Farewell For Now

Today is my last day as Museum Development Officer for Essex… Until I return from maternity leave in November.

 

In the meantime, I’m leaving you in very capable hands. Eleanor Root is joining Essex County Council as my maternity cover on secondment from Colchester and Ipswich Museums.

 

In addition to leading on projects like Snapping the Stiletto, Eleanor will be your main contact for all things museumy in Essex, will continue to send out the e-newsletter and keep this website up-to-date. She’ll also be taking over the @EssexMDO Twitter account (although if you spot any tweets with AC at the end, it’s because I couldn’t quite give up my social media addiction).

 

Coming up over the next few months, the Stiletto project will be getting underway, there’s an opportunity to get involved in a new volunteering project and from next week we’ll be hosting a series of weekly blog posts from social media expert Louise Winters on how museums of any size can make the most of these free platforms.

 

Thank you to everyone who has been in touch over the last few weeks to wish me luck, and for all your support over the past three and a half years.

 

See you all again in the Autumn.

 

Amy Cotterill.

Museum Development Officer – Maternity Cover

Museum Development Officer (Maternity Cover), Essex County Council, Secondment Opportunity / Fixed Term Contract until Nov 2017

Full Time, 37 hours per week (flexible, evenings and weekends may be required), Salary £28,500, Deadline for applications: Midnight, Weds 22nd March

 

Love museums? Creative? Enjoy working with people? Essex County Council is seeking maternity cover for the role of Museum Development Officer. The post serves as the strategic lead for museums in the county, including project development, advice and support.

At the core of the role, you will provide advice and guidance to local museums, regarding organisational resilience, collections care and audiences, so experience in at least one of these areas is essential.

 

Working within the Cultural Development Team, you will also lead on delivery if the “Snapping the Stiletto” women’s history project, the “Wikipedians In Residence Essex” (WIRE) project and chair the county’s Heritage Education Group. You will also be responsible for developing the local training and activity offer, in partnership with Museums Essex and SHARE Museums East.

 

Please note that the post is also available as a secondment to local authority employees.

 

The role description can be accessed here: https://essexcc.taleo.net/careersection/ecc_external/jobdetail.ftl?job=10754&lang=en

 

  • Deadline for applications: Midnight, Wednesday 22nd March
  • Interviews: Friday 31st March or Monday 3rd April
  • Start date: Monday 24th April (subject to reference checks etc)
  • End date: Friday 24th November

 

If you have any questions about the role, please feel free to get in touch (amy.cotterill@essex.gov.uk)

Snapping The Stiletto: Re-Examining Essex Collections

 

Image courtesy of Essex Police Museum

Image courtesy of Essex Police Museum

The Essex County Council Museum Development has secured a grant of £95, 445 from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund for a two year project working with museums across the county.

 

2018 is the Centenary of the of the Representation of the People Act 1918 which gave the first British women the vote, the 90th anniversary of the Equal Franchise Act 1928 which gave all women the vote and the 50th anniversary of the Dagenham Ford Worker’s Strike. These important national and local anniversaries are serving as a catalyst to explore, record and celebrate the diverse and inspirational stories of Essex women.

For the purposes of this project, we are working with partners from across “historic Essex” including those areas which are now unitary authorities or part of London, thus enabling us to tell interpret both existing collections and the stories discovered through our research as part of the wider story.

We will research and record how Essex women’s lives have changed during the last century and celebrate the stories of individual and groups of women in the county, for example Suffrage campaigners and Dagenham strikers but also women whose stories aren’t yet well known. This may include but not be limited to women who were involved in World War II, gained qualifications at a time when most women were unable to access further education, who entered male dominated professions including the services, those who moved to Essex from around the world and made a home for themselves by overcoming language and cultural differences and those who have raised families during a time of changing expectations for their gender. By highlighting women’s contributions, we will add another layer of understanding to elements of history that the public are possibly more familiar with, for example WWII, and change their perceptions of what took place. Also, through telling the stories of inspiring Essex women, we hope to weaken the negative “Essex Girl” stereotype.

 

Image courtesy of Southend Museums

Image courtesy of Southend Museums

 

 

The project is part of an overarching strand of work called “Snapping the Stiletto: 100 Years of Change”. We will be shortly be submitting further funding applications for oral history and other work, so there are still plenty of opportunities for heritage organisations and other groups to get involved. We will also be recruiting a large number of volunteers during 2017.

 

For more information, to sign up for project updates or to learn how you can get involved in the project, email amy.cotterill@essex.gov.uk

 

 

 

Our museum partners for “Revisiting Essex Collections” are:

  • Braintree Museums
  • Brightlingsea Museum
  • Chelmsford Museum
  • Colchester and Ipswich Museums
  • The Combined Military Services Museum
  • Epping Forest District Museum
  • Essex Fire Museum
  • Essex Police Museum
  • The Museum of Power
  • Redbridge Museum, Ilford
  • Southend Museums Service

#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 www.exploreculture.org.uk/instaessex.html

 

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 helen.griffiths@essex.gov.uk

  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

Culture in Essex Small Grants

Participants in Saffron Walden's Egypt Project

The Culture in Essex Small Grants Schemes are funded and run by Essex County Council, offering one-off project support to arts and culture projects within Essex (excluding Southend and Thurrock).
 
