Learning & Engagement Grants For Essex Museums

colchester-alison-stockmarr

Essex Museum Development is offering grants of up to £500 to support the delivery of learning and community engagement using collections.

The grants aim to support local museums to:

  1. Develop relationships with local education providers including schools, colleges and home education groups
  2. Develop new learning and engagement resources
  3. Develop an adult learning offer
  4. Deliver activities which will reach new audiences
  5. Make their venue more accessible for disabled audiences

The funding scheme is open to any Accredited museum (or museum registered as Working Towards Accreditation) within the Essex or Southend-on-Sea local authority boundaries. Please note that to apply you must have attended at least two of the following training days:

It is important to read the guidance document before applying. It contains some suggestions as to what the grant can be used for, but this is not an exhaustive list. Please do get in contact if you wish to discuss your ideas.

To apply, complete this application form and return it to amy.cotterill@essex.gov.uk by 5pm on Tuesday 23rd January 2018

Learning and Engagement application guidance 2018

Click here to download the application form

 

Learning & Engagement Grants For Essex Museums

colchester-alison-stockmarr

Essex Museum Development is offering grants of up to £500 to support the delivery of learning and community engagement using collections.

 

The grants aim to support local museums to:

  1. Develop relationships with local education providers including schools, colleges and home education groups
  2. Develop new learning and engagement resources
  3. Develop an adult learning offer
  4. Deliver activities which will reach new audiences
  5. Make their venue more accessible for disabled audiences

 

The funding scheme is open to any Accredited museum (or museum registered as Working Towards Accreditation) within the Essex or Southend-on-Sea local authority boundaries.

 

It is important to read the guidance document before applying. It contains some suggestions as to what the grant can be used for, but this is not an exhaustive list. Please do get in contact if you wish to discuss your ideas.

 

To apply, complete this application form and return it to amy.cotterill@essex.gov.uk by 5pm on Tuesday 28th February 2017

Guidance Document: learning-and-engagement-application-guidance-2017

Application Form: learning-and-engagement-application-form-2017

 

Essex Belongs To Us – Call For Partners

Malcolm Burgess is leading on an interesting new project and is looking for museums to get involved:

 

Are you involved with an Essex museum, gallery or anything similar?

essex belongsWe’re the project managers for the new Arts Council England creative writing project Essex Belongs To Us starting soon. Our aim is to involve as many people as possible in writing about Essex in as creative a way as possible, with our own workshops in Essex, Southend and Thurrock libraries and a published book at the end of it, with a performance at the Essex Book Festival.

 

The project will run from April 2016 – March 2017.

 

We’re keen to know if you’ll be running museum or gallery workshops of any kind of your own for writers involving some kind of interaction with your collection, exhibits, resources or whatever.

 

If you are, we’d love to include full details on our website and to encourage as many writers as possible to attend. It will be an ideal way to promote your workshops further – and to help new writing from Essex.

 

Please send full details (or for more information) to malcolm.burgess3@btopenworld.com

What Essex Sounds Like: Soft Launch of Essex Sounds Audio Map

Sarah-Joy Maddeaux, You Are Hear Project Officer at the Essex Record Office, talks about the sounds of our county:

For the past six months, the You Are Hear project team at the Essex Sound and Video Archive has been asking the public what Essex sounds like. Whether stopping innocent passers-by in shopping centres, appealing to the public through newspapers, or calling for suggestions through e-bulletins, we have been asking you what noises you hear in your daily routine; what noises you associate with the county; what sounds represent your community.

Now we have the answer! Well, to a point. We have compiled the results with our sound recordist, Stuart Bowditch. Based on your suggestions, he has been venturing into the far corners of the county, braving all weathers, to capture those soundscapes. And now you can hear some of the results on our audio map, Essex Sounds.

MaldonHunt

The hunt parade through Maldon, 1st January 2016. Image courtesy Stuart Bowditch.

