The New Curators Project is run by UCL Special Collections, in collaboration with Newham Heritage Month. It is an annual programme for young adults (aged 18-24) who are interested in working in the cultural heritage sector, whether that be the arts, libraries, museums or heritage sites. It aims to provide the training and experience required for these new professionals to take their first steps on their chosen career path, and to create an opportunity for the group to create work for a real audience as they take their first steps into this field of work.
Each year the cohort create something for Newham Heritage Month’s programme, based on the given theme. 2022’s theme is ‘What London 2012 Means to Us’, and so participants set about collecting oral histories, film footage and photography of the Olympic Park and surrounding area. This is their first short film, created in response to the theme.
The New Curators Project is a new programme by UCL Special Collections and Newham Heritage Month. It will offer 10 young people in East London the chance to develop the skills and experience needed to start a career in the cultural heritage sector.
Successful applicants will receive training from industry experts in key areas such as carrying out historical research, creating an exhibition and engaging with cultural heritage audiences. Participants will also work together to create an exhibition for Newham Heritage Month. Using historical material from UCL Special Collections and the Archives and Local Studies Library in Stratford, the exhibition will be an opportunity for participants to gain real life curation experience for a public heritage festival audience.
We expect the entire project to take place online, with the possibility of face to face sessions towards the end of the project (this will depend on national and local restrictions. Any face to face activity that does take place with be compliant with government guidelines).
Who can apply?
Applications are open to people who:
Are aged 18 to 24 at the time of making their application.
Are living, studying or working in Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.
Are not a university graduate.
Have less than 6 months paid experience in the cultural heritage sector.
As this project is a part of Newham Heritage Month, there are 5 places available to individuals who live, work or study in the borough of Newham. The remaining 5 places are available to those who live, work or study in Tower Hamlets, Hackney or Waltham Forest.
When is it happening?
Application close midnight on 12th February 2021. There will be two online sessions per week, the first will be during the week of 1st March 2021 (date and time to be agreed with participants). The final week of activity will be the week of 24th May 2021.
Last week saw UCL Special Collections hold its first Widening Participation Summer School. For four days, a group of twelve 17 year olds from in and around London explored archives, rare books and manuscripts here at UCL, guided by colleagues within Special Collections.
We had brilliant time, and were impressed with the students’ ability to link collection items to areas of their own knowledge and contextual understanding. We also spent a day at The National Archives, visiting their current exhibition, Suffragettes vs. The State, and discussing the notion of authenticity in relation to exhibition interpretation. The participants then got to work researching collection items from UCL Special Collections, developing interpretation for a public exhibition on the final day.
You can see examples of their work in this video:
We would like to thank everyone at Library Services for accommodating the group, whether that be in the Science Library or the Institute of Education Library, and for Special Collections colleagues who offered their time and expertise.