Histories of Childhood in the National Trust

Placement Details

Location: Remote working plus potential site visits for research and meetings with project stakeholders at National Trust properties around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Office hot-desk available with the National Trust Partnership team at Oxford if required.

Duration: 3 months full time, or 6 months part time

Start Date: Mid-June 2022

Deadline for Expressions of Interest: Friday 22 April 2022

Placement Description:

This OOC DTP placement is designed to support the National Trust in developing a greater understanding of our holdings related to childhood and their potential for further research and engagement opportunities.

A range of histories, experiences, places, objects, depictions, accounts and approaches to childhood can be found within National Trust properties and collections. However, to date, these ‘histories of childhood’ have often received cursory attention, been approached on a property-specific basis, or only looked to convey generalised childhood experiences.

This placement will conduct baseline research to map the presence and evidence of childhoods across the National Trust’s collections and properties. The initial primary focus will be a study and mapping of the material culture of childhood within collections but will develop to include non-object-specific material and information (e.g. accounts). Furthermore, properties with a connection through their ‘famous’ inhabitants to our canonical history of modern childhood (e.g. social reformers, writers, artists, educators, philanthropists etc.) will also be identified.

This mapping will create a key resource for identifying, informing and enabling subsequent research projects connected to childhood. It is anticipated that this shall form a series of gazetteers regarding particular topics of interest and/or concentration with relation to childhood, identifying key avenues for further research, potential collaborations and engagement opportunities.

This placement is an ideal opportunity for a researcher eager to develop their skills working with a range of collection material spanning a wide chronology and working in partnership with the heritage sector.

Skills, knowledge or experience needed:

We are looking for a student who has skills in collections and archival research and the ability to collate and present information in an accessible, navigable format.

An ability to reference appropriate academic articles and papers is a necessity, as is the ability to identify connections between places, themes and subject matter.

Clear, convivial and appropriate communication skills when contacting a range of individuals is also needed.

Awareness of the potential for greater exploration of social histories to ‘open up’ and create powerful connections for a range of people (visitors, volunteers, staff, academic researchers and wider public) and an interest in developing engagement opportunities would be beneficial.

The successful applicant will work remotely, with the option to hot-desk with the Heritage Partnerships Team in Oxford. There is a potential for travel to National Trust sites in order to assess specific property and collections’ research potential first-hand.

The applicant will create a project plan in consultation with the project’s supervisors. This will be revisited at an interim stage to assess potential exploration or development of specific areas, informed by the findings at that point.

The successful applicant does not need to have a research specialism in childhood or histories of childhood, as guidance will be provided by project supervisors. Notably, Dr Siân Pooley of The Centre for the History of Childhood, University of Oxford, will be involved in a wider advisory role.

To apply:

To express interest in this placement, please email your CV and a brief supporting statement (no more than one page) to training@oocdtp.ac.uk by Friday 22 April 2022