Marsh Awards 2016

On Thursday 13 October 2016, the sixth annual Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education celebrated the hard work, dedication and innovation of colleagues working within the sector of gallery, museum and visual arts education.

The awards are funded by the Marsh Christian Trust and run by engage, the support and advocacy organisation for gallery education, whose mission is to increase access to the visual arts. This year five individuals received awards, presented by Professor Roderick Bugg, Ambassador of the Marsh Christian Trust, and Lesley Butterworth, Chair of engage, during the annual engage International Conference in Liverpool.

The awards are open to those working in galleries and visual arts organisations, and colleagues are invited to nominate deserving co-workers every summer. The winners receive £500 to spend on their professional development, and are open to both UK and international colleagues.

Feedback from previous winners has been overwhelmingly positive – they have been delighted to receive recognition for their work and have reported increased confidence and opportunities as a result of winning the award, as well as benefits for the organisations where they worked.

This is the sixth year that engage has celebrated the achievements of colleagues through the Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education. As ever the panel were extremely impressed by the quality of nominations received from individuals at all stages of their careers, working as freelancers and employees across the UK and internationally. We are proud to work with the Marsh Christian Trust to mark the valuable contribution made by colleagues in making the visual arts more accessible.

Jane Sillis
Director, Engage

The 2016 winners were:

Emma Kerr, Head of Education, Roche Court Educational Trust, Salisbury

As Head of Education at Roche Court Educational Trust in Wiltshire, Emma delivers an innovative education programme, and has been instrumental in launching a new learning framework ‘Looking, Thinking and Speaking’ to underpin all activities at the Trust, with a mission to find tailored approaches for all to take part. Emma’s nominator, Will Grant says,

Emma’s measured, challenging, and warm approach engages all students, although in an alien environment. Emma is a passionate advocate for involving state-school students in galleries, art history and art-making; environments that can, from a student’s perspective, typically appear a rarefied and exclusive community.

Will Grant

Merilee Mostov, Chief Engagement Officer, Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, USA

As Chief Engagement Officer at the Columbus Museum of Art, Merilee leads the museum exhibition planning process, as well as developing a diverse range of in-gallery experiences. She also curates several experimental galleries within the museum, including The Wonder Room, the Big Idea Gallery and the Creative Lounge.

Merilee was nominated by Deputy Director of Learning and Experience, Cindy Meyers Foley, who says Merilee,

Developed our strategy for Visitor Engagement by rallying an interdepartmental team, prototyping ideas, and researching the results. She developed an outcomes-based exhibition form to ensure that we are not only intentional about learning outcomes but are also providing opportunities for visitors to think like artists. Merilee’s work has had an incredible impact on our community

Cindy Meyers-Foley

Adele Patrick, Lifelong Learning Manager, Glasgow Women’s Library

Glasgow Women’s Library is unique in Scotland – open to all, it is the only accredited museum in the UK dedicated to women’s lives and history. As co-founder of the library, Adele has, over the course of 25 years, created a Lifelong Learning programme like no other. It reaches women who have never accessed or participated in the visual arts and connects them with established, cutting-edge and emerging Glasgow-based, Scottish and international artists, many of whom have themselves been inspired by Adele during her career.

Adele’s nominator, Sue John says,

(Adele’s) unremitting belief in the power of art to change lives and broaden horizons has seen the development of projects showcasing work by Turner Prize nominees and Venice Biennale representatives, in a space where women from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds feel welcome, safe and valued…Thanks to Adele’s vision and leadership, every single exhibition or project…involves women from across our projects from the onset, fostering meaningful and long-lasting relationships between artists and their audiences, and creating new generations of women who access, participate and even work in visual arts.

Sue John

Kenn Taylor, Head of Participation, The Tetley, Leeds

Kenn has been developing The Tetley’s Participation strategy and programme since joining in June 2014, around six months after the organisation opened its new venue. Kenn has nearly 10 years experience in the management of arts and heritage participation programmes with organisations ranging from FACT and National Museums Liverpool to Sir John Soane’s Museum and Metal Culture.

Kenn was nominated by The Tetley’s Creative Director, Bryony Bond, who says,

Kenn is The Tetley’s only member of participation staff. He works tirelessly to enable people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with contemporary art. Kenn is passionate about widening participation and ensuring The Tetley is constantly developing to become more inclusive, for example he recently attended training so that The Tetley can become Dementia friendly. The Tetley is fortunate to have a Head of Participation so committed to our audiences and programme.

Bryony Bond
Creative Director, The Tetley

Ben Thomas, Assistant Curator of Learning & Participation, Arnolfini, Bristol

Ben has created an ambitious new model at Arnolfini, where practicing artists, architects and writers are placed directly into schools, working with students to introduce art as a critical space for rethinking our identities and how we work together as a society. This is a departure from how art is traditionally perceived within formal education. He has also instigated a successful and sustainable schools membership scheme providing opportunities for Arnolfini to connect with schools in a meaningful and long term way.

Nominator Ellie Coleman says of Ben,

Ben has gone beyond expectations in his role by pushing the boundaries of engagement through his desire to create unique programmes with and for young people responding to current issues and providing supportive environments to make their voices heard.

Ellie Coleman