Spotlight on: Citizen Curators at Wheal Martyn

In this blog we catch up with the Citizen Curator team at Wheal Martyn Clay Works about their experiences of the Citizen Curator programme and their new free exhibition ‘Engineering the Earth’.

The exhibition has been put together by Wheal Martyn’s three volunteer Citizen Curators: Carol Weir, Simon Dunham and Imogen Law, who have been mentored by Nikita Brown Wheal Martyn’s Exhibitions and Engagement Officer. Their showcase investigates the role of science and engineering in the china clay industry, particularly looking at the paper-making industry, the use of kaolin (a type of clay found near St. Austell) in cosmetics, and a local engineer – topics which represent the breadth and depth of this vast theme.

The Citizen Curators are encouraging visitors to get involved with the exhibition by guessing the items in the mystery cabinet, sharing knowledge of paper-making industry workers in Cornwall, and checking the ingredients on their cosmetics to see if they contain kaolin, even experts might learn something new!

One of the exhibition cabinets showcasing the paper-making industry.

The Citizen Curator group says, “We hope this exhibition inspires you to also take an interest in museum collections and perhaps volunteer for the next Citizen Curators course.”

Wheal Martyn is one of seven museums across Cornwall participating in the Citizen Curators programme. This programme aims to encourage a more active interest in the collections cared for on behalf of the public and involve people from the local community. The three-year project, led by Dr Tehmina Goskar of the Curatorial Research Centre, is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, administered by the Museums Association, and is part of Wheal Martyn’s Arts Council England supported partnership programme led by Cornwall Museums Partnership.

Tehmina says, “Citizen Curators is all about unearthing the hidden joys of our historical collections so that more people can learn something new from them. That’s exactly what the Wheal Martyn team are doing through their research and this exhibition. We feel very privileged to have supported their journey.”

 

Some of the photographs in the Wheal Martyn collection about the local engineers.

The Citizen Curators say, “We have enjoyed the opportunity Wheal Martyn and the Citizen Curators project have given us, from exploring the other museums and galleries of Cornwall to the discussions and activities we worked on in the classes. Our volunteering has not only given us a glimpse behind the scenes of Wheal Martyn and its dedicated staff but also taught us much about the local area.”

A showcase about the use of kaolin clay (found locally in St. Austell) in the cosmetic industry.

‘Engineering the Earth’ runs from 6th April – 11th October in Wheal Martyn’s Atrium. Find out more about the exhibition and get updates on Wheal Martyn’s social media: Facebook @whealmartyncw, Twitter @WhealMartyn, and Instagram @whealmartyn. If you have any information on the objects in the exhibition you can join in on social media using the hashtags #citizencurators #stawesome #whealmartyn. You can also follow the Curatorial Research Centre on Twitter @CuratorialRC.

Emerging Voices Bursary

The Emerging Voices bursary supports museum volunteers or emerging professionals to undertake training, research or placement opportunities that enhance their skills and bring new benefits to their host museum.

We want to support people who are new to museums to take an active role in developing great experiences and sharing their knowledge with the widest possible audiences.

 

Who can apply?

To be eligible you must:

  • Have an existing relationship with your host museum (either as an employee, volunteer or participant in a regular programme of activity e.g. Citizen Curators or Young Curators)
  • Demonstrate the skills/training need, the benefit to both you as the applicant and your host museum and how this will lead to new approaches or ways of working.
  • Have sought approval from your host museum prior to applying

 

What can you apply for?

We will consider all applications on their individual merit and the difference they are likely to make.

Applications can be made for attending training, conferences or events, undertaking a placement or research opportunity where this leads to sharing of knowledge with audiences, activity which supports greater collaboration and skill-sharing between museums in Cornwall and organisations elsewhere.

You can apply to cover the costs of training, research, travel, back-fill of your time (if you are a member of staff), and any modest material costs that enables you to put your learning into practice. Equipment costs will not be covered.

 

What should your application demonstrate?

  • Value for money and need. We want to support activity which will bring real value to both the individual and host museum and that would not otherwise happen.
  • Collaboration. We want to support individuals, museums and other organisations to work together and to learn and share knowledge with one another.
  • Innovation. We want to support activity that will embolden museums to try new or different approaches. (You may not know exactly how you will put your learning into practice prior to applying however you should have demonstrated what you anticipate may happen as a result of your learning opportunity.)
  • Inclusive. We want to support activity that shares learning across the organisation with other staff and volunteers and which benefits, and makes a difference to, audiences.

 

How much can you apply for?

You can apply for between £500 – £2,000.

 

Sharing the learning

Successful applicants will be required to create two blogs (or vlogs), one prior to/during the activity and the second one after the activity has been completed.

 

How to apply

Send your completed application form to chloe@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk by 9am Friday 24th May.

If you have any questions please call Chloe Hughes, Engagement Lead on 01209 500750.

Cornwall Museums Partnership Seeks Chair of Trustees

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Cornwall Museums Partnership is a charitable incorporated organisation which exists to help all museums in Cornwall to thrive. Between 2018 and 2022 we will invest nearly £4.5m in an ambitious programme to promote innovation, help museums to raise standards, improve museums’ business performance, and develop and share new knowledge about museums’ collections to inspire a wide range of people. Put simply, we want to help museums to make people’s lives better by ensuring that Cornwall’s unique cultural identity is shared with and enjoyed by as many people as possible.

Cornwall Museums Partnership is looking for a new Chair to succeed Sir Ferrers Vyvyan who steps down after completing his successful 3 year term in the role, having led the formation of the charity and its entry to the Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation cohort.

The Chair will lead the board and ensure its ambitious strategy is effectively delivered. Strong governance skills and experience of senior leadership at board level or equivalent, plus experience of non-executive/trustee governance are essential, and candidates should demonstrate a commitment to CMP’s mission, aims and values, and a willingness to devote time to carry out responsibilities. This is a great time to join our charity which is recognised nationally for its innovative, collaborative approach.

For more information please download the role profile at the end of the page.

To apply please send a letter and CV to Ferrers Vyvyan at fv@trelowarren.com or call 01326 221224 to arrange an informal discussion about the role.