Royal palaces hire first ‘inclusivity curator’ to teach history more ‘sensitively’

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

New role to help staff at financially-stricken charity talk ‘with sensitivity and confidence’ of inclusive history

Royal palaces hire first ‘inclusivity curator’ to teach history more ‘sensitively’
The remembrance display Standing with Giants in the gardens of Hampton Court Palace
The remembrance display Standing with Giants in the gardens of Hampton Court Palace CREDIT: Eddie Mulholland

Historic Royal Palaces is hiring an inclusivity curator to teach history more sensitively.

The full-time permanent role will concentrate on bringing in ‘inclusive perspectives’ across their historic network, which includes the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, in Whitehall, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.

Their first job will be to create internal publications and workshops for staff about people of colour connected to the historic sites.

Bosses hope this will “equip colleagues with the sensitivity and confidence to talk about these histories”.

A job description said: “At Historic Royal Palaces, we are committed to an inclusive approach in all our work at HRP, from storytelling to our audience to the workforce culture we operate in, however, we’re aware that this is an ongoing journey for our organisation.

“The six palaces in our care have borne witness to significant moments in our national history – moments that continue to shape the world around us today – but were also the backdrop for everyday lives, in all their richness and complexity.

“We want everyone to be able to find meaning and relevance in their stories.

“We are seeking a new Curator for Inclusive History to bring inclusive perspectives into all our research, concentrating in particular on the stories of people of colour at court who had been excluded from traditional narratives.”

Candidates can apply from any background.

The Tower of London, which is looked after by Historic Royal Palaces
The Tower of London, which is looked after by Historic Royal Palaces

The Curator for Inclusive History will establish a research agenda into the history of people of colour connected to the palaces, become an acknowledged expert in these histories and provide advice to other staff.

They will create workshops and internal publications for staff to learn more about people of colour within the Historic Royal Palaces and then develop and manage academic research into people of colour connected with the histories of the sites.

The position will pay £40,537 a year and comes two years after the royal palaces lost 85 per cent of their income over the pandemic.

Income earned across the sites was still running at less than 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in 2021-22, after they lost £96 million in just three months with no tourists.

The Monday-Friday job will be partly from home and partly on site, based at Hampton Court Palace, with employers committed to discussing what works best for individuals.

They will cover the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House, Kew Palace and also Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland.

Applicants need post-graduate qualifications and proven experience in the cultural sector.

Disastrous pandemic

Experience in a heritage environment and having successfully applied for research funding in the past are an advantage but not essential.

“Equally importantly, you will love history, storytelling and communicating your enthusiasm for the subject to a wide range of audiences,” the job description adds.

HRP saw its income decimated during the pandemic, and had to secure a £40m emergency loan.

Its chief executive John Barnes said at the time: “After a difficult year, news of this loan comes as a great relief.

“As a self-funding charity dependent on visitor income, our finances have been decimated by the pandemic.

“The scale of the losses we have faced has been so significant that, at times, the future of our charity has been uncertain.

“This loan is the lifeline we need to begin our recovery.

“It will help us to cover our losses this year, after using all our reserves, and the further losses we expect to face in 2021, until we are able to support ourselves again.”

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