Head of Public Programmes – External Relations – 97411 – Grade 8
Department of External Relations
Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK
Full time starting salary is normally in the range £41,526 to £49,553 with potential progression once in post to £55,750
Full Time/FTC until August 2024
Closing date – 17th June 2021
The University of Birmingham (UoB) is one of the UK’s first civic universities. Using this as a springboard in 2021 the University will open The Exchange, a new civic-facing facility in the heart of the city centre as a focus for its public engagement activities. In anticipation of the opening of The Exchange, UoB established a new Public Engagement function under the leadership of a Director of Public Engagement. The purpose of the new function is to improve the coordination and quality of UoB’s public engagement activities and to ensure high-quality, relevant and audience-facing public engagement that engages the public – regionally, nationally and internationally – in the research, teaching and collections of the University, growing awareness, understanding, reputation and public value.
This is a fantastic opportunity for an experienced public engagement professional to play a lead role in shaping and coordinating high quality public engagement at the University of Birmingham and its new city centre facility, The Exchange.
You will create, deliver and support public engagement programmes at The Exchange, on campus and elsewhere, ensuring that the University’s research and collections are harnessed to provide appealing audience-led exhibitions, activities and events that drive public engagement across the city.
Working collaboratively with staff across the University’s academic Colleges, Schools and Institutes, as well as colleagues in Professional Services you will ensure public engagement programmes reflect key research and project priorities, using face to face delivery, online and digital channels to strengthen public and community engagement – locally, nationally and internationally.
a. To establish effective relations with Public Engagement, External Relations, Professional Services and College staff to identify annual research-led public engagement themes and research content and ensure the involvement of Directors of Research, College Impact Leads and Communications and Engagement staff, as necessary, to coordinate and manage calls on staff time, alignment with research funding requirements and REF, and training and development.
b. Within parameters set by the Director of Public Engagement oversee the planning, development, delivery and coordination of creative and thought-provoking public engagement activities at The Exchange, UoB campus and elsewhere to enhance the appeal of, and to provide new opportunities to experience and engage with the University’s research and collections across agreed audiences – regionally, nationally and internationally – supporting the implementation of UoB’s Strategic Framework and growing the University’s reputation as a top 100 university.
c. To collaborate with education offers in The Exchange i.e. CPD and Leadership Institute, and identify, develop and deliver opportunities to include such provision in the public programme at The Exchange to widen access and participation in UoB’s learning programmes.
d. To collaborate with UoB collections and performances spaces and identify opportunities to align public engagement activities across UoB – thematically, audiences and special areas.
e. Under the direction of the Director of Public Engagement lead on the planning, development and delivery of exhibitions and exhibits at The Exchange, on campus and elsewhere, including:
- Working with RCC and wider collections staff to identify opportunities to include UoB collections in exhibitions
- Working with College and Professional Services staff to detail exhibition content plans and secure input to content development and sign-off
- Working with the Community Engagement Coordinator to identify opportunities for coproduction and cocuration where applicable
- Managing the procurement, design, production and installation of all associated exhibition contractor works, in close liaison with the Venue Manager
- Managing delegated programmes and budgets
- Ensuring effective implementation of The Exchange and UoB brands.
f. To fulfil the role of work package lead for exhibitions for The Exchange, also having oversight of exhibition design, lighting design and installation and collections displays.
g. Provide design oversight to exhibitions and public programmes and oversee design commissions and external contractors. Write specifications for exhibition interpretation and give guidance to all line reports and wider Public Engagement staff to ensure work is produced to specification and budget.
h. To ensure that all content is delivered consistently with UoB interpretation standards (to be developed) and is informed and approved by content experts and advisors to safeguard the quality of content in all interpretation by collaborating closely with College and Professional service staff.
i. To establish and maintain excellent relations with UoB colleagues, especially Professional Services and College-based staff, to enable them to support staff to contribute to public engagement at The Exchange, on campus and elsewhere, especially in relation to training and development and the requirements of research funding and REF.
j. To work closely with ER and College-based Communications and Engagement staff and the Digital team to develop an annual public engagement marketing and communications plan and support their delivery to maximise engagement numbers and reach.
k. To undertake research and evaluation to inform and improve the quality of interpretive provision, as required.
l. To ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place for all public programmes in respect of health and safety and safeguarding.
m. Lead and motivate an effective Public Programmes team capable of delivering high-quality outputs and outcomes commensurate with the vision, strategy and business plan for The Exchange and UoB’s Strategic Framework, ensuring their ongoing professional development.
n. To provide advice and guidance on best interpretive practice to Public Engagement staff in respect of all new interpretation and ensure quality and consistency in the standard of new provision across UoB, working collaboratively with wider collections sites colleagues to establish common standards and practices.
o. Formulate, agree, allocate, monitor and control devolved budgets and resources as agreed with the Director of Public Engagement to ensure best value.
p. To establish and maintain a wide range of external relationships, particularly with priority and new audiences for UoB.
q. To participate as an active and responsible member of the Public Engagement team and contribute to the development of policies, strategies, business and operational plans, ensuring they are efficaciously delivered, resources are used appropriately and reflect the UoB vision and Strategic Framework.
r. To represent the Public Engagement function at agreed external events, ensuring that UoB’s research and public engagement activities are promulgated regionally, nationally and internationally to enhance the reputation of the University and to act in every way to preserve the University’s reputation and good name in all areas of work and be fully committed to openness and transparency.
Qualifications, experience and skills
- Educated to graduate level and/or with significant experience of public programming and exhibitions in a visitor-facing organisation and/or science communication field
- Significant experience of public engagement and public programming, with a deep understanding of audiences
- Substantial experience of managing exhibition and gallery projects
- Experience of working with community and education groups in the design of exhibitions
- Experience of working with exhibition designers, consultants and fit out contractors
- Experience of devising and managing new audience development and/or community projects, particularly for groups who do not traditionally engage with the University and its research
- Evidence of experience of developing and managing access projects, particularly for disabled or socially excluded groups
- A high level of understanding of UK and global public engagement and the implications for current and future strategy in the university museum sector and the cultural sector more broadly
- Significant experience of managing teams, with demonstrable leadership experience
- Experience of working with personal interpretation
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Experience of managing budgets, resources and funding and making sustainable long-term improvements to practice and delivery to achieve positive outcomes
- Innovative and dynamic approach to partnership working, with a well-honed awareness of relationship management and dependencies
- Evidence of the ability to contribute at both management and delivery levels to multiple concurrent projects or work streams
- Evidence of the ability to plan and use resources effectively and efficiently, supported by clear understanding and application of financial monitoring and management
- Demonstrate energy, determination and resilience
- Demonstrate the External Relations Values and Behaviours.
- Excellent interpersonal skills with an ability to lead and motivate a team of staff and build effective and trusting partnerships and professional networks in the wider community
- Ability to communicate effectively and regularly at senior levels, to persuade and influence, and to keep the University abreast of developments to ensure service provision is in line with broader agendas
- Competence in representing the University externally to academia, industry and other bodies, including potential donors, in the UK and internationally
- Strong influencing skills.
Dealing with Problems
- Evidence of the ability to obtain, analyse and use complex data to inform effective decision-making
- Ability to think creatively about opportunities and threats, to face conflict and look for common ground on which to build
- Experience of relationship management and effective partnership development and understanding of project timelines and parameters.
- Network across the university to draw on the skills, knowledge and experience in different Divisions and Colleges
- Ability to champion Public Engagement internally and externally.
Valuing excellence, sustaining investment
We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working