From church bells to firework displays; the sounding of ship’s horns at Tilbury to bring in the New Year to the annual New Year’s hunt parade through Maldon (yes, he managed to capture both, and more besides that day!): see if your suggestion of an Essex sound has been recorded.

In our public surveys about Essex sounds, many people commented on a perceived difference between the north and south of the county. Commonly, people considered the southern part of the county to contain more industrial noises, more hustle and bustle, more crowded atmospheres: with more people speaking with a London or ‘TOWIE accent’. The north was depicted as quieter, more rural, where the people are more likely to speak with a ‘traditional’ Essex accent.

Is this an accurate depiction of the county, or is it over-generalised? Why not consult the Essex Sounds map to see if it reflects this north-south divide?

The map also enables comparisons between old and new sounds of the county. We have uploaded some historic recordings from the Archive. For example, you can listen to an auction at the Chelmsford cattle market in the 1950s.

 

You can then compare it with a recording made on that site in 2015, capturing the busy atmosphere of High Chelmer on a Saturday. Try it out here

 

If your sound suggestion has not yet been added, do not fear: our site is still a work in progress. Stuart will continue to record Essex sounds over the next few months, gradually uploading them to the audio map. We will also keep adding historic recordings as they are digitised, as part of this Heritage Lottery Funded project. We are happy to receive further suggestions of places and events to record, though we will not be able to include everything within the scope of the project.

In the next phase, our web developers will build an app version. By the autumn, you will be able to take the map on location, listening to the clips in the very spot where they were first recorded.

In the meantime, why not contribute your own recording to the site? We want the map to fully reflect your experiences of what Essex sounds like. You will find instructions on the ‘contribute’ page, but please get in touch if you have any questions.

We would be delighted to talk to any museums that want to use the Essex Sounds map for engagement activities. Maybe you want to host a recording day, encouraging people to venture out into the surrounding area with their phones and tablets to capture what your community sounds like in 2016, then upload the fruits to the map. Or perhaps a workshop is more up your street: inviting theorists and practitioners to review the material and discuss how the sounds of Essex are changing, and what this means about bigger socio-cultural shifts. How does sound affect our sense of place? What sounds are absent in our collections, and how can we redress that for future generations?

We would love to hear any feedback you have, so that we can continue to improve the site and pass on your comments to our website developers, Community Sites. Please be gentle with us, though: we are still in the development phase! We would also be grateful for any volunteers to test the map more extensively, particularly if you are using accessibility software. Please get in touch find out more.

For more information about the You Are Hear project, you can visit the project site. You can also listen to more recordings on our Soundcloud channel.

 

From summer 2016 to summer 2018, we will be showcasing a selection of our recordings on interactive touchscreen kiosks and listening benches that will tour public locations across the county. We are also looking for volunteers to help us with installing listening benches in the following areas:

  • Burnham-on-Crouch
  • Chelmsford
  • Clacton-on-Sea
  • Coggeshall
  • Epping
  • Great Baddow
  • Great Chesterford / Clavering
  • Southend-on-Sea
  • Witham

Please get in touch if you want to be a part of our tour, or if you can help with the community benches.

Heritage Lottery Fund

 

 

Sign-Up For Summer: Museum Explorer Passport 2016

Museum Explorer

In 2015, a pilot project ran across Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire. The evaluation of the pilot project has led to some revisions of the original project, which is being run for a second year and expanded to be open to more museums, and to run for a longer period of time. The project has also been simplified and will be accompanied by more direct marketing to provide additional support to participating museums.

 

The project is open to all museums across Hertfordshire, Essex and Bedfordshire who will be offering activities for children during the 2016 May half term and / or summer holidays. There is a fee of £50 to participate in the 2016 project, which will go towards supporting the cost of the project.

Children will be given a Passport and a series (approx. 6) of simple challenges to complete during the summer holidays; e.g. ‘visit a museum you have not been to before’ ‘take part in a workshop involving clay’ Challenges will be open enough to allow children to have a good choice of museums to visit in order to achieve all of them. Each museum listing in the passport with have a blank space where museums will be able to ‘stamp’ the passports when children visit them. There will also be a blank space next to the challenges that can be stamped.

