National award for Leeds gallery volunteer


The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds has been recognised nationally for the work of its outstanding volunteer, Elizabeth Stainforth.

Stainforth was presented with the Marsh Volunteer Award 2010 for the Yorkshire region at the British Museum on 23 June 2011.

The British Museum and the Marsh Christian Trust have been working in partnership for the third year for the 'Volunteers for Museum Learning' award which recognises the hugely valuable contribution that volunteers make in helping museums to engage with their visitors.

Stainforth, who now works part-time at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery and at the University Library, was recognised for her work as a volunteer during 2010, when she organised and delivered educational workshops for the Gallery. She even developed her own project 'Identity: Express!' for local Leeds schoolchildren, which was funded by a Leeds University Community Initiative grant from the University's Access and Community Engagement team. As part of 'Identity: Express!', Stainforth trained other volunteers to lead a series of workshops with schoolchildren on the theme of identity. One of the aims of her project was to involve children who might not traditionally engage with their local heritage, visit galleries or aspire to attend university. The participating schools were Quarry Mount Primary and Brudenell Primary.

Gallery Curator Layla Bloom said: 'I'm overjoyed that Elizabeth's hard work as a Gallery volunteer has been highlighted in this way, on a national stage. She is so creative and hardworking, and even managed to get external funding for her project 'Identity: Express!' - all without expecting anything in return! Like many museums and galleries, we rely on dedicated and inspirational volunteers like Elizabeth, and we really couldn't do it without them. We're so grateful therefore that the Marsh Christian Trust has chosen to reward great museum volunteers in the UK.'

The 'Volunteers for Museum Learning' award forms part of a programme of 41 awards presented by the Marsh Christian Trust in the fields of science, ecology, conservation, heritage, literature and volunteering. Each one of these awards recognises individuals and organisations who devote their lives to improving the world today and the world in the future. The Marsh awards programme is managed in association with key partners including the Zoological Society of London, English Heritage, Barnardo's, the Refugee Council and the British Museum. The aim of the 'Volunteers for Museum Learning' award is to recognise those volunteers who work directly with museum visitors in any capacity. This could involve leading a school group, staffing an information desk, helping with family activities, running a guided tour or any number of other ways in which volunteers provide such excellent service to museum visitors.

There were over 60 applications in total, some from groups of volunteers and some from individuals. The judges consisted of staff from the Marsh Trust, staff and volunteers from the British Museum and a representative from a regional museum, which this year was Kate Davies from English Heritage. The British Museum hosted the awards, being very aware of the crucial contribution volunteers make to the well-being of the Museum and its enjoyment by the public. Due to the Museum's involvement in the ceremony and judging, volunteers from the British Museum were ineligible for the awards.

Andrew Burnett, Deputy Director of the British Museum said "The Marsh Awards recognise the vital work that volunteers do in museums across the country. Museums large and small are reliant on the contribution volunteers make to ensure the smooth and successful running of their organisation. We are very grateful to the Marsh Christian Trust for recognising this work and inaugurating this award".

The winners each received a cash prize of £500, donated by the Marsh Christian Trust. The overall winner received an additional £2,000.

The winners were:

North West: Lawrence Turner, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston

North East: Pat Wright and Ron Blackburn, Beamish Museum, Co. Durham

Midlands: Rutambhara Joshi, Thinktank Planetarium, Birmingham

Yorkshire: Elizabeth Stainforth, Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds

South West: Volunteer team, Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life

Wales: John Hughes, Sir Henry Jones Museum, Llangernyw, Conwy

East of England: The Young Thetford Treasure Volunteers, Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life

London: Mary Maidment, Tate

South East: Tony Gillman and team, The Museum of the History of Science, Oxford

National Winner: Rutambhara Joshi, Thinktank Planetarium, Birmingham

For further information about the Marsh Award, please contact the British Museum Press Office on 020 7323 8394/8583 or

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery offers a full programme of creative activities for adults and families, especially as part of its Burton Saturdays. Full event details can be found on the gallery website:

The Gallery is open Mon-Sat, 10-5pm and admission is free.

Image Contact:
Zsuzsanna Reed Papp, Marketing and Events Assistant
t:0113 343 2777 e:

Exhibition Curator:
Layla Bloom, Curator
t: 0113 343 2777 e: m: 0772835 0054

10.00 - 17.00, Mon-Saturday
Admission: FREE

Venue Information:
The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, Parkinson Building, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT
Tel: +44 (0)113 3432778
Fax: +44 (0)113 3435561

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery is an accredited art museum at the heart of the University of Leeds campus, refurbished in 2008 with funds from the Audrey & Stanley Burton Charitable Trust. The Gallery offers both a programme of temporary exhibitions and a display of selected treasures from the University Art Collection in its main gallery. An Education Room houses the University's collection of drawings and works on paper, while also offering space for private study, research and teaching. 

Accumulated over more than a hundred years, the Collection consists mainly of European, principally British paintings, drawings and prints, dating from the 17th century up to the present day, with small collections of sculpture, ceramics, and photographs. Outstanding elements are the Sadler Gift of early 20th-century British art, the collections of drawings and paintings by artists of the Camden Town and Bloomsbury groups and their contemporaries, and works by former Gregory Fellows in Painting and Sculpture, and the recent gift of works from the late Stanley & Audrey Burton's personal collection of 20th-century British art.

For further information:

Please contact the University of Leeds Press Office on +44 (0)113 343 4031 or email