V&A Dundee

V&A Dundee Young People’s Collective Wins Volunteering Award

V&A Dundee’s Young People’s Collective has been recognised for its volunteering contributions to the museum.

On Monday, November 14, three members of Young People’s Collective (YPC) travelled from Dundee to London to collect the ‘Volunteers for Museum Learning Award’ (Regional Winners – Scotland) presented by the Marsh Charitable Trust and the British Museum, where the ceremony was held.

The award celebrates the achievements and contribution of volunteers in museums, galleries and heritage sites all over the UK, recognising their dedication, innovation and excellence in engaging with the public.

The Young People’s Collective at V&A Dundee is funded by The Mathew Trust as part of the Young People’s programme. At any one time there are around 20 active participants in the YPC.

V&A Dundee’s Young People’s Collective is a group of young people from across Tayside aged 14 – 24 who help shape V&A events and content, whilst learning first-hand about creative careers, and skills development opportunities.

The voluntary group meet weekly at V&A Dundee to co-design opportunities for 14 to 24-year-olds, develop new design-related skills and represent young people's voices throughout the museum. They ensure V&A Dundee listens to and acts on what the group are trying to achieve aligning with young people’s interests and aspirations for design, society and their future.

The Young People’s Collective members have been an integral part of the museum’s success since initial consultation and formation of the group in 2017. Their first contribution to the museum was by co-designing the two-day opening festival, 3D Festival, by working alongside Scotland’s largest promoter and events company, DF Concerts and Events, in 2018.

YPC also work with national bodies such as LGBT Youth Scotland and local organisations like HELM –a grassroots youthwork charity who specialise in supporting young people through transitions into adult life, including college, employment, or apprenticeships.

Since the museum’s opening, the YPC have created regular programmes of opportunities for young people; including workshops, talks and whole-museum Design Days. The Young People’s Programme co-designed by YPC and has included events (both in the museum and online) open to the public and more targeted projects that connect with schools, FE/HE and community youth partners, all with the aim of empowering young people and giving them opportunities to connect and learn new skills.

The YPC worked collectively under challenging circumstances to help curate sections of Now Accepting Contactless, the museum’s first major exhibition post lockdown. Due to Covid restrictions all the curatorial contributions had to be conducted online.

Bethan Ferrie, member of the Young People’s Collective said: The Young People’s Collective represent V&A Dundee on national and international platforms, featuring in online debates (including work with MoMA and Architecture and Design Scotland) and national online career festivals. Two YPC members currently sit on the Board with Observer status, ensuring young people’s voices are being represented at a senior strategic level.

“Being part of YPC has increased my confidence; I was really shy before I joined. I've learned a lot about the creative industries, and it's changed what I want to do with my future. I really like that we have the freedom to do what we want to do.”

Amy Jones, Learning Programmer, Young People at V&A Dundee said: “YPC has evolved and expanded V&A Dundee’s understanding of what volunteering can be, where it can lead and of the fundamental voice that young people need to have within museums. Drawn from a range of backgrounds and ages the members of YPC influence so much of V&A Dundee. During lockdown as so much shifted the group quickly created an anchor point each week to meet online. YPC are involved in shaping V&A Dundee’s mission and vision, actively participate in our programme, represent V&A Dundee externally and importantly two members of YPC are now active observers of V&A Dundee’s Board. We also have seen several members of YPC become employed at V&A Dundee full time.”

Muriel Gray, Deputy Chair of the Trustees at the British Museum said: “Museums across the UK are grateful for the contribution of volunteers to ensure they reach and inspire as many people as possible. Volunteers are also an important part of the British Museum community. The efforts of volunteers up and down the country in 2021 are an inspiration as they gave their time throughout a challenging period, helping museums and heritage sites with their recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. These awards recognise the commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers in museums and we are very grateful to the Marsh Charitable Trust for acknowledging this work.”

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