Museums Change Lives Awards 2020

We are calling for entries for the Museums Change Lives Awards 2020.

The Museums Change Lives Awards celebrate the achievements of museums and individuals that have made an impact on the lives of their audiences and communities, with winners to be announced at a ceremony during our online conference in November. 

This year’s Museums Change Lives awards will have four categories – including a new award for the Best Lockdown Project, which will recognise the best museum responses to the coronavirus crisis.

Other awards include the Best Museums Change Lives Project award, which will recognise the best project in the past year that reflects one or more of the themes of the MA’s Museums Change Lives campaign: Promoting Health and Wellbeing; Creating Better Places; and Inspiring Engagement, Reflection and Debate. 

There will also be an award for the Best Small Museum Project that delivers social impact, for museums with an annual turnover of less than £320,000.

There is also a Radical Changemaker award that will recognise the achievements of an individual in promoting one or more of the themes of Museums Change Lives in their museum. This award will be open to staff, freelancers and volunteers from across the sector.

You can find full details of the awards and how to apply on below. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the online nomination forms for each category. The deadline for entries is Friday 25 September at 17.30.

Please read the following Guidelines for Entrants before submitting your nomination:

Eligibility

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.

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, the Best Small Museum Project and the Judges’ Choice Award for Best Lockdown Project.

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 delivered during the period 1st September 2019 – 1st September 2020. Projects that started before the 1st September 2019 are eligible if delivery was ongoing during the period 1st September 2019 – 1st September 2020.

The Best Small Museum Award is only open to museums with an operating budget of less than £320k 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 2nd November and will receive a framed certificate and award.

Categories and criteria

There are three awards to be presented to institutions, and one to an individual. This section sets out the different awards and the criteria by which they will be judged.

Institutional Awards

Best Museums Change Lives Project

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

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

Best Small Museum Project

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 £320k 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 can also apply for any of the other institutional awards, subject to eligibility.

Judges’ Award for Best Lockdown Project

This category will recognise the best example of a museum responding to the needs of their audiences and local community during the coronavirus crisis. We use the term project loosely here – this could be any type of activity undertaken by a museum that responds to audience and community needs, such as online and social media-based activities, help with home-schooling, support for health and wellbeing initiatives etc.

Judges will look in particular for projects that:

  • Show evidence of meeting a need amongst your audience or community
  • Have a clear link to the museum’s collection and/or venue
  • Inspire audiences and communities to take positive action to help during the crisis

Museums applying for the Best Lockdown Project 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 institutional awards by completing the relevant form on the website. The form asks the following:

  • Category Entered
  • Title of project, exhibition or campaign (max 60 characters)
  • Title of organisation
  • Organisation Membership Number
  • Name of key contact
  • Phone number of key contact
  • Email address of key contact
  • Description of project, exhibition or campaign. Please set out how your project relates to the judge’s criteria. (Word Limit: 200 words)
  • Description of outcomes from project, exhibition or campaign, including any formal evaluation, statistics, visitor numbers etc. (Word Limit: 200 words)
  • Budget for project, exhibition or campaign (Word Limit: 150 words)

You can apply for the individual award by completing the relevant form on the website. The form asks the following:

  • Category Entered
  • Title of organisation (if applicable)
  • Name of key contact
  • Phone number of key contact
  • Email address of key contact
  • Individual Membership Number (if known)
  • Description of individual contribution to delivering social impact in museums (Word Limit: 200 words)
  • Description of outcomes, with any supporting evidence including formal evaluations, statistics, visitor numbers etc. (Word Limit: 200 words)

Nominees for all categories will also be asked to submit a link to a website/blog with photos or further information about their submission.

Application period and deadline for entries

Applications will open on 17 August 2020. The deadline for entries is 17.30 on Friday 25 September 2020.

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