What is a courier not? On holiday. The session opened with an ice breaker about what a courier is and is not. Without doubt, the most common response was this: that a courier is not on holiday. We all laughed, but probably because it sounds very familiar. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been encountered a bad courier at some point. Whether they’ve come with a loan to your exhibition, or maybe it’s been someone from your own institution, or you’ve travelled with one with a joint consignment, it can be a frustrating, even nerve-wracking experience.
The event today was all about trying to prevent exactly these types of experiences this within the sector through the new Courier Training Framework. Developed by our very own Kathy Richmond, Desirée Blomberg of the Nordic Registrars Group and Wendela Brouwer of Nederlandse Registrars Group, it’s a sort of SPECTRUM for couriers, designed to standardise and improve the role of the courier for loans and exhibitions.
Ours was a whistle-stop tour through the training framework. This session delivered part one of the training, focussing on preparing the courier to leaving the borrowing institution with the loan. It covered everything from managing the expectations of the courier (it’s not a holiday in case you forgot) to teaching them how to read a condition report. It looked at what preparation they, as the courier, will need to do before a trip and what preparation the institution (usually the registrar) will do for them.
I think the emphasis placed on reading the condition report is one of the strongest aspects of the training framework. It aims to explain both why the condition report is so important and also to build the skills required to confidently condition check and use the condition report when on a courier trip. I know this is the area I am least confident about when couriering (Why is that old scratch not marked? DO I NEED TO MARK IT? Or is that just me?).
First impressions of the framework are that it is easy to deliver, thorough and adaptable. Every aspect of a courier trip has been thought about carefully and where information is organisation specific, a handy set of prompt questions has been provided. We’re definitely planning to roll it out at National Galleries of Scotland and I hope others will be too.
NO MORE COURIERS ON HOLIDAY!
Cassia Pennington, Exhibitions Registrar, National Galleries of Scotland