Content Manager - Elizabethan House Interpretation Project

Aug 16, 2018

An exciting opportunity to join the Destination Plymouth team!

Content Manager - Elizabethan House Interpretation Project (extended deadline to 19 September 2018)

Job title:                              Content Manager: Elizabethan House Project

Organisation:                      Destination Plymouth

Salary:                                 £32,233 to £36,153 per year

Contract type:                     Fulltime

Reports to:                          Head of Heritage, Arts and Film

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.


Job Description       

Job title:                                Content Manager: Elizabethan House Project

Organisation:                      Destination Plymouth

Salary:                                   £32,233 to £36,153 per year

Contract type:                     Fulltime

Reports to:                          Head of Heritage, Arts and Film

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.


Primary purpose of role:

  • To lead, manage and deliver the content development and interpretation of the Elizabethan House that will widen engagement, learning and enjoyment for all audiences, including hard-to-reach and non-traditional audiences. 


  • To lead and manage the Elizabethan House re-interpretation project including the exhibition design contract, the required outputs for the Heritage Lottery Fund (e.g. interpretation plan and activity plan), staff and volunteers as required and associated budgets


Key accountabilities and Key measures:

Role outcomes

  • Outline themes and storylines supported by research, which provide a coherent visitor experience in line with the interpretation policy and objectives (15%)
  • Research and evaluation of different interpretation methods and community research projects and production of a report with recommendations (5%)
  • Draft, circulate and agree a RIBA Stage 3 Interpretation Report within agreed timescales ready for HLF Stage 2 submission, with costs and a delivery phase timetable (15%)
  • Develop a consultation programme with the Activity Planners that identifies barriers to participation for particular audiences, preferred interpretation methods and themes (15%)
  • Contribute to and manage the Exhibition Designers to ensure that their RIBA Stage 3 designs meet the Interpretation Policy and objectives (15%)
  • Budgetary control: HLF Activity Plan, Action Plan budget, complete HLF claim forms. Contract management of Exhibition Designer (Circa £320,000 contract) (10%)
  • Work with the Project Manager to identify and manage the interfaces between the exhibition design needs and the building restoration solutions (10%)
  • Continue to develop and deliver the Interpretation Plan through RIBA Stages 4 – 6 (10%)
  • Prepare promotional and marketing collateral (5%)

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 development of an immersive visitor experience which meets project aims and outcomes
  • Close working relationship with the Exhibition Designer leading to imaginative co-design
  • Line management and overview of the work of the Learning & Development Officer (communities and informal learning) and freelance Learning Developer to ensure that outcomes are met and community research team is directed and supported
  • Successful recruitment & deployment of freelance Learning Developer
  • Recruitment, training and supervision of volunteer front f house interpreters working closely with the Box Management Team.

Interpretation and Exhibition Design

  • Review existing research on the history of the Elizabethan House. Gather evidence in respect of ‘lessons learned’ from comparable projects: this may include site visits, telephone interviews and desk research. Prepare report including recommendations (15%)
  • Work with the Evaluation Consultants and the Activity Planners to agree the Consultation Plan and Evaluation Framework. Obtain sign off by HLF case officer. Overview of consultation and collection of base-line data (10%)
  • Plan and deliver consultation events with Beta-testing teams (10%)
  • Lead on the development of a digital panel which will test digital interpretation methods, and organise a digital workshop to take place in agreed timescales (5%)
  • Draft, circulate and deliver final Interpretation Report within agreed timescales (10%)
  • Implement interpretation plan including further development and delivery (10%)


Manage Consultants

  • Manage the contract with the consultant Exhibition Designer (value circa £320,000) from inception to completion including liaison with the capital design team. Undertake snagging on completion of the exhibition installation. (25%)
  • Appoint and manage a freelance Learning Developer to research, test and post HLF Round 2 deliver a Formal Learning Programme of events and activities to meet the HLF learning and participation outcomes as prescribed in the HLF Activity Plan, Action Plan. Ensure work is completed through close liaison with The Box Learning team (10%)
  • Identify and recruit one or more historians to act as Research Mentors with responsibility for guiding the volunteer Community Research team, and fact checking key findings before inclusion into interpretation content narrative (5%)Volunteering
  • Work with the Box volunteer officer to recruit, train and deploy volunteers where required for the Elizabethan House Interpretation Project (10%)
  • Work with the Box volunteer officer to develop volunteer plan for the Elizabethan House Interpretation Plan (5%)
  • To be responsible for all volunteer management, including administration, meetings, reports, evaluation, recruitment and training (5%)



Carry out other duties appropriate to the grade of the post





Person Specifications



Essential qualifications/ knowledge

§  Degree or equivalent in a relevant subject

§  Demonstrable understanding of audiences and their different needs

§  Demonstrable knowledge and understanding of different methods of interpretation

§  Demonstrable knowledge of and enthusiasm for community engagement

§  Substantial knowledge of project management and contract management principles, particularly within a cultural project context

Desirable qualifications/ knowledge

§  Relevant post graduate qualification

§  Knowledge of digital interpretation methods

Essential experience

§  Demonstrable experience of producing a range of visitor experiences e.g. exhibitions, gallery redevelopments and/or theatrical productions

§  Extensive experience of managing staff and volunteers

§  Extensive experience of working with a broad range of audience, communities and other stakeholders at all levels

§  Demonstrable experience of innovative use of learning-based interpretative methods including creative learning-based resources to align with heritage learning outcomes

§  Experience of working with mixed teams of staff, freelancers, volunteers and contractors

§  Experience of project development and project management techniques

Desirable experience

§  Experience of managing risks, issues and opportunities and mitigating those risks.

Essential skills

§  Developed interpersonal skills to work collaboratively with (for example) museum staff, external professionals, partner organisations, press and media

§  Display customer care skills for all ‘customer-facing’ activity

§  Problem solving skills when developing and delivering project activities, event planning and project management

§  Developed verbal and written communications skills to design and deliver project activities

§  Enthusiasm for the widest possible public engagement, including volunteer-led programmes, within a heritage setting

§  Keyboarding skills required to produce letters, send and receive e-mails and report write as necessary

§  Demonstrate self-motivation and ability to work on own and under pressure

§  A can-do attitude, with the ability to find solutions to problems



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


Post:   Sandra Pentney

            Destination Plymouth Ltd.

            c/o 2nd Floor, Ballard House,

            Plymouth City Council

            West Hoe Road



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 or Nicola Moyle at

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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