Heritage Trainees

Places of Change: Lodging houses & other spaces in London's Royal Docks, 1855 – 1948.

We are looking to recruit six trainees to take part in an exciting new heritage project

Each trainee will be paid London Living Wage for a total of 13 days over a six-week period in early 2024, receiving training in archive research at London Metropolitan Archive, and exhibition curation and copy writing at the National Maritime Museum. You will then work with a professional designer to develop an exhibition that tells the story of migration to the Royal Docks, its relationship with Britain’s empire and the spaces that were central to this new community. You will also feature in part of a documentary film focusing on this story that will be premiered in June 2024.

This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking to develop a career in the heritage, museums, or wider arts, culture, and media sector. No previous experience is required. We particularly encourage applications from people aged 18-30 living in the Royal Docks or the London Borough of Newham, but the opportunity is open to anyone.

We will explore the role that lodging houses, missions, clubs, and other community buildings played in migration, community change and development around London's Royal Docks in the 19th and 20th centuries. We will focus on the period of the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, during which time the area, due to its proximity to the docks and a wide variety of industries, and therefore its connection to the British Empire, developed one of the most diverse populations in the world.

People working on board ships from places in south and east Asia, the Caribbean, the Arabian Peninsula and east and west Africa settled around the Royal Docks. Various spaces opened, in some instances to support people, but in others for colonial, governmental and shipping authorities to control and monitor new arrivals. As well as understanding how these spaces operated and what their purpose was, we would also like to establish what the experience was of people who used them and how they sat within the wider community around the Royal Docks. As part of this project, we will:

  • Run a traineeship programme focusing on research and curation skills.
  • Interpret our heritage subject via a pop-up exhibition.
  • Produce a long form documentary film featuring yourself alongside subject experts premiered at the project’s end.
  • Deliver a programme of events as part of Totally Thames 2023 and throughout the project.
  • Deliver an education programme with a local college.
  • Work closely with public archives.
  • House all of our project outputs on a freely accessible website


How To Apply

  • To apply, please send a cover letter explaining your interest in the role, what you feel you will bring to the project and how you feel the traineeship will benefit you to James King.
  • Download the job description.
  • You also need to fill out our equal opportunities form.
  • Please also indicate if you live or study in the Royal Docks or the London Borough of Newham.
  • Monday 4 December: Deadline for applications.
  • Friday 8 December: Inform successful applicants of interview.
  • Thursday 14/Friday 15 December: Interviews for traineeship.
  • Tuesday 19 December: Appoint trainees.


Term Of Contract

  • Fixed term: 16 January 2024 – 22 February 2024
  • Part-time role: 2 days a week for five weeks / 3 days a week for final week. Usually Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Salary/Fee: £13.15 per hour (£1,196.65 across six weeks)
  • You will be employed as a freelancer and will be responsible for your own taxes and national insurance. You will invoice once per week or month for your wages which are paid in arrears.

We Are An an Equal Opportunities Employer

We are committed to working towards a more diverse cultural sector. Our recruitment process is open to all, but we are particularly keen to hear from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME). those who self-identify as LGBTQIA+, those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and those who self-identify as disabled, as these groups are currently underrepresented in our teams. Recruitment equal ops data is anonymised and used internally to identify ways to improve our process and reach the widest possible pool of candidates.

If you are applying for a position with us, please fill in our equal opportunities form.

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