Launch of ‘Inspired by my Museum’ anthology

December 18, 2014
Birmingham based organisation Sampad South Asian Arts and British Council India announce the launch of a brand new collection of short stories, poems and reportage compiled from the winning entries to their major international writing competition, ‘Inspired by my Museum.’ The competition invited budding writers, aged 16 and over, from around the world to record and share their personal reactions, connections or experiences inspired by a visit to a museum. Participants could respond to a museum space, architecture, design, a specific object or objects within a museum, or even a museum/exhibition curator.

Piali Ray of Sampad & Frances Gapper
480 entries were received from 32 countries around the world including Canada, Croatia, India, Ukraine, the UK and New Zealand.  Writers took their inspiration from a diverse range of museums, both large and small, including Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), the Indian Museum (Kolkata), the Museum of Broken Relationships (Croatia), the Slave Trade Museum (Nigeria), the Bata Shoe Museum (Canada) and the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life (Ukraine).

The anthology was launched in Birmingham earlier this month as part of a special event hosted by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Soul City Arts, which saw a range of local and international artists also taking inspiration from the museum’s environment and delivering live spoken word, poetry and musical performances responding to the gallery’s current exhibition  ‘True to Life? New Photography from the Middle East.’ During the event, writers of entries selected for publication were presented with their personal copies of the anthology and Frances Gapper from Rowley Regis was announced as the overall UK winner of the competition, with her entry ‘The Terror of the Oceans’ inspired by the Natural History Museum in London.

“I'm absolutely delighted and thrilled to have been chosen as the overall UK winner - what a wonderful surprise! I'm pleased that my tribute to the Natural History Museum was selected, as I used to love going there as a child, with family and friends. We would always visit the awe-inspiring model of a blue whale, which I gather is still one of the main attractions. I'm proud to have a story in this excellent and beautifully produced anthology,” says Frances.

Piali Ray, Director of Sampad South Asian Arts says, “The response from 32 countries highlights the phenomenal diversity and rich culture of museums across the globe, which has inspired some very personal and emotional reactions from the writers. We were impressed and moved by the depth, range and imagination of the resulting work”.

The ‘Inspired by my Museum’ publication is available to buy from
Tel: 0121 446 3260 and from BMAG’s shop.