SHARE Volunteer Awards 2017: Don’t Forget to Nominate!

Volunteers at Rayleigh Mill

Volunteers at Rayleigh Windmill, who won the Museums + Heritage Volunteer Award in 2014


The deadline for nominations has been extended until 1st May


Forget the Oscars, the BAFTAs and the BRIT Awards, the glitziest night of the year is the annual SHARE Volunteer Awards. These awards are museums’ opportunity to say “thank you” to the people who give their time, energy and passion to collections and visitors out of love for what they do. There is also a category for Volunteer Managers, who could either be volunteers themselves or paid members of staff supporting volunteers within their museum.


Essex museums have previously done quite well at these awards. Last year, Dick Waylen at the Museum of Power was Highly Commended in the Bringing Innovation category, Jacquie McGregor Hall at Chelmsford Museum was Highly Commended in the Learning Volunteer category and the team at Maldon Museum received the Judges Special Award.


You can nominate teams as well as individuals and there are eight categories:


  • Working Together
  • Outstanding Young Volunteer
  • Volunteer Management
  • Unsung Heroes
  • Learning Volunteer
  • Front of House Volunteer
  • Trustee Board Award
  • Collections Champion


Given how many passionate and dedicated volunteers we have in the county, it would be great to see a lot of nominations from Essex, especially from museums which are entire volunteer-run as these have been under-represented in the past. Who in your museum always goes the “extra-mile”? Has the work of an individual or group made a significant impact on what happens at your museum? Have your trustees worked hard to provide the wider team through a recent rough patch? This is your chance to show your appreciation.

Information about the awards, the different categories and how to make nominations can be found on the SHARE Museums East website.

The nomination form does ask for images, but please don’t let a lack of photos stop you from putting in an application.


The deadline for nominations is Monday 1st May (extended from 21st April). The ceremony itself will be on Thursday 8th June at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket.

#InstaEssex: Capture the Culture

#InstaEssex LogoWhat is it?
Set up by Essex County Council’s Cultural Team, #InstaEssex is a primarily a photography competition encouraging residents of / and visitors to Essex to take shots of “What does ‘Essex Culture’ mean to you?”

Entrants are encouraged to interpret the theme ‘Capture the Culture’ as they like. The judging panel will be looking for images with an architectural or activity theme that captures part of the culture of Essex*.

15 winners will be selected to have their images shown in an exhibition at National Rail’s Liverpool Street Station and Abellio Greater Anglia’s branch line station waiting rooms across Essex.

Prize money of £1000, £500 and £250 will be awarded to the top three entries.


The competition opened at the end of November and closes on Monday 15 February 2016, the exhibition will launch from the end of March – early June 2016 (dates tbc).

The competition is open to all whether they’re an expert or amateur photographer, any age, living in Essex or just visiting. Applicants can enter by clicking the ‘submit an entry’ button at the base of this page. Entrants fees are £5 per image (up to 4) or £15 for 5 images**.

Due to the display space at Liverpool Street Station applicants are requested to submit landscape images only and all images must have a resolution of at least 300dpi and will need to be able to be enlarged to at least A1 in size without pixelation.

For competition details and to submit entries, visit


Alongside the competition and exhibition there will be four photography workshops and a series of social media blogs – more information can be found on the Explore Culture link above.

We are also encouraging the public to take part in the debate by sharing images and thoughts on Essex Culture via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #InstaEssex.


How can museums get involved?

  1. Promote the project to your visitors

As detailed above, the winning images will be displayed at London Liverpool Street Station and across Essex, and it would be fantastic if one (or more!) of those images was of one of our amazing museums, their collections or events.

A digital poster will be available shortly which we’d love for you to print and display and/or circulate to your mailing lists. We’d also appreciate if you can link your site to the project website and mention it on your own social media platforms. Project logos can be downloaded here:

  1. Join in the conversation

Please follow Explore Culture on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and join the conversation about what is ‘Essex Culture’ is to you. Please do share images of your venue, collections and events, both contemporary and any historic images in your collection which would add an interesting depth (or humour) to the debate.

  1. Write a blog post

As mentioned above, Explore Culture would like to host a series of blog posts discussing the nature of Essex Culture and we are looking for contributors. If you have something to say about what the culture of Essex means to you, please contact

  1. Enter the competition

Subject to the terms and conditions, staff and volunteers from your venues are very welcome to enter the competition (as individuals, not on behalf of your organisation).
#InstaEssex is managed by Essex County Council’s Cultural team in partnership with Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, Network Rail’s Liverpool Street Station, Abellio Greater Anglia. Supported by Thurrock and Southend unitary authorities and the Essex Chronicle.


* For the purpose of this competition Essex will be defined as the borders of the 12 Districts, plus Unitary authority areas Southend and Thurrock, for more information to check which areas will be included please click here.

** All entrance fees will go towards the prize money of this competition