Volunteering Opportunity: Black History Month at Layers of London

Layers of London Black History Month Project Brief

The University of London’s Institute of Historical Research (IHR), in collaboration with the National Archives, Historic England, the British Library, Museum of London Archaeology, London Metropolitan Archives, Birkbeck University and other partners, is currently delivering a project called Layers of London. This will engage with hundreds of thousands of Londoners from across the city’s 32 boroughs and provide them with the tools to explore and share their histories and identities through our state-of-the-art website (layersoflondon.org). The website enables Londoners contribute to developing a record of our great multicultural city, using layered historic maps to record hundreds of thousands of stories, recording fresh and neglected voices, perspectives, memories and histories.

To mark Black History Month this October we are recruiting a volunteer to add a collection to Layers of London that reflects the contribution of black people to the history of the city. Initially the volunteer will map the locations of English Heritage’s blue plaques marking the houses and workplaces of some of London’s most prominent black historical figures and then move on to proposing new blue plaques for people that should have their lives commemorated in this way. Black people are underrepresented in the blue plaques scheme, a fact that English Heritage acknowledges and are working to rectify. We hope this month long project will help encourage this and help to highlight the diversity of London’s history. We are also eager to increase representation of black history on the Layers of London website and hope this project will help to spread the project to a wider audience and encourage our users to add minority histories to the site the whole year round.

We are asking for a contribution of approximately 5 voluntary hours per week between 01/10/2019 and 31/10/2019. We are flexible in terms of work schedule within this.  You will send a brief fortnightly report on your work and we will schedule a series of meetings to ensure you have all the resources you need.

If you would like to express your interest in this opportunity, please email Liam at [email protected] with the words Black History Month Volunteer in the subject line of your email. Please apply by the 23rd of September.

We are looking for a volunteer who will work to:

  • Map the locations of current English Heritage blue plaques that mark the contributions of Black Londoners to the city’s history and add pictures and biographies of these people to a collection on the site
  • Research London’s Black History and propose 9 historical figures that should have a blue plaque, propose locations for their plaques and map them and add pictures and biographies to the collection
  • Submit these new proposals to English Heritage’s Propose a Plaque
  • Help to promote this project on social media and write a blog post on it for the Layers of London website

Requirements for the role:

  • We are looking for someone with an interest in oral history, online engagement, archives and museums, social and local history and geography.
  • Applicants should be confident in communication and writing for websites. They should be aware and sensitive to issues surrounding minority representation.
  • Applicants must be confident using computers and doing research online.
  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Interest in London and its history.

What we can offer you:

  • We will provide training on how to use the website and add content, including an introduction to the project and project team.
  • We will pay all your expenses if you are travelling as part of the project.
  • We will provide all necessary equipment for the duration of the placement.
  • We will provide suitable working spaces in the IHR although many tasks you may prefer to do remotely and we are happy to be flexible with this role so that it works for you.
  • We will offer you opportunities for training if available to build your skills and contribute to your continuing professional development.
  • References for future work on request.