Students and Museums: A Match Made in Heaven

A member of the vTeam supporting young peopleStudents from the University of Essex are looking for meaningful placements within local cultural organisations. The courses these students are on include:

  • Art History/Curatorial Studies
  • History
  • Literature
  • Film Studies
  • Creative Writing
  • Playwriting
  • Multimedia Journalism
  • Business and Marketing

These students have many skills that could be helpful to your museum, beyond traditional volunteering roles of room-stewarding, research, documentation and digitisation (although those are great too!).

Karen Gooch from the University says: “Students bring fresh enthusiasm and ideas, and often new skills, which placement providers welcome”.

Why not:

  • Work with film students to produce a tour of parts of your building that aren’t accessible to wheel-chair users?
  • Ask playwriting students to develop a script for in-character interpretation?
  • Work with marketing students to promote your events and activities?
  • Ask a journalism student to produce your regular newsletter?
  • Work with students to stream talks and “Out of the Box” presentations live on the internet to reach audiences around the world
  • Ask creative writing students to write a children’s story for use in your museum or run a poetry-writing workshop
  • Work with students to develop new tours and trails of your museum
  • Contact me or Karen to discuss your needs and we can help you define a paid-internship or volunteering role

The University may be able to help fund roles for interns with your organisation or help you recruit volunteers. There are campuses in both Colchester and Southend but do not be discouraged if your museum is further afield. There may be ways that travel costs can be supported so do still get in touch.

For further information, contact Karen Gooch, Placements Manager, Faculty of Humanities at the University of Essex

#VolunteersWeek: The vTeam – Partnership Opportunities With the Student Volunteering Team

A member of the vTeam supporting young people

A member of the vTeam supporting young people

Anya Visegorodceva is the Volunteer Co-ordinator for the University of Essex Students’ Union. Here she describes the work of the vTeam, a group who have the potential to support the work of many of our county.

Two members of the vTeamvTeam is a student led volunteer team at University of Essex Students’. Each year hundreds of students go out in the local community to help out charities, schools and not for profit organisations.

vTeam mainly does two types of projects: regular projects and one off projects. Regular projects run on a weekly basis in local schools, care homes and a refugee centre. Students deliver session on different topics anything from English to History and foreign languages. One-off projects happen throughout the year and usually take few hours, a day or are spread over two days. In the past we’ve worked with schools, charities, community halls and nature reserve completing different tasks. We paint, we dig, we cut shrubs and we steward events. In the last two years we had volunteers helping at both Oxjam Festival and Colchester Film Festivals, we worked at numerous schools in the local area and worked with countless charities and organisations.

A group of vTeam volunteersWe are always seeking new opportunities and our focus in the upcoming year is going to be on transferable skills volunteering. We are looking at offering variety of voluntary placements for our students that would benefit their CV’s. We are looking for admin, customer services, finance, marketing and social media placements.

In the past some of our students volunteered at local universities in their spare time and they built fantastic relationships with every venue. We always welcome new opportunities and are open to suggestions.

If you have something in mind or would like to work with us, send us an email to vteam@essex.ac.uk

The vTeam have bases at both the Colchester and Southed campuses of the University of Essex. If you would like to involve the team in a one off project but are concerned that your museum is to far away, please contact me as I may be able to provide transport.

Celebrating Volunteers!

Volunteers at Rayleigh Mill

Volunteers at Rayleigh Mill

Monday 1st June is the start of the thirty-first National Volunteers’ Week. This annual celebration of the work volunteers do is very relevant for museums. Most of the museums in Essex are entirely volunteer run, and those that aren’t still rely heavily on the hard work and creativity of volunteers.

Ahead of Volunteers’ Week, I am launching a new Volunteer Management Toolkit, with useful information for anyone managing volunteers and templates for documents including a volunteering policy, volunteer agreements, skills audits etc. There’s also a new Evaluation Toolkit, including a “how to” guide, templates, a glossary and a list of useful websites. These have been created for Essex museums by Pippa Smith from Handling the Past.

During Volunteers’ Week, I am hosting a series of guest posts:

  • Monday – Volunteering and the HLF by Miranda Stearn, Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Tuesday – Young Curators by Francesca Pellegrino, Epping Forest District Museum
  • Wednesday – Accreditation and Volunteer-Run Museums by Joanne Godfrey, Mersea Museum
  • Thursday – Life as a Museum Volunteer by Deke Dudley, Braintree Museum
  • Friday – Volunteering with Kids in Museums by Jane Allnutt
  • Saturday – The vTeam: Partnership Opportunities With the Student Volunteering Team by Anya Visegorodceva, University of Essex Students’ Union
  • Sunday – Students, Graduates and Volunteer-Run Museums by Christine Brewster and Katie Wilkie, The Cater Museum

Thursday 4th June is also the first SHARE Museums East Volunteer Awards, and several Essex-based volunteers have been nominated, so please keep your fingers crossed for them!

~Amy Cotterill