Engagement Officer - Elizabethan House Interpretation Project

By Abigail Netcott

Aug 15, 2018

An exciting opportunity to join the Destination Plymouth team.

Engagement Officer - Elizabethan House Interpretation Project (extended application deadline to 19 September 2018)

Job title:                              Engagement Officer: Elizabethan House Interpretation Project

Organisation:                      Destination Plymouth

Salary:                                 £25,463 to £28,221 per year

Contract type:                     Fulltime

Reports to:                          Content Manager

This post is a fixed term contract initially to end of August 2019 and extending to end December 2020 subject to a successful HLF Stage 2 grant application.

Elizabethan House

Plymouth’s Elizabethan House is a city treasure at the heart of the community for over 400 years. It is a rare survivor, enduring slum clearances in the 20’s and later the Plymouth Blitz.

A stage 1 Heritage Lottery fund application has been successful and we are now looking to appoint a full time Content Manager and two part time Community Learning Officers to work with the project team to develop initial proposals to transform the house, leading visitors through an immersive experience of visuals, sounds and smells, encountering former occupants from Elizabethan John Sparke to Nancy Astor MP who campaigned for its preservation from demolition in the 1920s. Using the house as a constant through time we plan to engage audiences through an overlaying programme of events demonstrating how emigration, exploration and overcrowding are relevant today. Community research programmes will use archives and oral histories to shape storylines that place the house in the wider context of street, city and world events, notably early English attempts to colonise America. A sustainable business plan will underpin the house connecting it to The Box and new heritage trails across the city.

The work builds upon a programme of restoration of the historic fabric and the house is due to open to the public in 2020 in time for the city’s Mayflower 400 commemorations.

Introduction to Plymouth and Mayflower400

Plymouth holds a very special place in history. It is the place where Sir Francis Drake played bowls before defeating the Spanish Armada; the point of emigration for the Mayflower, its Pilgrims and countless others setting sail for America; where Darwin set sail on the Beagle and birthplace of Scott the polar explorer. It is the city of discovery.

We have been home to the Royal Navy since 1691 and the naval base at Devonport is the largest in Western Europe. We are incredibly proud of our rich maritime heritage, but Plymouth is not a city that lives in the past and today our lively port on the edge of the Atlantic has a distinctly European feel. This comes from our marinas, restaurants, galleries, seafront bars and historic buildings, and from the strong modernist architecture that lines Armada Way, the city’s central boulevard.

Of course we’ve also got an impressive natural setting. From Plymouth Hoe the sight of boats, yachts and naval vessels on Plymouth Sound is truly inspiring. The views to the south across Plymouth’s natural harbour to the Atlantic Ocean beyond, and then northwards to Dartmoor, make you want to follow all the vantage points along the Waterfront or even get out on the water for a whole new perspective. Young people from across the world come to study and work in Plymouth giving the city a contemporary urban buzz, whilst reinforcing Plymouth’s reputation as a global marine city.

To round it off we are the regional capital for culture – with events, internationally recognised theatres, galleries and performing arts providing a great cultural experience to add to the laid-back lifestyle. Plymouth boasts one of the best summer events programmes in the UK. Including hosting Armed Forces Day, Flavourfest, the Rolex Fastnet race, the British Firework Championships, and our annual celebration of Plymouth’s link to the sea the Ocean City Festival and Seafood Festival

Add to this a reputation for outstanding food and drink – chefs such as Marco Pierre White,, Chris and James Tanner and Mitch Tonks all making Plymouth home to their restaurants – and you have a city destination like no other.

Whether you want to be inspired by history, immerse yourself in culture, feast on fantastic food and drink or simply chill out and watch the world go by, you will discover the Plymouth for you.

Mayflower 400 – Commemorating 400 years of a ‘special relationship’

In 2020 the city of Plymouth will commemorate and celebrate the 400 year anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower. The Mayflower left Plymouth, England on September 16th 1620* with just 102 passengers and crew on board. It arrived some 66 days later, on November 11th 1620*, in Cape Cod on the US East Coast. The Mayflower sailing is celebrated by many in the US as the beginning of a national legacy, and in the UK as the beginning of one of the most enduring alliances the world has ever known. No other date so embodies the centuries of shared cultural values and traditions that lie behind the “Special Relationship” that has seen these two nations stand shoulder to shoulder through two world wars and the recent and current conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere.

It is easy to underestimate the resonance that Plymouth UK and the Mayflower has within the US. Without that sailing, many argue, the US the world knows today, its legal and constitutional basis, the central tenets of its organisation and its core values and ethos would have been very different, drawn historically as much of it is from the British, European and Puritan roots that arrived with the Mayflower. Despite the subsequent waves of migration and immigration to and from the US, even with the diversity and complexity of modern day American society, the spirit of the Mayflower journey and the story of modern America endures. It is symbolised nation-wide through the unifying celebration of Thanksgiving, the roots of which lie in that “First Thanksgiving” celebrated by 53 Pilgrims and 90 American Indians, after their first harvest in 1621. Every school child in the United States learns about and knows the story of the Sailing of the Mayflower. It has a resonance and deep-rooted symbolism that many in the UK frequently underestimate.

In recognition of the importance of this momentous anniversary to both sides of the Atlantic, the City of Plymouth UK has already begun to plan for 2020. Civic Leaders and Stakeholders from commerce, industry, the arts and culture across the City have to come together to begin to plan a year long cultural programme culminating in the 2020 anniversary celebrations.

* Gregorian calendar, original dates were Julian calendar.

