Background 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of the death of Bristol-born poet Thomas Chatterton, one of the most famous literary figures of the 18th and 19th centuries. St Mary Redcliffe is taking part in A Poetic City: The legacy of Thomas Chatterton in shaping Bristol’s poetic heritage and culture, a citywide initiative run by Bristol Cultural Development Partnership, the organisation behind Bristol Festival of Ideas. The project will bring to light Bristol’s links with this important, yet largely forgotten, literary figure. Partner organisations in this National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project include Bristol Museums and Art Galleries, Bristol Libraries, Destination Bristol, University of Bristol, University of the West of England, Royal West of England Academy, LYRA: Bristol Bristol Poetry Festival and Literature Works.
About the role St Mary Redcliffe Church provided the primary inspiration for Thomas Chatterton, but the Chatterton Room, where the young poet found inspiration, is currently inaccessible to the public. One of St Mary Redcliffe’s key aspirations is to open this room to the public so that the many visitors to the church can experience the place that shaped Chatterton’s poetic imagination. However, in order to enable this, we need the support of volunteers who can help manage access to and from the room and help to tell Chatterton’s story to visitors.
We need you! Could you offer as few as two hours per week to play an important part in bringing the story of Thomas Chatterton to life?
You will need to be 18+ and the type of person who enjoys meeting and engaging with people. You might have or wish to develop an interest in history, a career in culture, heritage and the arts, or perhaps want to play a part in your local community.
What you’ll be doing As a Chatterton 250 volunteer you will play a central role in helping people engage with, enjoy and be inspired by St Mary Redcliffe and the life of Thomas Chatterton. The kind of activities you may be involved in include: • Welcoming the public and engaging them in the stories of Thomas Chatterton and St Mary Redcliffe • Leading small groups on guided tours • Managing groups and ensuring they safely enjoy their visit • Talking to visitors about the Festival of Ideas • Recording numbers of visitors • Reporting any serious issues, concerns, accidents and emergencies promptly • Taking part in training sessions
The support you’ll give us as a Chatterton 250 volunteer will be of huge benefit to the project, and in turn we aim to make sure that you enjoy a valuable and memorable experience.
What we can offer you • An opportunity to volunteer in a heritage role in a beautiful and historic environment • The chance to help re-establish the reputation of one of Bristol’s most important cultural figures • Experience of working as part of a team • A chance to meet new people and make professional contacts • On the job training in public engagement and heritage interpretation • The chance to engage with visitors of all ages, from all over the world • New experiences and an opportunity to share your skills and expertise • Formal recognition of skills development to aid CV or job applications • Reimbursement of travel costs and refreshments
What we’re looking for • Polite and friendly people over the age of 18 • People with a welcoming approach to working alongside the public • People who are enthusiastic about developing knowledge of Thomas Chatterton and St Mary Redcliffe and sharing this in a positive and lively way • People with an interest in working with the public and communicating heritage stories in an accessible and engaging manner • People who enjoy working as part of a small, dedicated team
It would be great if you have some of the following qualities, skills and experience: • An interest in history and/or literature • Confidence in and enthusiasm for talking with members of the public • The ability to work as part of a team and be flexible
Training You will be part of a small and dedicated team for the Chatterton 250 project and we will ensure that you receive appropriate training and support to enable you to carry out your role. You will receive training in the life of and significance of Thomas Chatterton, and training in how to deliver public tours. We will also ensure that you are familiar with and abide by our Safeguarding Policy and Guidelines.
We are also interested in recruiting volunteers who would like to take on an enhanced role that will involve helping to train and manage other volunteers.
Commitment To make scheduling as manageable as possible, we ask you to commit to at least ten shifts over the course of the Festival of Ideas. We are aiming to open the Chatterton Room to the public from early April to late October 2020.
How to apply To apply, please complete the attached application form and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to the address on the form. For further information, please contact Rhys Williams with the email title ‘Chatterton 250 Volunteer’.