GLAM-UP: an initiative by the UP Museums in association with UP Alumni

Posted on December 10, 2020

The University of Pretoria Museums as part of its strategic campaign (2020-2025) to widen access and deepen engagement has partnered with the UP Alumni Relations Office to launch a cultural campaign, named GLAM: Galleries/Gardens, Libraries, Archives and Museums. Internationally, GLAM is a well-recognised acronym and is an industry sector common in Australia, Canada, the US and the UK, amongst others. Its earlier form in the 1990s was called “Libraries, Archives & Museums” or LAM, which did not specify galleries.

Many GLAM's started as small initiatives to create a working group to bring the wider value of collections to their inner society. Later, they expanded to identify areas where partnerships could be developed that would enhance engagement and spark creativity. Other aims range from widening research into GLAMs on their social and economic value of memory institutions such as those in higher education, which is why several GLAMs originated within university collections.

GLAM-UP would be the first African GLAM at a university. UP’s GLAM already provides legitimate services that are both professional and practitioner-based. For several years now, both formally and informally, they have brought together partners, colleagues, professionals, specialists and collections within the UP Museums with those they most often partner with. GLAM will play a central, almost ambassadorial and brand role in collecting and promoting access to cultural, art, archive and historical collections, including heritage on behalf of the institution. It makes natural sense, and it is apparent that collections, whether artworks, books, documents, manuscripts, plant specimens or artefacts, are not only an institutional grouping, but also a collective responsibility of a wide diversity of information resources held within a university 

With the support of the UP Alumni Relations Office and the Department of Institutional Advancement, GLAM brings together the UP Museums, the UP Archives, the UP Library and the Botanical Gardens, including other partners such as a research and academic GLAM space with the Department of Architecture and the campus landscape both natural and cultural. GLAM-UP will be an ideal conduit for the UP Museums and its partners to raise awareness of their efforts in curating and conserving valuable art collections which form an integral component of the memory of an institution. As a “cultural instrument",  GLAM hopes to serve as a conduit to the critical role in promoting research and public access to UP’s cultural works. It allows UP to widen impact, accessibility, inclusivity and honours the diversity of UP's art offerings. The UP alumni will find value in learning more about GLAM through bespoke museum tours, features in alumni publications and the UP Alumni App, special GLAM events and online discussions. Watch out for GLAM-UP! 

- Author Sian Tiley-Nel

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