Head of Interpretation

12 September 2022

12 September 2022

This creative and delivery-focused role leads on conceiving, planning and implementing ambitious, collections-led interpretation to surprise and delight all visitors to Brunel’s SS Great Britain, and engaging wider audiences too.

Job title: Head of Interpretation

Reporting to: Director of External Affairs

Department: External Affairs

Hours: 36.25 per week

Job type: Permanent, full time

Salary: £40,000

SS Great Britain: The Trust preserves Brunel’s masterpiece, the SS Great Britain, two related museums, and the national Brunel collection within a 19th century dockyard complex in Bristol. It is one of the UK’s leading independent museums, internationally renowned, and is Accredited with its collections Designated as of national importance by Arts Council England. The Trust is currently at a very exciting time, developing a major transformational project, expanding the visitor experience into the next door Albion Dockyard, building Brunel’s PS Great Western (the first transatlantic steamer), operating a publicly accessible working shipyard, developing skills, expanding the successful Future Brunels programme to inspire and support young people into STEM, and engaging and connecting with a wider range of people.

Purpose of job: This creative and delivery-focused role leads on conceiving, planning and implementing ambitious, collections-led interpretation to surprise and delight all visitors to Brunel’s SS Great Britain, and engaging wider audiences too.  It is a critical role as an expert member of the team, pivotal to the high quality visitor experience and igniting connections between 21st century audiences and 19th century maritime and engineering history, which shape the world today.

Building on the successful high quality and immersive experiences in operation, the role will develop how the Trust can continue to inspire and innovate with its story-telling, expanding a living history approach and directing the creative development and delivery of interpretation across the whole site as well as optimising the use of digital systems.

The post will manage an Interpretation Team and report directly to the Director of External Affairs. It is a role that will work within the Trust Values and the Interpretation Policy, and closely with other colleagues across the Trust, including Trustees.

Main tasks

  1. Lead, inspire and manage the Interpretation Team, to build on existing best practice on site with bold and innovative new approaches to achieving participation and engagement for target audiences through outstanding interpretation, developing whole site strategies for visitor facing content, including the digital space.
  2. Lead annual and multi-year programming, collaborating and building dynamic relationships with teams across the organisation to maximise impact, and using existing analyses of audiences and evaluation to inform planning.
  3. Lead on maintaining the impact and quality of existing interpretation, and identifying priorities for renewal, including responsibility for annual interpretation budgets and delegated responsibility for specific project budgets as necessary.
  4. Lead on procuring and managing the work of external consultants, contractors and commissioned specialists working with the interpretation team on projects as necessary.
  5. Contribute to project scoping and development, including funding application processes and documents as necessary.
  6. Work within the Trust’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion group to identify, plan and implement opportunities to meet the priority for engaging and building relevance and connections for a wider range of audiences through new interpretation, collaborating widely in the conception, planning and delivery of new interpretation.
  7. Report regularly to the Board of Trustees and the Curatorial, Education, and Interpretation sub-Committee as required.
  8. Lead on research and innovation in the interpretation activities, and prepare or contribute to public dissemination of the work.
  9. Undertake other duties as can be reasonably required to assist in the smooth and efficient running of the Trust. Some weekend and out of hours working may be required.

Person specification

Skills, knowledge and experience:

  1. A creative thinker with a passion for story telling, and an enthusiastic and innovative approach.
  2. Experience of delivering high quality, engaging interpretation schemes, content development and production, and narrative planning.
  3. Excellent knowledge of the principles and practice of good quality interpretation in the heritage sector.
  4. An eye for detail, ensuring excellence is maintained in all areas of interpretation and that stories and information are grounded in research, and are factual and authentic.
  5. Experience of analysing audience research and able to successfully build connections between collections and audiences.
  6. Able to use own initiative, be motivated, passionate and gets things done.
  7. Able to identify opportunities and inspire, connect and engage.
  8. Experience at working successfully at a senior level, and as a collaborative advocate organisation wide.
  9. Successful track record of leading, managing and motivating high-performing and effective teams.
  10. Excellent project and time management skills, with the ability to successfully prioritise tasks, work to deadlines and manage a sizeable and varied workload with an organized approach.
  11. Customer-focused, with excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  12. Able to build relationships at all levels and develop partnerships.
  13. Strong budgeting and planning skills.
  14. Passionate about working for a charity working in the heritage/maritime/ engineering and education sector.
  15. Confident IT skills, with good knowledge of Microsoft packages, particularly Word, Outlook and Excel

How to Apply

Please download and complete the SS Great Britain Trust’s job application form. Once completed, please email your application to jobs@ssgreatbritain.org

Closing date: 5pm on 9 October 2022

First interview date: TBC

SS Great Britain is committed to diversifying our audiences and workforce. We actively encourage applications from candidates from groups under-represented in our organisation including; Black, Asian and minority ethnic, Disabled people.