Overview

Primary purpose of role:

  • To research, develop and deliver innovative learning and engagement programmes for a range of audiences, community and formal educational organisations as part of the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project
  • To work with practitioners, artists, volunteers and a range of community groups to co-devise, develop and deliver participatory projects as part of the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project

 

Key accountabilities and Key measures:

Role outcomes

  • To research, develop and deliver learning and engagement opportunities and programmes using the Box collections, galleries, artists and historical buildings for the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project (25%)
  • To undertake and be responsible for specific projects, associated budgets and staff as appropriate in connection with the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project (15%)
  • To develop working relationships and partnerships with a range of cultural and educational organisations (including schools, FE and HE institutions), agencies and the community and voluntary sector that will support the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project (10%)
  • Undertake evaluation and consultation of the learning and engagement programmes to provide evidence and content of HLF outcomes (25%)
  • Learning and enjoyment outcomes met by audience engagement activities (10%)
  • Ensure the safety and well-being of participating groups (5%)
  • Provide performance data and progress reports as appropriate (10%) Role measures
  •  
  • Close working arrangement with HLF funded Activity Plan consultants who carry responsibility for successful delivery of a Project Activity Plan & Interpretation plan, on time and on budget
  • Successful recruitment & deployment of Community Research Team and delivery of work plan for input into exhibition content
  • Successful recruitment & deployment of Research Mentor, leading to historically correct exhibition content
  • Engagement with local communities [including harder to reach] through audio-diary ‘drop-in’ sessions
  • Successful recruitment & deployment of Beta-testing teams
  • Contribution to the successful development and delivery of an Activity Programme aimed at wide ranging audiences
  • Successful delivery of the HLF funded Activity Plan, Action Plan within time scale and on budgetKey activities
  •  
  • Work with the Content Manager and HLF-funded Activity Planners to test, develop and deliver the Project Activity Plan:
  • Research, develop and deliver innovate and creative learning and engagement activities for targeted audience groups for the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project within the wider learning and engagement programme for the Box (25%)
  • Undertake suitable consultation and evaluation methodologies to assess impact of the learning and engagement objectives of the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project including the recruitment and deployment of Beta-testing teams: to ensure

 

 

  • Research, develop and deliver innovative and creative learning and engagement activities for targeted audience groups for the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project within the wider learning and engagement programme for the Box (2%%)
  • Undertake suitable consultation and evaluation methodologies to assess impact of the learning and engagement objectives of the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project including the recruitment and deployment of Beta-testing teams: to ensure close working with our target audiences we require a set of testing teams representing our target audience for the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project: Primary and secondary schools; families; young people and a team drawn from the digital community i.e. drawn from HE and FE students, and games designers and other ‘emerging’ digital designers (25%)
  • Work with the Content Manager and Box Volunteer Officer to recruit, train and deploy volunteer Community Research team members, who will work to a community research team brief. Facilitate all meeting of the Community Research Team (25%)
  • Develop working relationships and partnerships with a range of cultural and educational organisations (including schools, FE and HE institutions), agencies and the community and voluntary sector that will support the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project (10%)
  • Regularly provide progress reports and performance data to the Elizabethan House project board and HLF case officer (10%)
  • Ensure the safety and well-being of visiting groups during sessions (5%)
  • Carry out other duties appropriate to the grade of the post  
  •  

Person Specification

Essential qualifications/ knowledge

§  Degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject

  • Good understanding of the National Curriculum
  • Good understanding of lifelong learning, access and social inclusion policies

§  Good understanding of audiences

§  Knowledge and enthusiasm for community engagement

Desirable qualifications/ knowledge

§  Relevant post graduate qualification (or equivalent experience)

§  Knowledge of project management

§  Knowledge and experience of implementing different evaluation methods and techniques.

Essential experience

§  A thorough understanding of lifelong learning, access and social inclusions policies

§  Sound experience of working in a museum and /or heritage environment

  • Experience of designing and delivering learning and engagement programmes to a range of audiences within a cultural or museum setting
  • Demonstrable experience of innovative use of learning-based interpretative methods, including knowledge of developing creative collections-based learning resources
  • Knowledge and experience of appropriate methods and strategies for communicating effectively with a range of audiences
  • Experience of working with a range of audiences, agencies and other stakeholders at different levels
  • Experience of volunteer management

 

Desirable experience

  • Experience of project development & successful funding applications and project management techniques
  • Experience of implementing different evaluation methods and techniques

Essential skills

  • Highly developed written and verbal communications skills needed when engaging with the a range of audiences
  • Highly developed interpersonal skills to work collaboratively with internal staff and external professionals, partner organisations and other agencies
  • Good customer care skills
  • Keyboard skills, and a proficient level of skills in a range of Microsoft office software and collections-based databases
  • Planning and organisational skills for planning and developing the learning and engagement programmes whilst remaining flexible and being able to prioritise own day-to-day workload
  • Project management skills
  • Financial and commercial awareness with analytical skills and a creative approach to problem solving
  • A can-do attitude, with the ability to find solutions to problems

 

 


 

Application and Response Details

 

To apply for this post please forward your CV and covering letter to:

E-Mail: jane.macdonald@plymouth.gov.uk  

Post:   Jane MacDonald

            Destination Plymouth Ltd.

            c/o 3rd Floor, Ballard House,

            Plymouth City Council

            West Hoe Road

            Plymouth

PL1 3BJ

By no later than 19 September 2018

 

It is anticipated that interviews will be held mid to late September.

If you would like an informal discussion about this role, please contact Sandra Pentney by email at sandra.pentney@plymouth.gov.uk or Nicola Moyle at nicola.moyle@plymouth.gov.uk

During the shortlisting process we will be looking at specific criteria highlighted in the Person Specification. Please ensure that you are able to demonstrate in your CV/covering letter how you meet these criteria.

We intend to apply for references for shortlisted candidates in advance of interview. Please supply two referee’s details, one of which should be your current or most recent employer.  If you do not wish us to contact referees ahead of interview, please confirm this in your covering letter.

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