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Nothing About Us Without Us – Community Curator opportunities

£100 per day (seven hours)
Contract For one year: June 2021 to June 2022

Download an easier to read version of this opportunity.

Background

People’s History Museum (PHM) 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.

In 2022 to 2023, PHM will explore the theme of disabled people’s rights and activism through a co-curated exhibition and accompanying programme of events.

  • Are you a disabled person interested in history and heritage?
  • Are you passionate about working with others to tell the story of the fight for disabled people’s rights and the diversity of disabled people and communities involved?
  • Do you want to develop your skills in exhibition research and development?

 

If you’ve answered a resounding YES then we want to hear from you!

We’re on the lookout for three Community Curators to create, research, and shape the museum’s headline exhibition for 2022 to 2023.

This opportunity is supported by The Granada Foundation.

The project – Nothing About Us Without Us

Behind the scenes, museum staff will be working with disabled people to make the organisation and its public programme more accessible to everyone.

This will include anyone who identifies as a disabled person, such as (but not exclusively) deaf, autistic, neurodiverse, and/or learning disabled people; people with first hand lived experience of mental illness, chronic illness and fatigue, survivors of mental distress, and/or mental health service users; movements, communities and individuals.

As part of the Nothing About Us Without Us programme, PHM will be working with disabled people to explore the museum’s collection and review how the history of disabled people has been documented, interpreted and communicated.

This programme of activity is guided by a steering group of disabled people, some of whom represent disabled people’s organisations alongside non-disabled allies.

The programme will involve a major exhibition running from May 2022 to May 2023.

We want to ensure that this exhibition is created by and represents disabled people.

To find out more about PHM’s ethos please read the PHM Story.

What is involved?

  • You will be involved from the very start, working both independently and as part of a small team to shape the themes of the exhibition, choose objects and write text
  • You will share creative control with the museum team and the Nothing About Us Without Us steering group in deciding the exhibition’s themes, content and material displayed
  • You will consult with the steering group, community groups, and individuals to ensure that the exhibition is inclusive and representative
  • You will receive full training and support and will meet and learn from activists, historians, and curators
  • You don’t need any prior experience, just bags of enthusiasm and being willing and able to commit to seven hours per week for the whole project duration

 

What will the process include?

It looks like a lot, but there will be a team of three Community Curators working on this, with PHM staff support, so you won’t be doing everything:

  • Research into disabled people’s stories in both PHM’s collection and other partner organisations’ collections, such as Archives+ and Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP)
  • Research and information gathering, both digital and physical, including note taking and capturing stories – using many methods for initial research, such as different interview styles and questionnaire formats, audio capture and mind mapping
  • Finding themes within the research, telling stories that people won’t have heard.  It may end up being a different story to that which the curator expected to find
  • Reporting; feeding back to PHM and the steering group the main ideas and findings from your research
  • There is also opportunity to explore and be involved in all aspects of exhibition design, production and installation
  • Attending events e.g. UK Disability History Month events, and talking about the project
  • Writing content about the project to be published on PHM’s online channels
  • Promoting PHM’s programme of activity within your own networks and communities
  • Feeding into the evaluation of the project

 

This role will involve a commitment of seven hours per week between June 2021 and June 2022.  This will include a combination of meetings and independent research and planning.

Members may want to volunteer more time in between meetings or attend additional training.  After the project duration period, the group are invited to continue meeting to evaluate the project and decide what happens next.

To begin with, meetings will take place on the first and third Tuesday of each month from 1.00pm to 3.00pm.  This is open to change depending on the preference of the attendees.

The majority of meetings and training will take place either remotely, or restrictions and individual circumstances permitting, at People’s History Museum in Manchester.  However there will be opportunities to research national collections which may involve some travel.

We are looking for disabled people who have any of these skills and/or experience
(you don’t need to have all of them to apply!):

  • Personal experience as a disabled person, such as (but not exclusively) deaf, autistic, neurodiverse, and/or learning disabled people; people with first hand lived experience of mental illness, chronic illness and fatigue, survivors of mental distress, and/or mental health service users
  • An understanding of the history of disabled people’s movements
  • Knowledge of the social model of disability
  • Connections to disabled people’s movements, community groups and networks
  • Enthusiasm for bringing people and communities together
  • Current knowledge of legislation that affects disabled people
  • Creativity
  • Experience in decision making
  • Research skills
  • Experience of community engagement
  • Digital skills

 

What we can provide in return for your commitment:

  • Where a member of the group has access requirements every effort will be made to supply all necessary aids, support, adaptations or equipment to allow you to participate fully in all aspects of this opportunity
  • Opportunities to meet new people and take part in new experiences
  • Access to archives and object collections at PHM
  • Full support during the whole process; if you have any questions we’re at the end of the phone / email
  • Office space at PHM on a hot desk basis
  • Access to spaces for meetings and events
  • Access to equipment and tools
  • 10% discount in the museum shop and cafe

 

As well as reimbursing you for your expenses, we are committed to acknowledging the time, skills and expertise that you will be sharing with the museum.

This is a freelance role paid at £100 per day that is eligible for Access to Work but can be done in a voluntary capacity if preferable for your circumstances, or if you would like to do it as part of your employer’s Corporate Social Responsibility.

The museum will also offer a range of training and opportunities tailored to your personal interests and ambitions.

If you think PHM can offer you something else that is not listed above, please let us know when you get in touch.

How to get involved

As there are limited spaces available within this opportunity, we want to get to know you a bit better and put together a small team with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

To express an interest in this opportunity please send a short email, video message, or sound recording to Michael Powell, PHM Programme Officer on michael.powell@phm.org.uk and tell us a bit about yourself by answering the following questions:

  • Why are you interested in this role at PHM?
  • What skills and/or knowledge will you contribute to the group?
  • Which skills and/or experiences would you like to develop during the project?

 

If you are unable to send an email, video message, or sound recording you can call the museum on 0161 838 9190 and ask to speak with a member of the Programme Team.

You can also send the above information by post to:

Michael Powell
Programme Officer
People’s History Museum
Left Bank
Spinningfields
Manchester M3 3ER

The deadline for expressing an interest in this role is 5.00pm on Monday 10 May 2021.

An informal interview will take place on Thursday 20 May 2021.

The informal interview will involve the chance to find out more about the museum and an opportunity to meet members of the steering group as well as others interested in the Community Curators opportunity.  Please let us know when you get in touch if you are unavailable on this date.

If you are invited to be a Community Curator you will be asked to provide the details of someone who has known you for more than three years who can provide a reference for you.

Following this, the role will begin on Tuesday 1 June 2021.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss this opportunity further, please contact Michael Powell, PHM Programme Officer by email at michael.powell@phm.org.uk.

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