Volunteering roles with cultural organisations usually count towards the "Make a Difference" part of the Manchester Leadership Award.
The University has all sorts of opportunities at its cultural institutions, which includes The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Museum and John Rylands Library Deansgate.
Manchester Museum offers a range of ways to get involved with and learn about the Museum and their collections. Through the volunteer programme they aim to provide rewarding opportunities for students to develop their personal and professional skills while gaining valuable experience.
Volunteers contribute to the Museum in many different ways. The roles available vary from visitor facing roles on the galleries to providing essential support to staff from the Museum’s curatorial, learning and engagement departments. Students can get involved in the following ways:
Object handling, where the collections are brought to life every day is a key role for volunteers.
Volunteers play an important role supporting the delivery of a range of workshops and events which complement current exhibitions and animate the collections.
A small number of volunteers are involved with cataloging the collections behind the scenes.
Increasingly, the Museum has opportunities which are specifically aimed at students. They have just launched recruitment for The Study, an exciting new gallery which aims to inspire researchers of all ages, from curious teenagers to amateur enthusiasts. Student volunteers will be integral to facilitating the visitor experience in this space.
They also have a dedicated Student Coordinator who works closely with students providing a platform to curate events, interpret our exhibitions and get involved in ambitious projects.
The Art Gallery’s volunteer programme is an essential part of what they do at the Whitworth, and there are plenty of ways for students to get involved from supporting artists and their work, getting hands-on and creative, helping deliver everything from intimate workshops to large-scale events, art gardening and much more.
Cordelia Milward joined the Whitworth just before our reopening in February 2015 and is one of the Gallery’s Student Producers:
“Volunteering as a Student Producer at The Whitworth has been the perfect antidote to the academic student lifestyle, and being able to work with other like-minded creative students has been so much fun. We've got to know how the gallery works, and have been able to bring our own ideas to curating social events for students. We're so lucky at the university to have this established gallery just next door, and I have a real sense of pride in being part of such a special place. Being a Student Producer alongside my degree has been perfect as it serves as a kind of escape from the library, but it also seems like brilliant experience for working in the creative arts. Curating the Student Social Art Party was a learning experience, but it was also incredible to see so many students engaged and enthused by the art in the gallery space.”
Jason joined Manchester Museum as a volunteer in November 2013, he chose the Museum as he thought it would be a good way to gain experience while completing his Wildlife Biology degree.
As one of the Museum’s object handling volunteers, Jason engages visitors with real museum objects, sharing information and stories about the objects to create dialogue with visitors to encourage learning.
Jason says “Volunteering provides great public engagement experience; it really increases your confidence working with a variety of audiences and different age groups.
There are lots of opportunities as a volunteer such as social events, further training and other volunteering roles. Most recently I was invited to collaborate with other students and graduates to help inform and shape a new gallery - The Study.
It has been a privilege to volunteer at Manchester Museum, from the expertise of the staff to volunteering with real objects to engaging the public. It is a great place to learn and enhance your skills for the future.”