Gateshead Archive - Exhibition Officer needed

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We have been successful in sourcing funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help engage local people with Gateshead Archive at the Central Library.

We are now seeking to appoint a freelance exhibition specialist to lead on the creation of a touring exhibition of Archive material.

Deadline for applications Friday 2nd August, 12 noon

Job Profile


Gateshead Council's Library Service has been successful in sourcing funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help engage local people with Gateshead Archive at the Central Library.  The Library Service is now seeking to engage an exhibition specialist to lead on the creation of a touring exhibition of Archive material.

Gateshead Archive

Gateshead Archive is the most important and complete heritage collection documenting the history of the Gateshead Borough. Managed by Gateshead Library Service since its founding in 1907, the Archive comprises thousands of local books & pamphlets, maps, historic newspapers, images plus a range of ephemera relating to all aspects of life in Gateshead. The material dates from the 1640s to the present day.

The Lottery-funded project will improve and extend the Archive visitor facilities at Gateshead Central Library, opening up public access to the collections for people to browse and study. It will provide new visitor facilities for community groups and schools with interpretative displays, space for practical workshops and study, plus a work space for volunteers to digitise collections. Combined with a new education programme, the project will open up Gateshead's most important historic collection to everyone. 

'The Story of Gateshead' Exhibition

The touring exhibition will focus on Gateshead before and after the Local Government reorganisation of 1974, when towns formerly part of County Durham were incorporated into the Gateshead Borough. Using the wealth of material from the Archive, the exhibition will explore effects on identity and governance along with local responses and notable events of the time.  

The exhibition will include a small activity programme delivering creative workshops, talks and other activities to help people explore this period of history, promote a sense of shared heritage and raise the profile of Gateshead Archive.

We have a target of engaging 12,000 people with the exhibition across multiple community venues. These venues will include branch libraries in addition to other suitable community venues that you will need to identify.

An indicative running date of March-August 2020 was given to our funders, though there is flexibility with the start date in order to achieve the targets (e.g. you may wish to start earlier in 2020). The exhibition must complete by end of August 2020 when our funded project will end.  
Requirements, roles and responsibilities  You will have experience of developing and delivering audience focused content and interpretation for exhibitions. You will have a creative flair and the ability to deliver projects on time and to budget. You will also have excellent writing and communication skills applied across a variety of media for a range of readers. 

Key responsibilities of the contract are: 

  • To lead on production of the Story of Gateshead touring exhibition  
  • To identify suitable community venues to host the exhibition, taking into account footfall for these buildings in order to meet engagement targets.
  • To use Gateshead Archive collection to research and write all copy for the Story of Gateshead exhibition. This will include working with Library Staff to select suitable images from the collection.
  • To liaise with graphic design staff to develop clear and engaging layout and style for the exhibition.
  • To identify an appropriate format, size and configuration for the exhibition within the budget available (taking into consideration the limited space in community venues).
  • To work with library staff to identify facilitators for an associated events programme (6 events in total) to engage people with the exhibition.
  • To meet and correspond regularly with Library staff to provide updates on the progress of the exhibition production.
  • To work with Library staff and marketing specialists to produce print and digital material to promote the Exhibition


The specialist will be managed by Gateshead Archive Heritage Lottery Fund Project Officer and supported by Gateshead Council Library Service staff.      

Budget and timetable

The fee for the work is £5,100 for which we would expect you to spend a minimum of 34 days on the project.  
There is flexibility in how you split your time across the 34 days accounting for the following: 

  • You will need to allow one day per month (split across half days as needed) during the exhibition period to assist with publicity and venue arrangements
  • In addition, some of our collections will be packed away on 20th August ahead of a major refurbishment (we estimate around half of the relevant material) therefore some of the key research will need to be done prior to this.  

Otherwise you can be flexible in how your time is spent, being mindful of deadlines for production.    In addition to the project fee there are associated project budgets including: 

  • £1600 for design and production of the exhibition
  • £1200 event facilitator fees
  • £500 promotion

Proposal Submission Process

Please contact us in writing with a proposal of no more than two sides of A4. The proposal should include:

  1. Details of how the applicant meets the criteria described including details of background and experience.
  2. An outline of the proposed approach to the project including areas of expertise.
  3. An outline timetable and breakdown of the number of days to be spent on the project

In addition to this please also include -    

  • A current CV with two referees    

Please submit proposals to:

Maggie Thacker, Project Officer
Gateshead Central Library
Prince Consort Road, Gateshead NE8 4LN

Or email applications to Maggie Thacker

Any enquiries about the brief please contact Maggie Thacker or Tel 0191 433 8435

Deadline for proposal submissions: Friday 2nd August, 12 noon

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