Internal

‘An Unconventional MP’: The political career of Nancy Astor in 50 documents. Research and curation of a digital exhibition on Nancy Astor MP’s political career and her legacy.

The student will work with the supervisor to create an online digital exhibition, identifying documents and images from the Astor papers which communicate key milestones in her career and illustrate her legacy – the output will be delivered via social media throughout 2019 and will be kept as a permanent digital exhibition.

Department: History

Supervised by: Dr Jacqui Turner

The Placement Project

2019 marks the centenary of the first woman to take her seat in parliament. The University of Reading is in a unique position to play a significant role in informing the public and academic debate in engaging about Nancy Astor as her private and political papers that are held here at Special Collections. The student will work with the supervisor from the department of history and Special Collections to create an online digital exhibition, identifying documents and images from the Astor papers which communicate key milestones in her career and illustrate her legacy. The output will be delivered via social media throughout 2019 and will be kept as a permanent digital exhibition. The milestones might be traced thematically to showcase the depth and breadth of the Astor Papers though we do not wish to stifle how the project may unfold organically. The student will also identify significant dates and corresponding sources which can be posted on the anniversaries of key events. The chronological narrative will be kept as a spreadsheet, with clearly referenced corresponding images that will be allocated for digital recording. The spreadsheet will effectively act as a storyboard for the exhibition. Each image will require a pithy museum-style text, suitable for twitter, Facebook and Instagram platforms on social media. With Dr Turner, the student will also construct a written introduction to the exhibition which will feature an explanation of how Reading University came to acquire the Astor papers and explain their provenance, something that does not exist at present.

Tasks

In the first week the student will read some key secondary literature on framing the political context of the interwar period and some biographical reading on Nancy Astor. It is essential that the student have a background of the political events, context and on gender and parliament during the interwar period. This reading will be supplemented with historical advice and direction from Dr Jacqui Turner and archival skills direction from the University Archivist Mr Guy Baxter The project will have three principal stages: Stage 1: Research Key tasks: • Preliminary reading on Nancy Astor and her legacy within women’s parliamentary history • Familiarisation with the Astor Collections • Familiarisation with digital platforms and critical study of previous digital exhibitions (including Vote100) Stage 2: Key Research Tasks: • Identification of relevant archival materials and the proposition of a group of relevant sources with chronological and overall Astor narrative. Stage 3: Key Research tasks: • Revision and refinement of interpretation including draft online text • Working closely with the supervisor to broaden or narrow this group, as necessary • draft of exhibition text Iteratively reworking the draft, with a view to presenting a final exhibition; working with technical staff at UMASCS and UoR to deliver the exhibition online.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

Essential: Academic research skills appropriate to advanced undergraduate level; some experience of researching in an archive, background knowledge in modern British history, basic knowledge of the workings of the British Parliament and/or women’s history from the end of the C19th to the early C20th. Good IT skills including researching portals, social media & other online resources; ability to write clear and fluent English. Desirable: editorial skills and past experience or demonstrable interest in archives, social media skills and an interest in public engagement.

Skills which will be developed during the placement

The ability to construct and selectively curate a narrative along a chronological timeline utilising and illustrated with primary materials. Archival skills including working with collections and archives, curating and writing pithy museum-style text; communication skills including writing for digital media.

Place of Work

Reading Room, Special Collections, University of Reading and an office or workspace will be made available in the Department of History as necessary.

Hours of Work

9.30-4.30 (negotiable)

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 02 July 2018 - Monday 13 August 2018

How to Apply

The post will be advertised centrally on the UROP website between 19th February and 29th March 2018. Students should submit their CV and Cover Letter directly to the Project Supervisor (click on supervisor name at the top of the page for email). Successful candidates will then be invited to interview.


Return to Placements List

Page navigation

Search Form