the exhibitions visited in Korea.
The new session "A Dialogue with Veterans" featured Mr McCafferty and Professor Chi, along with Dr Stephen Little (Department Head, Chinese and Korean Art Departments, Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and Professor Chang Yui-Tang (Director of the National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan and President of the Chinese Association of Museums). The four guests shared their views on "The Future of Exhibition Planning and Design", which prompted a heated discussion among participants and guests.
Talks by these guests and other senior curators and designers, including Mr Szeto Yuen-Kit (Xubaizhai Curator, the Hong Kong Museum of Art), Dr Hitoshi Kobayashi (Curator, the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka) and Mr Yu Tong (Exhibition Designer, Palace Museum, Beijing), were equally stimulating. Participants reflected that they learned about the concerns and work of other departments, and that this would greatly help with their future inter-departmental collaborations.
It is the mission of the Museum Professionals Training Workshop to foster communication between senior museum practitioners and their younger counterparts, and to connect museums across the Strait with the world. We sincerely hope that workshops in the future will be as well supported to help the development of the museum profession and the promotion of Chinese art.