Deadlines fall on the 31 March and 31 October each year and awards of up to £2,500 are offered to projects which meet the schemes criteria. 

With plenty of time left before the October deadline, Gemma Tully from Saffron Walden Museum shares hare experiences of the scheme:
Project participantsI have experience of applying for and working on two projects funded by the ECC small grants scheme over the last 3 years. Compared to other funding applications, the ECC form is clear and straightforward and takes a matter of hours rather than days to complete. The Small Grants team and MDO are really helpful and are willing to discuss projects before you begin applying, they will also read through draft versions and/or offer advice over the phone if you ask nicely!

The two projects that we have had success with have been strongly collaborative and involved a number of individuals from different backgrounds from within Uttlesford (our local authority district).

The first project I co-ordinated was called ‘Re-imagining Egypt’. This was an art/archaeology project between the museum (and our Egyptian collection), an Egyptian artist and over 100 local school-aged children (aged 7-18) from two different local schools, one museum youth club and a local home-school group. The project focused on looking at the entire human history of Egypt, from the Stone Age up to today, and getting children to rethink their ideas of Egypt’s history so as not to see it purely as the land of the Pharaohs. The objects that we studied formed the basis of artwork that the children created with input from Khaled Hafez, an Egyptian artist, as well as museum staff. The artworks focused on different themes which run through the whole of Egyptian history: symbols/writing, the human figure, gods/religion and the use of colour in society. The artworks reinterpreted this history through these themes to represent a more inclusive vision of Egypt’s past. The children’s artworks, alongside art by the Egyptian artist Khaled Hafez and Egyptian artefacts from the Museum’s collection (as well as some artefacts loaned by the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) were then incorporated into an exhibition, co-curated by the children, Khaled and museum staff, which brought together 300,000 years of Egyptian history and contemporary art works that re-imagined Egypt’s history as one integrated story, rather than simply prioritising Pharaonic Egypt above all else. The children had their own private view, designed their own posters and got involved with publicity campaigns, meaning that they also learn about the entire museum exhibition process. The exhibition was a great success, with visitor numbers increasing significantly during the 4 months the exhibition was on display. More information is available here.

Community CuratorsThe second project is currently underway. ‘Uttlesford: A community of Collectors’ is a joint curatorial venture between the museum and local residents who wanted to showcase their collections to a wider audience. After a public call was put out, a group of collectors were selected to take part in workshops, learn how to care for and curate their collections and finally exhibit and publicise them in a temporary exhibition. From walking sticks to jubilee memorabilia, animal skulls to national dolls, a range of collectors aged from 11-85 have taken part. While the first round of collectors’ exhibition is only just under way, there has already been significant interest from the local public, with many visitors coming just to see friends and families collections on display. We are currently working with the collectors who are in round two and their exhibition will open in late November of this year. Both staff and local collectors have found the experience really rewarding and learnt a great deal from each other and it is something that we are hoping to sustain in the form of a community exhibition case once this particular project draws to a close.

Saffron Walden community Exhibition

 

Please do visit the grants website or contact me for more information before applying.

What is a Museum Development Officer?

Colchester Castle

Supporting Colchester and Ipswich Museums in their current exchange project with Nanjing Museum

This is a question that I’m often asked, but that doesn’t have a straightforward answer. The role of MDO varies from county to county, even within the East of England, so I can really only answer with regard to Essex.

My post is the result of a partnership between Essex County Council, SHARE Museums East, Museums Essex and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. This means that I cover ALL of the museums within ECC and Southend’s local authority borders and other museums within “historic Essex” that are members of Museums Essex.

The advice and support I provide falls into three categories:

  • Collection care
  • Resilience and sustainability
  • Audiences

These are the three areas that the sector’s Accreditation scheme assesses, and part of my role is to support museums to achieve and maintain Accreditation, but actually they cover everything a museum does.

I provide this advice and support through several different avenues:

  • I send out a weekly e-newsletter for museums detailing news, funding and training opportunities and local vacancies. Museums can use this to advertise for items they need or items they want to dispose of that others might find useful.
  • I feed into the SHARE Calendar which runs training for museum staff and volunteers on a range of subjects. I also organise local training and events based on feedback I get from museums.
  • I work in partnership with SHARE to run target projects and cohort. For example, in the last year we’ve run the Forward Planning Cohort, a Governance Surgery Day and launched the Digital Learning Project.
  • I chair the Essex Heritage Education Group, which supports learning and engagement staff and volunteers in the local heritage sector.
  • I provide resources museums can borrow (such as oral history equipment) and have commissioned some template documents which will be available for you to use soon.
  • Probably the most significant part of my post is providing one-to-one support for museums. Already in 2015, I’ve helped museums write applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund, advised on new displays, provided support with conservation problems and given pointers on opening social media accounts.

So how can your museum tap into this support? Ask! My job is to help you but I can’t do that if you don’t let me know that there’s something you want help with. Size isn’t an issue and you don’t have to be Accredited. If you have a collection and you’re in Essex, please get in touch.

~Amy Cotterill, Museum Development Officer