Museums will be provided with everything they need to participate: blank passports, stamps, stickers, flyers and posters, press release template, briefing note (to be shared will all staff and volunteers), and other supporting information. Alongside this will be a programme of marketing via a project specific website, linked to all partner museum websites. Social media will be utilised and museums will be supported to develop their skills in this area. In 2016 we will also advertising in relevant local publications.
Cost
To help support the project, we are asking museums to contribute £50 per site towards the costs. In the 2015 pilot museums received £177 worth of resources and support per site, so this is a good return on your investment!

We can also invoice you in either March or April, depending on which financial year’s budget you would like to use.
Project timetable

  1. Recruit museums to the project

    The deadline for applications is Friday 11th December 2015

     

  2. Website copy

    There are two deadlines for providing information to be included on the website:

    For events in May and June: Friday 22nd April 2016

    For events in July and August: Wednesday 8th June 2016

     

  3. Launch event

    Essex: Monday 25th April

    Herts and Beds: Wednesday 4th May 2016

     

  4. Project goes live!

    The project will be fully live from Saturday 28th May 2016

     

  5. Ongoing promotion

    Via website, social media, listings publications and websites, and museums’ own distribution lists. Each museum will be given a supply of branded stickers for participating children. Events across the May half term holiday and entire summer holidays will be promoted.

  6. Evaluation

    The project will be evaluated by the steering group, which has been expanded from the pilot project to include representation from museums directly. This will take place in September 2016, participating museums will be asked to fill in a short questionnaire and collect minimal data through noting down any anecdotal feedback from your visitors during the project.

To apply, complete this form and email it to me by Friday 11th December.

Opening Doors: Notes on Rethinking Disabled Access and Interpretation

On 15th September 2015, the Museums Association ran a one day seminar entitled Opening doors:  Rethinking Disabled Access and Interpretation In Your Museum. Amanda Peacock, Learning Officer at Chelmsford Museum, attended that day with a grant from Essex Museum Development and has kindly shared her notes from the day:

I wanted to share with you some of the interesting ideas and forward-looking practice that were presented at this excellent MA Seminar on the theme of disabled access and interpretation in the museum. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), now in its 20th year, was established to prevent discrimination against disabled people accessing goods, services and buildings amongst other things. Other than a lift to get to the top floor and a disabled loo, I was interested to learn what museums could do to further improve access for disabled visitors to their collections as well as to the building itself. Also how, or if, disabled people are represented in museums, whether museum collections include objects that reflect the lives of, or have been created by disabled people in our society past or present. Throughout the day there was a live speech-to-text transcription displayed on a big screen. This service was provided by a company called ‘StageText’, which provides access to deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors.

Tony Heaton, chief executive of Shape Arts and our Chair for the day, made the comment in his introduction that, ‘museums should be fully inclusive and welcome people with disabilities not only as visitors, but employees and artists too.’ Improving access and facilities for disabled visitors can be a challenge for those institutions that are in listed buildings, but access is not just about installing a lift, what about intellectual access? Museums need to consider their collections, are they fully accessible to disabled visitors or are there barriers that discriminate? How do they use them – is there appropriate gallery support such as: audio visual aids, subtitles on videos, handbooks, appropriate lighting, considerate interpretation or clear signage?

Jocelyn Dodd and Richard Sandell from the University of Leicester spoke about their work with museums in relation to disability access, participation and representation. A variety of organisations were involved in the project, which challenged museums and heritage sites to look at their own collections in a different way. They evaluated displays for diversity, searched databases for relevant material and considered how they would interpret these objects with disability in mind. One of the more important outcomes was that museums should work more collaboratively with disabled visitors, rather than stating what the museum can offer them. Overall, the project enabled museums to explore the potential to reframe collective attitudes towards difference.

