Volunteering in a cultural organisation: an asset on the personal and professional level

La Nuit des Étudiants 2021, Saint Sébastien au donateur by Andrea Previtali.


Volunteering implies dedicating time and energy to a chosen domain or cause, be it social, political, sportive, or artistic. Since I envisage a career within a cultural institution, I have joined the organisation “Jeunes Amis du Musée Granet” in Aix-en-Provence, as part of its head and managing team. The organisation belongs to the “Fédération Française des Sociétés d’Amis de Musées”. The purpose of the association is to attract younger audiences to museum and art in order to counteract the conservative and elitist representations attached to cultural institutions. We promote pluridisciplinarity as we believe anyone can be interested in art, disrespective of their education or professional activity. Indeed, art helps to expand one’s cultural interest and knowledge. 

First, on a personal level, volunteering is mentally and emotionally rewarding since it boosts one’s self-esteem and personal growth. Studies have also proved that it reduces stress and strengthens the immune system since strong, positive emotions are developed [1]. Taking part in different cultural projects increases one’s sense of collaboration and social link but also reinforces civic responsibility and outreach. Volunteering in the artistic domain may not seem on the same level as working for an NGO, for instance, yet it contributes to society’s welfare and stimulates creativity and critical reflexion.

Then, on a professional level, volunteering develops one’s team spirit, organisation and communication skills. In my own experience, launching and engaging in cultural events has increased my self-confidence and self-assurance to speak in public. On several occasions, I gave talks based on my own interpretation of chosen artworks. I participated in the Musée Granet’s yearly leading event “La Nuit des Étudiants”, exploring the evolution of Saint Sebastien from Christian martyr to a gay icon. On the opening night of the 2023 exhibition dedicated to the British painter David Hockney, I worked on the influence of Provence in the artist’s works. Furthermore, every year, in collaboration with the Musée Granet, the “Amis du Musée Granet” and the “Jeunes Amis”, an artistic contest is organised for high school students in art, who are from Aix-en-Provence, and which allows them to present works inspired by the museum’s collection. The students’ works then have the opportunity to be exhibited within the museum for a weekend long. Thus, in June 2023, I was part of the jury alongside professionals such as the museum curator, Mr Bruno Ely. Moreover, volunteering in the cultural domain fosters contacts and can help establish oneself in a professional network. Eventually, it can lead to fruitful collaborations with diverse partners, sometimes distant from one’s original field, in order to broaden one’s perspective and gain new insights. Thanks to the organisation, I met many interesting and important people who helped me for my own research as I am currently working on museums for my M2 thesis.

Finally, as both a Master student and a member of this organisation, I’ve realised how museums, which function as vessels and transmitters of art, can be useful for research. Very often, art reflects ideologies and wields powerful symbols which shed light on our understanding of certain periods and concepts (imperialism, women’s representation, etc.) Increasingly, museums contribute to the development and influence of new “controversial” approaches like postcolonial, queer or feminist art, but also challenge their visitors with contemporary debates on postcolonialism, the restitutions of stolen art, modern slavery, etc. Then, being imbedded in artistic contexts eventually enhances one’s critical eye through the analysis of artworks which become valuable materials for one’s research.


If you wish to join us: 

Jeunes Amis du Musée Granet, part of the Amis du Musée Granet 

Place Saint Jean de Malte, 13100, Aix-en-Provence

Email: ja.museegranet@gmail.com

Instagram: @jeunesamisdumuseegranet

Website: https://www.amisdumuseegranet.fr/histoire/



[1] Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Policy Development. The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research, Washington, DC 2007.https://americorps.gov/sites/default/files/evidenceexchange/FR_2007_TheHealthBenefitsofVolunteering_1.pdf. Accessed 29 May 2023.





Citer ce billet
jsegui (2023, 12 juin). Volunteering in a cultural organisation: an asset on the personal and professional level. EN-globe. Consulté le 24 avril 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/oe7o

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