Emily’s Istanbul Blog

Emily Conroy, our Museums and Exhibitions Intern has written the latest blog post:

Although I am a member of the Young Ambassadors, I only recently joined the work team at Bradford Museums and Galleries as an intern in January. I was particularly pleased with my adventurous first job role. Who wouldn’t be when you get to visit Istanbul? It gave me a chance to represent myself not only to the other participants in Turkey but also to my work peers.

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Selfie with Esther and Jack

As this was the first time I had taken part in a business trip I had no idea what to expect. I believed that I would gain an understanding of youth participation and how the Hear by Right award works. I learnt however, much more than I ever thought I was going to! Participating constantly throughout discussions enabled me to learn many things such as furthering my knowledge on politics, education and the way the UK is run. I also gained a vast knowledge on how Turkey deals with the same issues.

During the trip, the aim was to gain as much knowledge of youth participation as possible. The idea was to help Genc Hayat Foundation understand how we use it to the best of our ability so that they can develop and promote it in Istanbul and further around Turkey. The conference helped me gain a wider knowledge on how young people can impact massively on society. It also helped me feel confident and passionate about ways in which we could develop how we do this. I understood how allowing young people to work alongside adults and other staff members has benefitted companies including Bradford Museums and Galleries. Combining innovative ideas with experience and knowledge allows opportunities to be developed.

Whilst in Istanbul each of the English companies presented information on what they do and how youth participation is incorporated into their work place. I felt particularly pleased with our presentation as we spoke confidently and demonstrated as much information as possible creating a positive response. The other English companies were directly aimed at youth participation, which was fantastic and incredibly helpful, but completely different to what we do here at Bradford Museums and Galleries. We incorporate young people into the workplace focusing on the cultural sector, making young people feel as though they are a full time member of staff. This enables them to gain confidence and knowledge, as well as looking fantastic on their CV to help with further employment.

I was particularly interested in understanding more about Turkish culture and the Turkish participants were more than willing to help me, and the others from Bradford Museums and Galleries fulfil this. We were shown around popular sights and destinations close to where the conference was being held experiencing culture in all forms, such as Turkish traditions and religions. We visited the beautiful Galata Tower, which was a personal highlight for me, allowing us to absorb the beautiful city around us.

Beautiful Architecture
Beautiful Architecture

One of the evenings spent in Istanbul was also particularly fun and inspiring as we got to learn even more about the wonderful Turkish culture. A few of the participants taught Esther and I how to dance the ‘Damat Halay’ which was a traditional folk dance normally used at weddings. We had a fantastic time joining in. We also demonstrated our own culture through a weaving game. We used some beautiful worsted material woven at Bradford Industrial Museum as the warp threads and other different materials representing various cultures that live in Bradford as the weft threads and involved the participants in the weaving process. This was used to represent Bradford holding together all the cultures, to unite and work as one.

The Weaving Game
The Weaving Game

Nearing the end of our time in Istanbul it was apparent how much the participants had gained within such a short period of time. During the evaluation time the room was filled with genuine emotions about our time there and how much of an impact it had created. Genc Hayat Foundation and all the other companies involved were a credit to their communities, countries and most importantly their businesses.

During my time in Istanbul I portrayed myself in the best way I could and I achieved what I set out to. Knowing that I was helping the participants generate an understanding of young people in England and specifically Bradford, I felt proud to have created a positive outcome. Bradford, in recent years has developed a somewhat negative stereotype that needs to be altered, and this was just another step forward to achieving that goal. I gained so much from the trip and I will be eternally grateful to all the companies involved. Not only for inviting me and allowing me to be there, but also for sharing their knowledge on youth participation and for helping create friendships and connections internationally. I was also particularly happy to have created great relationships with my work colleagues, as they were so welcoming and caring towards me, making me feel supported and part of the team.

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