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Freelance Opportunity / Project Coordinator – The Atkinson

Freelance Project Co-ordinator Brief

Sacrifice: the impact and aftermath of conflict on lives and minds

June 2017 – November 2018


The Atkinson opened its new museum in 2014, bringing together for the first time Sefton’s heritage collections.  Since then we have been seeking to develop our understanding and interpretation of little known aspects of important initiatives, developments and events that happened in our borough.  We are particularly interested in raising the profile of developments in health, medicine and medical care; and to reflect the impact of World War 1 as well as more recent conflicts on the lives of residents.

Sacrifice – the impact and aftermath of conflict on lives and minds – will explore a little known aspect of the psychiatric history of World War 1, using it as an opportunity for commemoration of this heritage and for exploring its contemporary relevance. This is an important opportunity to strengthen our collections and programmes and create an important legacy from 2018 onwards.

At the end of our project people across Sefton, Merseyside and beyond will have learned about a little known, but hugely significant aspect of our local heritage.

Our Project

During the First World War the term shell shock was used to describe either a psychological or physical condition. This type of injury was not well understood and men who were suffering were sometimes dismissed as being cowards or weak. As the war progressed the number of cases increased, with a shell shock crisis from 1916 onwards.  The increase in cases led to official recognition of this condition and treatment: the War Office decided that direct referral to specialist treatment centres staffed by trained professionals would best aid the return of men to the battlefield.

Our project is about the heritage of Moss Side Military Hospital in Maghull: the memories, the visual and written records of its role as a training as well as a treatment centre.  The hospital became a focus for experiment in the developing field of psychological medicine as clinicians from diverse backgrounds and disciplines gathered at this specialist unit.  Patients were first admitted to the 300 available beds in December 1914; the number of beds was expanded to 500 in 1917.  Between 1914 and 1919 the hospital treated a total of 3,638 patients. The clinical staff were described as “the brilliant band of workers who at that time made Maghull the centre for the study of abnormal psychology.”

We seek a freelance project co-ordinator who will work with us to develop research, understanding and engagement with the heritage of Moss Side Military Hospital in Maghull, Sefton, which developed as a centre of excellence and innovation in the treatment of shellshock during the First World War.  This hospital no longer exists, the buildings are being knocked down, and this important social and medical heritage is in danger of vanishing. This role will be crucial to the delivery of the project and its long-term legacy.

The Co-ordinator will be responsible for:

  • Day-to-day management of the Activity Plan: planning and convening meetings and updates;
  • Work with Library and Atkinson staff to develop volunteering opportunities including skills development and public engagement, including research skills of local volunteers
  • Work with the Project Researcher to oversee the development of the archive and collections’ research base for this project,
  • Work with Veterans in Sefton to create links with ex-Servicemen and Co-ordinate oral history and testimony so that their stories continue to ongoing understanding of PTSD
  • Work with at least 1 local school to involve year 7 & 8 students in developing learning resources that are subsequently disseminated across the borough and more widely
  • Work with local community groups and societies to increase engagement with the project
  • Commission and develop digital resources and a linked website
  • Work with Library staff to develop displays and community events in Meadows Library, Maghull, including workshops, talks and events
  • Work with The Atkinson’s Galleries, Curatorial and Learning team to develop learning resources as well as new displays and related events’ programmes
  • Work with The Atkinson’s marketing team on marketing, events and PR strategies and materials to increase local and national awareness of this project
  • Manage project evaluation and reporting to funders
  • Defining methodology and data collection for evaluation
  • Capturing the main findings, outcomes and lessons learned
  • Monitoring the number and types of people participating in events and activities
  • Developing stories, data and case studies that show how people have benefited

You will be an experience project manager; with excellent skills in:

  • managing a wide range of people to deliver high quality heritage learning and engagement
  • written and verbal communication
  • advocacy, PR and audience development
  • project evaluation

Contract fee

Up to £5000 + VAT fee over the 15 month period

There is a limited budget for travel costs and expenses

It is envisaged that this will deliver approximately 25 days’ work to be delivered flexibly as required by the demands of the project.

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying you can request electronic copies of the support documentation, namely the outline Project Activity Plan and Brief for the Learning Resource

Please send or email your CV, plus a covering letter (up to 2 pages) telling us why you are interested in the role, describing your relevant experience and suitability for the role, and when you would be able to start if successful.  You may wish to include web links to relevant projects that you have delivered.  The names and contact details for two referees must be included

Deadline  – Noon on 4th May 2017; Late applications cannot be considered.

Interviews – We will interview shortlisted candidates on 11th May 2017 at The Atkinson, Southport.  We can also use Skype for interviews if required as unfortunately interview expenses cannot be reimbursed; this is part of Council policy to meet savings.

To request background information, make project enquiries and to submit your application please contact:

Emma Anderson, Director, The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DB; 0151 934 2322; 07971 033 275