Museums Change Lives Awards 2021 - Museums Association

Museums Change Lives Awards 2021

We’re delighted to announce that the Museums Change Lives Awards 2021 are now open for nominations.

The awards celebrate how museums across the UK are impacting people and communities, and will be presented at a ceremony at our 2021 MA Conference.

We’ll be awarding three institutional awards (Best Museums Change Lives Project Award, Digital Engagement Award and Best Small Museum Project Award) and one individual award (Radical Changemaker Award).

Good luck, and be sure to make your application before the deadline of 5.30pm on 27 August 2021.

Please read the guidelines for entrants below before submitting your nomination.

About

The Museums Change Lives Awards will recognise and celebrate outstanding practice by UK museums delivering social impact. They will promote the best examples of work by museums and individuals that support communities and engage with contemporary issues.

Eligibility

Applications are open for three institutional awards and one individual award. 

You must be an institutional member of the Museums Association to apply for the Best Museums Change Lives Project Award, the Best Small Museum Project Award and the Judges’ Choice Digital Engagement Award. Freelancers should enter projects with the backing of the museum that they have worked with.

You must be an individual member of the Museums Association to be a candidate for the Radical Changemaker Award. This award is open to museum employees, freelancers and volunteers.

All projects under consideration must have been ongoing during the period 1 September 2020 to 1 September 2021. Projects that started before the 1 September 2020 are eligible if delivery was ongoing during the aforementioned period.

The Best Small Museum Award is only open to museums with an operating budget of less than £320,000 p.a. in the most recent completed financial year.

All entrants can self-nominate for the awards.

Judging panel and awards

The panel will be made up of MA conference panel members, board members, MA staff and external partners.

Judges may decide to move entries between categories if deemed more suitable than for the category entered. Awards will be made solely at the discretion of the judges. No feedback or correspondence will be entered into about the results and the judges’ decisions are final.

All entrants will be notified as to whether they are shortlisted. The winners will be announced at an online ceremony at MA Conference during the week of 8 November 2021 and will receive a framed certificate and award.

Categories and criteria

This section sets out the different awards and the criteria by which they will be judged.

Institutional awards

Best Museums Change Lives Project Award

This category will recognise the best practice in the field of social impact by a museum within the period of eligibility.

The judges will be looking for high quality innovative work that reflects one or more of the themes of Museums Change Lives: Promoting Health and Wellbeing; Creating Better Places; and/or Inspiring Engagement, Reflection and Debate. 

Judges will look in particular for projects that:

  • Work in partnership with other organisations to deliver positive outcomes
  • Have a clear link to the museum’s collection and/or venue
  • Support community cohesion and work in collaboration with local groups
  • Diversify the museum’s audience
  • Enable audiences to take action or change behaviour in response to the work
  • Use research to underpin project delivery and outcomes
  • Are relevant to major current social or environmental issues

Museums applying for the Best Museums Change Lives Project Award can also apply for any of the other institutional awards, subject to eligibility.

Best Small Museum Project Award

This category will recognise the best example of work delivering social impact. It is only open to museums with an operating budget of less than £320,000 p.a. in the most recent completed financial year. 

The judges will be looking for high quality innovative work that is designed to deliver social impact. Applicants should show how their work reflects one or more of the themes of Museums Change Lives: Promoting Health and Wellbeing; Creating Better Places; and/or Inspiring Engagement, Reflection and Debate.  

Museums applying for the Best Small Museum Project Award can also apply for any of the other institutional awards, subject to eligibility.

Digital Engagement Award

This category will recognise the best example of a museum engaging underrepresented audiences with online and digital content in the past year. Your project could be any type of digital outreach undertaken by a museum that develops a new audience and/or responds to a clear audience or community need.

Judges will look in particular for projects that:

  • Clearly articulate who the target audience for the digital/online project is and why they were a priority
  • Clearly demonstrate how the museum successfully reached the target audience
  • Show evidence that participation was beneficial for the audience or community
  • Have a clear link to the museum’s collection and/or venue

Museums applying for the Digital Engagement Award can also apply for any of the other institutional awards, subject to eligibility.

Individual award

Radical Changemaker Award

This award will recognise the contribution of an individual who has advanced the cause of delivering social impact in one or more museums.

The judges will be looking for evidence of how the individual has actively contributed in the past year to the delivery of one or more of the themes of Museums Change Lives: Promoting Health and Wellbeing; Creating Better Places; and/or Inspiring Engagement, Reflection and Debate. 

It is open to employees, freelancers or volunteers.

You can nominate yourself or another person. The nominee must be a member of the Museums Association.

How to apply

You can apply for any of the awards by completing the relevant form:

Application period and deadline

Applications are open as of 25 June 2021. The deadline for entries is 5.30pm on 27 August 2021.

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