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Collections Researcher

  • Organisation:The National Archives
  • Location:London, England
  • Salary:£34,942 - £38,000
  • Contract type:Permanent / Full-Time

Job summary

This is an exciting opportunity to join The National Archives’ growing Collections Research team as one of two Collections Researchers, and play a key role in the development and delivery of our new, strategic approach to research. An exciting, varied role, the Collections Researcher will combine research development and support responsibilities, with capacity building and training, and research into The National Archives’ collections, including scoping research, horizon scanning, and development of new projects.

Collaborative working is at the heart of our approach to research; the Collections Researcher will work across departments and engage regularly with external partners from the higher education and cultural sectors to activate new, interdisciplinary insights into The National Archives’ collections, to grow our research capacity, and continue raising our profile as an excellent research organisation.

Job description

Person specification

About you:

With a record of research, research management, development, and/or facilitation, you are committed to innovative, cross-disciplinary approaches to collections. You are curious to explore new opportunities and collaborations, and actively seek to enable and support original, cutting-edge research, as well as related programming, academic engagement, and capacity-building activities. A wide-ranging knowledge of trends and debates in arts, humanities and social sciences as well as a commitment to keeping up with new scholarship will be key to the work of the Collections Researcher.

The two Collections Researchers will work together alongside the Head of Collections Research to enable collections-based research across The National Archives. They will also work to identify and shape areas of research of strategic importance to the organisation, conduct scoping and horizon scanning research, and, where appropriate, develop and deliver research projects. As such, these roles would suit candidates interested in combining research with project management activities, with good understanding of higher education and the UK research landscape.

We invite applications from anyone working in arts, humanities, and social science disciplines relevant to The National Archives collections. Applications from those with expertise in environmental humanities, histories of marginalised communities and collections, global history, and/or those with interdisciplinary expertise are encouraged. Knowledge of and willingness to engage with tools and methods of digital humanities would be an advantage.

About us:

The National Archives is the official archive of the UK Government, and for England and Wales. We make available to the public one of the largest collections in the world, containing over 12 million historical government and public records spanning over 1,000 years of British history. Among our most famous holdings are the Domesday Book, the Magna Carta, as well as William Shakespeare’s and Jane Austen’s wills, collections of medieval maps and early modern legal records, documents of British colonial administrations, and extensive records relating to British military history, to name a few best known examples. The National Archives also holds many important, if often little known and under-researched collections,, among them (in no particular order): one of the largest and most significant collections of photographs in the UK (approximately 8 million items); extensive records relating to design, architecture, arts, artists and major exhibitions; extensive holdings on marginalised communities, including materials relating to disability history and civil rights struggles; significant collections relating the history of slavery and the global pre-modern world; extensive public health and social policy records, among many others. Our research guides (https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/) offer a helpful introduction to our collections.

The National Archives is an Independent Research Organisation, a status awarded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in recognition of the significance and quality of research we develop and deliver. Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research into all aspects of our collections and activities is at the heart of what we do. We work with a range of national and international university, cultural sector, heritage and industry partners on projects engaging collections-based historical research, digital humanities and social sciences, computer science, archival and information science, as well as heritage science and conservation. We are committed to investing in research and researchers, offering innovative doctoral training, developing new partnerships, and seeking new ways to engage research-active audiences.

Within the beautiful surroundings of Kew, a 10-minute walk from Underground and Overground stations, TNA boasts a collegial working environment and the excellent Civil Service benefits package. This includes flexible working, an on-site gym, wellbeing resources and an opportunity to join the Civil Service Alpha Pension Scheme. Putting people at the forefront of our organisation, we are committed to enabling professional development and training for all our colleagues. You would be joining a friendly and passionate team who welcome new and creative approaches and are dedicated to influencing the future of archives and research.

We are committed to continually improving the diversity of our workforce and therefore encourage applications from people of colour, the LGBTQI+ community, the trans community, those who are neuro diverse, and those with a disability.

This is a full-time post. However, requests for part-time working, flexible working and job share will be considered, taking into account at all times the operational needs of The National Archives.

A combination of onsite and home working is available; applicants should be able to regularly travel to our Kew site.

How to apply:

To submit your application please click the ‘Apply now’ button on this page. You will be asked to write a personal statement and upload your CV. In your personal statement please explain, using examples, how you meet the essential criteria below. You may draw on knowledge, skills, abilities, experience gained from paid work, domestic responsibilities, education, leisure interests and voluntary activities. Please note selection for interview will largely be based on the information you provide in this section so please make full use of the 1250 word count.

Due to the nature of the role, please disregard any requests to anonymise your application.

Essential Criteria: 

  1. Postgraduate qualification, or equivalent research experience, in a discipline relevant to The National Archives’ collections.
  2. Record of developing and delivering innovative collections-based research in the academic or heritage sectors.
  3. Experience of applying for research funding.
  4. Experience of working collaboratively in or with interdisciplinary teams.
  5. Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to forge and maintain relationships with a range of internal and external stakeholders, including at senior levels.
  6. Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to publish and present to academic audiences.
  7. Project management skills, including some experience of developing and delivering academic events and/or programmes.
  8. Ability to prioritise, to work independently and without supervision in a non-routine role, exercising judgment on when to consult colleagues, and to work well as part of a busy and agile team.

Desirable Criteria: 

  1. Experience of working with archives or the broader heritage sector.
  2. Expertise in environmental humanities, histories of marginalised and/or global communities and collections, and/or interdisciplinary research is welcome.
  3. Some knowledge of and willingness to engage with tools and methods of digital humanities.

Generous benefits package, including pension, sports and social club facilities, onsite gym, discounted rates at our on-site cafe and opportunities for training and development.

Any move to The National Archives from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax-Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk;

Application Closing Date: 20 November 2022

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