Archive Public Engagement Coordinator

Deadline for applications: 22nd June 2021, 11pm
Download PDF of job description here

About MayDay Rooms:
MayDay Rooms (MDR) was established in 2013. It aims to safeguard histories and documents of radicalism and resistance by connecting them with contemporary struggle and protest, and by developing new forms of dissemination and collective self-education. Our building contains an archive of historical material linked to radical history. Alongside our material archives, we create and maintain digital archives and databases of radical history, with the hope that these traces of the past might freely be taken up and put to use in present struggles.

Our archival holdings are focused on social movements, resistance campaigns, experimental culture, and the liberation of marginalised and oppressed groups 1960s to the present: they contain everything from recent feminist poetry to techno paraphernalia, from situationist magazines to histories of industrial transformation, from educational experiments to anti-racist struggles. At the moment we are keen to develop the organisation’s diversity: not only of our staff, users, and audiences, but also of our archival collections. We are interested in using our existing archival collections as a starting point for this work. Currently we hold materials that relate to abolitionist struggles, national and internationalist liberation movements, resistance to police and border controls, working class migrant organising, and minority community and cultural projects.

MDR has existing collaborations or partnerships around some of these materials with groups such as the Institute of Race Relations, Sparrows’ Nest Archive, Abolitionist Futures, June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive, The Monitoring Project, the Newham Monitoring Project, CAIWU, Save Ridley Road Market, and it is hoped these will develop and extend to other similar organisations in the future.

As well as housing an archive, our building functions as an organising and educational space for activists, social movements, troublemakers, and radicals. We also run a full programme of events including film screenings, poetry readings, archiving workshops, historical talks, discussion and reading groups, and social nights. During the pandemic, we have been continuing much of our work online. MDR aims to be an accessible and friendly place for all oppressed groups, and is a trans* inclusive space.

About the Role:
We hope that this role will help us develop MDR into an archive that represents the marginalised and the oppressed, the dissenting and the angry, and that is truly an archive for everyone. The main responsibility of this role is to focus on making the archive a welcoming space, ‘activating’ the materials through organising events and outreach. You will work as part of a small collective within the context of a busy working building, which hosts events, meetings, other working collectives and other archives. You will be comfortable and confident working in a building whose users are diverse and may include activists, recent migrants to the UK, non-English speakers, vulnerable people, victims of violence, LGBTQI+, Black and Ethnic minority groups. You will be working in an environment which requires sensitivity, confidence and openness to new people and new situations, as well as handling potentially sensitive personal data.

We are looking for someone who is engaged in political movements, imaginative, and who will take initiative to pull our collective work in new directions. The aim of the role will be to focus especially on building diversity within the archive, both in terms of the materials we hold, and engaging people and groups with these materials. The successful candidate will possess a good knowledge of left social and political histories in the UK. You will bring ideas to our organisation about how we can connect with new audiences, both taking our work into the community and bringing communities into our building. You will be prepared to develop and manage programmes and projects for public engagement, which bring together materials of past struggles with groups who are organising in the present.

As MayDay Rooms operates with a small staff collective, it is imperative for new members to be able to work independently and collaborate with the rest of staff. At MayDay Rooms our staff collective decision-making process takes place by consensus. MDR has a Trustee board with which the staff collective meets quarterly.

This job description is a way to sketch the main responsibilities of the role but there is space to adapt it, and the new member should be willing to reshape the role in collaboration with the rest of the staff and Trustees. The main responsibilities include:

  • develop public facing activities (exhibitions. talks, workshops, presentations, education programmes) to make collections more visible and connect the histories with the present struggles;
  • develop and implement a communications plan designed to increase engagement by communities and political movements, including Black, immigrant, and minority groups;
  • network with other archives and organisations, especially groups and political movements currently underrepresented at MDR;
  • expand and enrich MDR’s existing collections relating to liberation struggles, and develop new collections from a wide range of minority and oppressed groups;
  • expand MDR’s public profile and engagements through social media, promoting events, and highlighting specific archives.

We are also happy to fund any suitable training you might want to undertake.

Person Specification

Essential criteria:

  • Commitment to libertarian left politics, movements and culture;
  • Motivated by the mission of MayDay Rooms;
  • Commitment to the creation and maintenance of a non-sectarian space; general awareness of the way the role, physical space, working practices and social relations contribute to this;
  • Experience in, and knowledge of public engagement projects (working in community engagement or with community-based organizations);
  • Experience working with Black, immigrant, and/or minority groups;
  • Knowledge and experience of UK radical politics and specifically anti-racist struggles;
  • Experience of building relationships between organisations;
  • Collectively minded, able to take initiative and comfortable in being public facing towards a broad range of people and communities;
  • Experience of, or good understanding of, what is meant by collective working.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Previous experience in working in libraries, museums and/or archives;
  • Experience in developing organisational diversity;
  • Ability to learn a range of position-related software applications.

How to Apply

Please send your CV and responses to the questions below to in-formation@maydayrooms.org. If you don’t feel comfortable sending a CV, please offer a summary of your experience in another format. What we mainly want to know about is all of your relevant experience in engaging the public and community, and building relationships between organisations, which may include political organising, cultural work, activism, and anything else you might think relates to the role.

We encourage applications from BAME/PoC and/or LGBTQI+ candidates.

Please reply to the following questions. The answers will form part of the interview process, which will include discussion of your written answers. Please write no more than 1000 words in total.

1. What experience do you have engaging diverse audiences?

2. Describe a public event that you would like to develop using one or more of MayDay Rooms’ archival collections (https://maydayrooms.org/archives/collections/), responding to the current political moment, including a description of the intended audience, how they will be engaged and how the event would be publicised?

3. What are your views and/or experiences of working collectively?

Please fill out and return along with your application our Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form.
Download here.

Terms and Conditions

21 hours per week paid at £15.80 per hour. This is a fixed term contract of 12 months with the potential for extension. There is a probationary period of three months. 28 day holiday (pro rata)

Hours are fixed but how they are carried out is flexible, in agreement with other staff members. You will be expected to attend occasional evening and weekend meetings and events, for which TOIL is available. Presently all staff are working from home, but once safe working conditions can be facilitated you will be working from our offices at 88 Fleet Street, EC4Y 1DH.

We aim to shortlist applicants by 3rd July and interview the week starting 19th July.

Please be aware that there is no step-free access in the building.

The building is on four floors and there is no lift, so there is very limited disability/step-free access. We’re in the process of carrying out an access audit of the building but this will hopefully be complete by the end of 2021.