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Interim Director

About the role

This is an exciting opportunity to lead People’s History Museum (PHM) at a time of high public interest and success following its shortlisting for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022 prize.

We are looking for a skilled senior leader to guide the museum for a 12 month period during the current Director’s maternity leave, supported by a skilled Senior Leadership Team (SLT) consisting of the Head of Collections & Engagement, Head of Finance & Operations, and Head of Development.

During this interim year the successful applicant will work closely with the museum’s Chair of Trustees, Bernard Donoghue OBE, the wider Board of Trustees and the Senior Leadership Team in an exciting and rewarding leadership role at PHM.

The Interim Director will lead the final stages of the development of the 2023-2026 Business Plan and begin its implementation; working with the PHM team to develop and embed the plan across the whole organisation.  They will take a strategic approach to resource planning to deliver the new Business Plan following the outcome of the funding settlements PHM will receive for the next three years from the museum’s two major funders: Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Arts Council England (ACE).

The role would be ideal for someone with experience in change management, as the Interim Director will also work with the museum Trustees and SLT to implement some of the outcomes of a recent organisational review; leading a programme of change to strengthen the museum for the future and develop the staff team.

You will be confident in managing and developing strategic relationships, working to raise the profile of PHM’s impact for audiences and communities and securing vital resources to safeguard the future of the museum.  You will need to be agile and responsive to lead the organisation against the challenging backdrop of the cost of living crisis and energy price increase.

We are advertising this as a salaried post but are also open to hearing from anyone who would like to undertake this as a secondment opportunity from a current role or on a freelance basis.

We recognise the museum currently underrepresents people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people and those with intersecting identities in our workforce; PHM is actively working to address this and encourages applications from these backgrounds.

About People's History Museum (PHM)

People’s History Museum is the national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in

Britain: past, present, and future.  The museum provides opportunities for all people to learn about, be inspired by and get involved in ideas worth fighting for; ideas such as equality, social justice, co-operation, and a fair world for all.

PHM currently welcomes a local, national and international audience, attracting 125,000 visitors annually (pre-covid), as well as reaching people online through digital activities.  The museum involves audiences and communities in all aspects of its work, using models of co-curation, collaboration and crowd-sourcing when developing and delivering programmes of activity.  Engaging people directly in the work of the museum helps to build a passionate and committed audience who become supporters and advocates for PHM, while ensuring we are shaping authentic content representative of diverse audiences, providing an inclusive space for their voices, stories and ideas.  Over the next few years PHM’s innovative programme-led approach will explore important subjects and issues relevant to us all today, including disabled people’s rights and activism, and climate action.

PHM has an annual turnover of around £1.5 million, employs 36 members of staff and has a team of freelance staff and volunteers.  PHM is funded by Arts Council England (ACE) as a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) and by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Culture and Social Impact Fund.  PHM is an independent museum, charitable trust and company limited by guarantee, with a Board of Trustees, a Trading Company Board, and an Audit and Risk Committee.

In May 2022, PHM was shortlisted for the Art Fund Museum of the Year prize.  Key to this shortlisting was the museum’s programme exploring migration, co-created by a Community Programme Team made up of people whose lives have been shaped by it, and the museum’s work to actively campaign for social and political change.  This included working with Together With Refugees to campaign against the Nationality and Borders Bill and joining 350 organisations to oppose the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill.

Staff structure

PHM Staff Structure Aug 2022

Job description

Salary: £44,624 (& pension contribution to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund)

Hours: Full time (35 hours a week) with flexible working and consideration of part time hours or taking the role on a freelance or secondment basis

Annual leave: 24 days plus bank holidays

Contract: 12 month contract (maternity cover)

Responsible to: Chair of Trustees

Responsible for: Head of Collections & Engagement, Head of Development, Head of Finance & Operations, Executive Support Officer

Location: Based at People’s History Museum with the opportunity for agile working in line with PHM’s flexible working policy

Key responsibilities

  • To lead PHM as Interim Director for a period of 12 months, working closely with the Senior Leadership Team and the wider museum team
  • To work closely with the Chair and Board of Trustees to engage the Trustees in all aspects of the museum’s work, with a focus on organisational change, fundraising and advocacy
  • To complete the development and implementation of a new Business Plan for the museum for 2023-2026
  • To take a strategic approach to planning PHM’s resources (including financial, building and staffing) for the 2023-2024 financial year
  • To deliver key recommendations and actions from a recent organisational review to strengthen the museum for the future; leading cultural change to develop a thriving and supportive workforce culture
  • To manage and develop PHM’s strategic relationships; representing PHM externally with stakeholders including Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Arts Council England and Manchester City Council
  • To raise the profile of PHM and its social impact across the cultural sector, city region and with key stakeholder groups

Experience, knowledge and skills

  • Experience of a senior leadership role in a museum, heritage organisation, charity or similar organisation
  • Experience of applying to, reporting and managing relationships with major funders and strategic stakeholders including politicians, community leaders and corporate contacts
  • Ability to lead the development, embedding and delivery of strategy
  • Experience of developing and delivering against organisational plans and targets
  • Experience and skills in change management
  • Strong people management skills, with ability to inspire and lead change and support staff wellbeing
  • Experience of charity governance including reporting to a Board of Trustees and engaging Trustees in key pieces of work
  • Experience of managing and mitigating strategic risks
  • Strong understanding of the challenges and opportunities for cultural organisations in the current financial and political climate
  • Confident decision maker
  • Proven and demonstrable commitment to inclusivity and relevance

How to apply

Please send your CV and cover letter to Charlie Corkin, Executive Support Officer at

Please outline in your cover letter how your experience, skills and knowledge meet the job description and provide details of whether you would be interested in the role as a salaried post (full time or part time), on a freelance basis, or as a secondment.  Your CV and cover letter will be assessed and scored against the job description using the information provided.

Deadline for applications: 5.00pm on Thursday 15 September 2022

Interviews: Thursday 29 September 2022, in person at PHM

If you have any questions about the role or would like to arrange to discuss the role with PHM’s Director, Katy Ashton, please contact Charlie Corkin at


PHM prides itself on being a welcoming and inclusive organisation, profoundly committed to advancing equality and diversity in the broadest sense.  We highly value the benefits that diverse perspectives bring to PHM’s mission.

We recognise the museum currently underrepresents people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people and those with intersecting identities in our workforce; PHM is actively working to address this and encourages applications from these backgrounds.  While the successful candidate will be selected purely on merit, in the event of a tie between two candidates with equal experience, we may select a candidate who helps us better represent the communities the museum serves.

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