Being the Co-ordinator of the Museum Collective

I have been with the Museum Collective at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery since it began in May 2010. I’ve seen many new faces come and go and take their experiences gained from the museum to new places around the United Kingdom and internationally.

Members of the Museum Collective
Members of the Museum Collective

The Collective has grown from an original six or seven people to about 20, thanks to Rachel getting the word out about us in and outside of the museum, and through members spreading the word amongst their friends.

Members of the Museum Collective
Members of the Museum Collective

What are we for? Well, this is largely up to us. We are events planners and a focus group for the museum. Most importantly, we are open to everyone in the group having their say. Each person has a different reason for joining. I wanted to get experience in a museum setting, and I can now apply this to other museums or galleries. I have also gained extra benefits, meeting new people and having influence, and knowing that I am really contributing to the changes in the museum.

A bit more about the Museum Collective: we are here to attract those young people who may not usually visit a museum. Museums still interest people who are normally not interested in history, they’re open to everyone – and our Collective promotes this – young people from all backgrounds feeding back their opinions and ideas. When we meet, it’s diverse; we have guys and girls, different backgrounds and different interests and desires. The one thing that members have in common is age; between 16 and 21. This helps us plan workshops and events to suit our age group.

Papier Mache Landscape
Papier Mache Landscape

My role is the Collective co-ordinator and my main duty is to encourage and inform members, but there is a lot more to it than this; the most bizarre thing I did was to make a trip to the Booth Museum to pick up an interesting collection of cased stuffed animals and give them a taxi ride to Brighton Museum for a workshop.  I have also helped to frantically construct an entire coastal landscape from papier mache, and ordered an extortionate amount of plasticine over the phone.

Two main highlights from my time at the museum come to mind: helping to plan both White Night 2010 and 2011 and meeting with the designers of the new World Stories gallery which will open this summer. The White Night events were a storming success with over 2000 people attending this year, hopefully encouraging these visitors to come back again!

Achieving what the group conceives takes a lot of imagination and determination. Shadow puppets and papier mache worlds were lavish ideas to create considering the fact that we as a group had never planned events before. Somehow it all worked out with the help of museum staff and extra support from creative people hopping on board.

We meet once every three weeks on Tuesday from 6 – 8pm at the museum.  This is a great chance to get involved in something creative, work in a team and meet a variety of people. Oh, and of course, most importantly get your ideas heard and have fun!  To find out more email Rachel, our Community Engagement Officer via the form below. We look forward to meeting you!

Julia Stafford, Museum Collective co-ordinator

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