Visual Collections Researcher

The National Archives

Closing date: 21 Mar 2019

Reference number





Higher Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

Public Engagement - Collections Expertise & Engagement

Type of role


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share



Number of posts



Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU

About the job

Job description

About us:
The Collections Expertise and Engagement (CEE) department of The National Archives provides both expert knowledge of the records of The National Archives and advice on how to access and interpret them to a diverse audience of the public, academia and wider government.

The National Archives has records of almost three million designs covering the period 1839-1991. They include textiles, glasswork, metalwork, ceramics, furniture, wallpaper and other decorative arts and manufactured objects. These records are in the form of drawings, paintings and photographs as well as many thousands of textile and wallpaper samples by people such as William Morris and Christopher Dresser.

We also have a huge collection of photographs, sketches, paintings and trademarks. There are sketches and illustrations in Colonial Office records and First World War regimental diaries; as well as commissioned paintings and other art works used for propaganda and advertising campaigns.

Photographs appear in files relating to war, crime, surveillance and Britain’s presence around the world, but we also hold many hundreds of thousands of photographs that were registered for copyright protection, including around 1,000 images by Eadweard Muybridge.

The Visual Collections team has specialist knowledge of this under-researched area of our collection and is working to raise awareness of its potential for research, commercial opportunities and public engagement.

About the role:
As a researcher you will be supporting The National Archives’ priorities to grow our audiences by connecting with new and existing users and changing the way people think about archives.
You will
• carry out research into our visual collections (design, photographs, art and maps) to become expert in these areas
• work actively with our Publishing and Licensing team to identify opportunities for commercial exploitation of the hidden gems in our collection
• work closely with our public engagement teams to ensure visual materials are represented in our programme of events and exhibitions

You will also help to staff our public advice service, delivering research advice to the public through different channels such as online chat, email and in person.

About you:
You will have an interest in and knowledge of photographs, art work, design and/or maps; ideally with some understanding of archival collections of this kind of visual material.

You will have experience of using photographs, art work, design and/or maps to
• find and develop commercial proposals
• find and develop ways to engage audiences

You will be happy to work in a small team in the Collections, Expertise and Engagement department and also to build relationships with other teams across the organisation.

You will be confident in your own expertise and able to lead on relevant projects or initiatives, but also keen to learn from and collaborate with colleagues.

You will understand what makes a good visitor experience and be able to advise researchers in a helpful and professional manner.

The post may require working some evenings (until 7pm) and some Saturdays to support the public service.

Join us here in beautiful Kew, just 10 minutes’ walk from the Overground and Underground stations, and you can expect an excellent range of benefits. They include a pension, flexible working, as well as discounts with local businesses (e.g. beauty salons and bars). We also offer wellbeing resources (e.g. on-site therapists) and have an on-site gym, restaurant, shop and staff bar.

Full job description attached (see below)

To submit your application please click the 'Apply now' button on this page. You will be asked to upload a CV and statement of suitability. In your statement of suitability please explain how you meet each of 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.

Please remove any details that could identify you, from the CV and Statement of Suitability

• A degree (or demonstrable equivalent experience) in a relevant field relating to one or more of The National Archives’ visual collections
• Curatorial experience within a gallery, archive, museum or similar setting
• High level of expertise in one or more areas of The National Archives’ visual collections (photographs, art, design, maps)
• An entrepreneurial flair and an eye for commercial opportunities
• Good general knowledge of the historical and political landscape covered by our collections generally
• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with ability to build effective relationships and networks within organisation and externally
• Excellent negotiation and influencing skills, with a track record of embedding new ways of working with both internal and external stakeholders
• Ability to work effectively as a member of a team and under own initiative



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.


Generous benefits package, including pension, sports and social club facilities, onsite gym, subsidised staff restaurant and opportunities for training and development

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Selection process details

In the event of a second sift the following desirable criteria may be taken into consideration:

• Published author in records-related material and/or specialist area;
• Experience of communicating research through a variety of public engagement activities such as exhibitions, public talks, outreach workshops and educational activities;
• Track record of project delivery to time and to budget.

Please provide any relevant information relating to the desirable criteria in your statement of suitability.
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants

For further information please contact the Recruitment Team on 0208 392 5203 or

Sift/interview dates and location

To be confirmed

Further information

Reasonable adjustment

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:
• Contact The National Archives via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs

• Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact
The National Archives via email:

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission at

Transfers across the Civil Service on or after 4 October 2018

• From 4 October 2018 individuals moving across the Civil Service to a new PAYE scheme on any type of move other than TUPE/COSOP will lose the right to continue to claim Childcare Vouchers.

• Whilst some employees may lose the right to continue claiming childcare vouchers via their employer, they may still be eligible to claim Tax Free Childcare.

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