Next to speak was Emma Shepley, Senior curator at the Royal College of Physicians, who discussed its award-winning portraiture exhibition ‘Re-framing disability’, that explored four centuries of hidden history through rare portraits from the 17th to the 19th centuries, depicting disabled men and women of all ages and walks of life. The 2011 project involved 27 disabled participants who explored the human stories behind the portraits and discussed the relevance to their lives. The project culminated in an exhibition of recorded interviews, essays and photographic portraits that went on tour to ten venues, including the House of Parliament!

Anna Harnden, museums, galleries and heritage programme manager at VocalEyes, lead an interesting participatory exercise around object interpretation for blind and partially sighted visitors and those with other sensory impairments. Delegates were given a picture of an object and had to think about the barriers visitors might face in accessing it and how other senses could be utilised for fuller engagement. There were lots of great suggestions, but Anna did emphasise that it is not enough to just describe an object, the reasons why it is important to the museum’s collection is equally important.

To end the Seminar, Becki Morris, collections assistant at Heritage and Culture Warwickshire, explored in some depth how visitors with ‘invisible disabilities’ (dyslexia and other neurodiversity conditions), experience museums and Trizia Wells, inclusion manager at Eureka! (The National Children’s Museum) highlighted how its award winning access programme has been embedded throughout the museum. For example, they asked families what they wanted, which included: an inclusive, welcoming attitude from staff members, affordable and appropriate activities and clear information for visitors. As a result, the museum developed: a training programme for all staff (including online courses), free activities tailored to specific disabilities, support from local groups, an ‘access’ tab on the homepage of the website, a DVD virtual tour of the museum and weekend and holiday clubs to name but a few! In conclusion, the museums that are most effective at removing barriers to access seem to be those that collaborate closely with disabled people and adjust their offer accordingly.

Be A “Mega Star” With CREST Awards

CREST Award LogoThanks for the great work of the Royal Opera House Bridge we are very familiar with the Arts Award scheme here in Essex. But did you know there is also a scheme which provides qualifications for young people learning in science subjects too?

Last week I talked about the British Science Association’s Science Week. Today, I’m following up by introducing their CREST Scheme.

CREST Star is their scheme for children aged 5 to 12. It has 3 levels:

  • Star for 5 to 7 year olds
  • Super Star for 7 to 11 year olds
  • Mega Star for 8 to 12 year olds

Children participating in Star take part in a series of 1 hour activities. For every activity they complete, they get a sticker to put in their log book (which can be downloaded for free from the website). Once the log book is full they get their certificate.

While the British Science Association have created many activities themselves it is possible to become a CREST partner and have science activities accredited by the scheme. It is possible that sessions you already offer schools, youth groups etc  could be accredited in this way.

The CREST Awards are the BSA’s offer for young people aged over 11. There are four levels of award. The first level is Discovery. This bridges the gap between CREST Star and CREST Awards. It can be delivered in 5 hours and is envisioned as “CREST in a day”. This other three levels are based on projects undertaken by the participants:

  • Bronze – 10 hours of activity
  • Silver – 30 hours
  • Gold – 70 hours

Project ideas can come from the young people, teachers/youth leaders or organisations like ours. However, the decision should be student-led, so that they choose a topic they are interested in.

Once the participants have completed their project, their work is assessed and (if successful) they will receive a personalised certificate.

CREST Awards are endorsed by UCAS (the body that oversees applications to universities) and also count towards Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the Children’s University Passport to Learning. As they are an accredited qualification, there is a small per-pupil fee involved to cover assessment costs, details of which can be found here.

As mentioned in my last post, the definition of science is a broad one. Activities could be in many areas that your museum covers such as natural history, archaeology, medicine, forensics, engineering, technology and social sciences.

Many museums are moving away from history and towards science in their offer to schools. This may be a good way of accrediting your offer and making it more attractive to teachers.

Have a think about what you’re already offering it could be but you already have activities that could be parts of the CREST scheme visit the British Science Association website and investigate further.