Youth Panel (14-18yrs old only)

Youth Panel 

Please note that the next intake will start in April 2024 and the focus of the project will differ from the project described below.


Current project: Film making Project Volunteer


The Museum of English Rural Life and Reading Museum

Role Description

Why we want you:

We are looking for young people interested in filmmaking, social media, communications and the environment to co-create up to six short form videos with a resident filmmaker using our collections and archives.

What you will be doing: 

You will be inspired by a professional filmmaker who will guide you in how to make a short video inspired by environmental sustainability and climate change.

The Our Green Stories campaign is coming to life through the collections of both The Museum of English Rural Life and Reading Museum. 

This includes objects, photographs, artworks, and ephemera relating to landscape; environment; food; fishing; safeguarding tradition; migration and population change; health and wellbeing; climate; and the post-colonial world.

Your participation in this project will enable audiences to engage with and feel empowered to make a difference to understanding actions that support the Life on Land UN Sustainable Development Goal.

This role will suit you if you are:

  • Interested in filmmaking, social media, communications and the environment
  • Developing skills and knowledge in any of the above areas
  • An enthusiastic and effective communicator
  • Committed to being a change-maker within Reading’s culture and heritage sector by helping to ensure our museums and programmes are relevant to younger visitors 

What you will gain in return  

  • gain behind-the-scenes museum experience working with museum and creative industry professionals
  • learn transferable skills 
  • participate in a fantastic project for your CV, UCAS or job application 
  • meet new people 
  • practice team work skills

How much time will it take up? 

The final meeting schedule is as planned.

There are the standard monthly panel meetings where as a Youth Panel, you will be acting in a producer role. There are also additional dates for filming for those who can make it. 

  • Thursday 21st December (4.30 - 6 pm) The MERL Studio
  • Saturday 6th January (10.30 - 12.00) Reading Farmers Market, Great Knollys Street
  • Thursday 18th January (4.30 - 6 pm) The MERL Studio
  • Thursday 15th February (daytime half term 12.00 - 4.30) The MERL Studio
  • Thursday 15th February (4.30 - 6pm) The MERL Studio
  • Thursday 21st March (4.30 - 6 pm) The MERL Studio

Joining this project will involve attending in person activity, usually at The MERL, attending planning sessions and practical sessions delivered by our professional filmmaker.

You do not have to attend all meetings.

If you choose, you may contribute some of your time from home if you want to work on your film using your own equipment.

There will be a final sharing of co-created films including a screening.

To apply

Please complete your volunteer registration form on our volunteering platform .

*Please ensure you tick ‘Youth Panel - Film maker’ in your ‘Interests’ section under My profile, when registering.  

If you are using a mobile or tablet, once you click ‘Fill in an Application’, look out for the suggestion ‘It looks like you are on a mobile device. For a better experience on smart phones, go to Mobile Application Form’ and click on the link it suggests. 

When you are happy with your application, please don’t forget to click SUBMIT – otherwise we will never receive your form! 

We sometimes find that more volunteers apply for the role than we have vacancies. You are welcome to attach your CV if you wish, but please include key relevant  

information when answering the application form questions, as this may be used if we need to shortlist from a larger group of applicants.  

Existing volunteers - If you are already registered to volunteer with Museums Partnership Reading, please log in to the volunteering platform, click on My Profile, select the ‘Interests’ section, and ensure you tick the box next to ‘Youth Panel - Film maker’.

Matching to the role

If we think you are a match for this role, we will confirm your place on the Youth Panel and invite you to sign up for the meetings that you can attend, and we will send you details about the location of the meeting and the agenda each month.

Further Information about the Museums Partnership Reading Youth Panel

We love to hear regularly from our younger supporters to make sure that we are offering exhibitions and experiences that are of interest across the generations.

Our Youth Panel, for young people aged 14 – 18, offers collective work experience opportunities across The MERL and Reading Museum as part of Museums Partnership Reading’s youth programme. We meet monthly to work on a variety of exciting projects which are great for developing a range of transferable skills. Our panel members influence current projects and programming and are change-makers within Reading’s culture and heritage sector. 

Inspired by the conversations we have had with Youth Panel members during the Youth Manifesto project, we listened to feedback about the need for the museums to offer age-appropriate activities and something different for teenage audiences and offered an increased number of workshops as part of our public and learning programmes.

Recent and Past Youth Panel Projects include: 

  • 'Reading Festival is Rubbish' - exploring objects recovered from the 2021 festival to create a pop-up display and/or interactive experience in the museum. Panel members worked alongside learning and collections colleagues to consider the different approaches that can be taken in the interpretation and display of museum collections, and how they can use these approaches to convey messages and stories about the objects collected from the festival 
  • The ‘Digital Dig’ with the Royal Horticultural Society
  • Participating in the Youth Manifesto Project, exploring how the museums in Reading can be inspiring and engaging for and relevant to the young people of Reading. 
  • Working as curators for the Festival 50 exhibition project (2021). Panel members influenced the development of the exhibition marking the 1971 Reading Festival displayed at Reading Museum from August 2021. Panel members learned what is required to put on a public exhibition, researched, selected and interpreted items for display and worked with us in developing an exhibition which is appealing to the young people of Reading. 
  • Designing ‘The Nook at The MERL’, the new social learning space as part of the Our Country Lives redevelopment project. Students worked with museum staff and designers to create a new, relaxing space where students and the public are welcome to study, relax and reflect. 
  • Organising two successful Museums at Night events, the ‘1951 Vintage Night’ and ‘Chalk or Cheese?

“The Youth Panel is a small commitment for such a huge personal gain. Something I love is that the leaders of the panel and the people at the museums that we work with treat me like an adult, they value my opinion and I feel empowered to make changes that will engage youth in our local history.” (Youth Panel member)

For more information about the Youth Panel, please contact