British Library, British Museum and V&A announce future plans with Indian Partner Institutions

Building on the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 9 June between the Indian Ministry of Culture (on behalf of Indian Cultural Institutions) and the British Library, the British Museum and the V&A, the Director of each of the three UK institutions has outlined their respective plans with Indian partner institutions. The announcements were made as part of the Prime Minister's visit to India.

The Indian cultural institutions included in the agreement between the Museums and Library are: the National Museum, New Delhi; the National Library, Kolkata; the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi; the Central Secretariat Library, New Delhi; and the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. The British cultural institutions involved in the agreement work together already as members of the UK World Collections Programme to establish two-way partnerships with institutions in Asia to increase access to collections and expertise.

On 9 June 2010 in the UK, Shri Jawhar Sircar, Secretary to the Government of India, signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the Indian Cultural Institutions, which was also signed by Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, and Sir Mark Jones, Director of the V&A.

During the Prime Minister's visit to India, Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, announced the launch of Digital Knowledge Exchange, a new initiative to unlock a critical mass of UK and Indian content in UK and Indian libraries, archives, museums and other cultural bodies. Dame Lynne said, "Using technology to inspire creativity and stimulate international research, Digital Knowledge Exchange will strengthen the cultural industries in both countries and supports the Country to Country MoU through digitisation, knowledge exchange and skill sharing. It will make the shared history and cultures of India and the UK available to researchers and the wider public worldwide through the digitisation of historic and contemporary materials from both countries and stimulate new research and collaboration."

The British Library also announced a touring exhibition, 'South Asians Making Britain,1858-1950' which will highlight key elements of India's political and military contributions to Britain prior to Independence in 1947. The exhibition launches in the UK in September 2010, and tours selected venues in India in 2011. It will focus on a wide range of other Indian-British networks and interactions, including resistance and activism, contributions to sport, the arts, cultural and intellectual life as well as global politics.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, said, "As a result of the Memorandum of Understanding and the conversations in the context of the Prime Minister's visit, the British Museum can announce that for the next five years Indian curators will be participating in the British Museum's annual International Training Programme.

The British Museum will also be collaborating with Indian partner institutions in developing conservation programmes and workshop in different Indian cities over the next three years.

With the British Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum will be working with our Indian partners on a major new initiative to digitise our collections of Indian Company paintings in order to produce, from the collections in both countries, a joint digital resource for research and publication.  We are particularly pleased that this new venture will allow a wide public to explore and understand these incomparable records of Indian life, monuments and landscape in 18th and 19th century."

Sir Mark Jones, Director of the V&A, announced that the V&A had plans for an exhibition of British Design to be shown in India, and one of contemporary Indian design to be shown in London. He said, "The V&A is working with colleagues at the National Institute of Design to bring together the most interesting strands of contemporary Indian design for an exhibition, India Design Now, to be held at the V&A in 2013. We also hope to show British Design 1948-2012, the V&A's 2012 Olympic exhibition, in India in 2013. We hope that our future plans, to be delivered in partnership with our Indian colleagues represented here today, will go some way to further a mutual appreciation of one another's cultures and achievements and to build bridges between the creative industries in India and the UK."

Notes to Editors:

The British Museum
The hugely successful partnership "A History of the World" between the BBC and the British Museum has created further global access to the British Museum's resources via digital radio and the internet.  In particular the episodes of the current BBC Radio 4 series "A History of the World in 100 Objects" are now available for free download from the internet to India-based audiences.

India: Art of the Temple, an exhibition presented by the Shanghai Museum and the British Museum with the collaboration of the V&A will open on 4th August to 15th November 2010 at the Shanghai Museum. This exhibition spans more than ten centuries exploring the visual culture of India's great religions – Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism and includes iconic pieces from the collections of the British Museum and the Shanghai Museum.  Telling the story of India's enduring traditions, from their ancient roots and continuing in a vibrant way to the present. This great cultural story is told through a marvellous array of stone sculptures, terracottas, metal images, paintings and textiles. Future research and skills exchange projects are being developed including a partnership between the British Museum and the Kerala Council for Historical Research funded by the British Academy.  This will include three workshops over three years providing advanced training for Indian and British archaeologists studying the links between India, the Middle East and Mediterranean worlds in Antiquity. This collaboration is one of several ongoing archaeological projects between British Museum and Indian colleagues.

A V&A exhibition Indian Life and Landscape has just finished a tour of six Indian museums (2008-2010). The first international exhibition to tour India, it was seen by over half a million people in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Jodhpur. At the heart of future plans are displays of design in India and Britain in 2013. The V&A will reciprocally show India Design Now (created in collaboration with the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad) from December 2012 – March 2013 . The V&A will send Contemporary Photography to the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai (November 2010 – January 2011) and the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi (January – February 2011) and Olympic Posters to the Bhau Daji Lad (January – March 2011). Later in 2011 Kalighat Painting will open at the Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata before travelling on to other venues around India. Decode, an exhibition of interactive digital art, is going to the CSMVS in Mumbai and the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore in 2011. The V&A has also agreed to work with the National Institute of Design on the refurbishment and redisplay of Indian national museums.

World Collections Programme
Chaired by the British Museum's Director, Neil MacGregor, the World Collections Programme aims to establish and strengthen two-way partnerships with institutions in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and increase access to collections and exchange of expertise. The partners are the British Museum, Tate, the V&A, Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the Natural History Museum and the British Library. The programme has worked particularly well in supporting the development of relationships between UK and Indian institutions through a variety of projects including the V&A's Indian Life and Landscapes exhibition and their forthcoming exhibitions at the Bhau Daji Lad. It is also supporting a major project focused on Indian Natural History records held at the British Library, Natural History Museum and Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and those held at partner institutions in India, and a Buddhist Sculpture Symposium to be held at the V&A on the 8th and 9th November which will provide a forum for leading international scholars, including from India, to share new research in the field.

For further information on the Memorandum of Understanding between India and the UK contact the DCMS press office on 0207 211 2210

For more information contact:

  • Ben Sanderson
  • The British Library
  • t:+44 (0) 1937 546 126
  • m:+44 (0) 7810 056848
  • f:+44 (0) 20 7412 7168
  • e: ben.sanderson@bl.uk


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