The Community Curators at the People’s History Museum (PHM) have won the Museum + Heritage Volunteer Team of the Year Award 2017 for the work on the museum’s changing exhibition Never Going Underground: The Fight for LGBT+ Rights.
The results were announced in a ceremony held at the Historic Staterooms of London’s 8 Northumberland Avenue on 17 May, a most fitting date, as the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).
Never Going Underground, which reflects the journey towards achieving LGBT+ rights, has taken volunteering to a new level, with individuals given the opportunity to work collaboratively to curate the exhibition at every stage; from the research to the installation.
As a result they were able to bring true representation to a story that is both diverse, complex and for many, intensely personal.
Janneke Geene, acting director for the People’s History Museum, says: “As a museum that represents people, an award that celebrates the work of volunteers is particularly important to us. We are incredibly proud of the tremendous work the nine Community Curators have contributed to Never Going Underground and delighted to be sharing this award success with them.
“This exhibition has been ground-breaking in every sense, not least for the way that the Community Curators have been given the ownership to use their experiences, insights and voices to tell the complex and diverse story of the LGBT+ movement. They co-created true representation in an imaginative and deeply meaningful way and, as a museum director and an LGBT person myself, this true representation in a museum context is not just innovative but also moving.”
Community curator Heather Davidson says, “This award is fantastic recognition for a project that has been innovative in so many different ways. Through Never Going Underground the People’s History Museum has enabled people to tell their story in their way through us, the Community Curators, giving us the freedom to use our experiences, to reach and connect different groups, to collect memories and to reflect the challenges faced by so many people to achieve the rights to simply be themselves.”
Catherine O’Donnell, programme manager for the People’s History Museum, says, “I could not be prouder of our incredible Community Curators. Their hard work and dedication has created a really special exhibition, and that it should be recognised with this award is the icing on the cake. Their passion and commitment has helped to create an extremely moving, engaging and powerful experience for visitors to the museum.”
The nine Community Curators are: Adrian Smith, Heather Davidson, Jenny White, Kirsty Roberts, Kirsty Jukes, Lu Tolu, Sarah Wilkinson, Stephen M Hornby and Vivien Walsh.