Job Opportunity: Research Assistant (The Hero Project, AHRC)

"Robert Falcon Scott in the Cape Evans hut, October 1911" by Herbert George Ponting (British, 1871-1935) - Bonham's. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
“Robert Falcon Scott in the Cape Evans hut, October 1911” by Herbert George Ponting (British, 1871-1935) – Bonham’s. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
A part-time (3.5 hours per week) Research Assistant is sought to join the team of ‘The Hero Project’, a one-year research project funded by an AHRC Developmental Award, within the ‘Care for the Future’ theme. You will work with Principal Investigator Dr. Abbie Garrington (Durham), assisting in the delivery of the project, an interdisciplinary investigation of hero figures past, present and future, also involving colleagues at Aberdeen and Birmingham universities, the Royal Geographical Society (London) and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (Edinburgh).  The project will commence in early August.


You will be a self-directed researcher and administrator, with experience of interdisciplinary, cross-sector working. While undertaking your own research leading to a journal article or comparable publication, you will also assist with the existing objectives of the project (see below). You will liaise between the academic team and our partners, the Royal Geographical Society and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Career mentoring and pastoral support will be available via the PI. The post will involve some travel, chiefly between Durham, Edinburgh and London.


Your central responsibilities include:

  • organisation of the interdisciplinary, international conference ‘Heroes’, to be held at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) 3-4 October 2015
  • archival research at the RGS, supporting the exhibition ‘Heroes of Exploration’ which will accompany the conference
  • co-design, delivery and promotion of a national, web-based questionnaire, investigating heroes of the British public, past and present, under the supervision of Co-Investigator Dr. Natasha Danilova (Aberdeen)
  • collation, analysis and presentation of findings from that research
  • preparation of a journal article on a hero-related theme, drawing on your own established research interests

Further duties may involve working with Co-Investigator Dr. Berny Sebe (Birmingham).

Person Specification

Knowledge (inc. qualifications)


  • You should hold, or be close to the completion of, a postgraduate degree in a subject relevant to the project (literature, geography, history, art history, politics, social sciences etc.).
  • You must be able to demonstrate research activity or engagement work with a non-academic organisation (gallery, museum, community group etc.).
  • You must have experience of archival research.


  • Previous involvement in the successful organisation and administration of an academic conference will be an advantage.
  • An existing research interest in heroism/the figure of the hero will also be considered favourably.

Skills (professional, technical, managerial, practical)


  • You must be a competent user of the administrative functions of Microsoft Office.
  • You must be able to demonstrate competence in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.


  • Proven data analysis/statistical skills will be an advantage.

Experience and Achievements (paid or unpaid)


  • You should have a record of excellence in research publications. (Stage of career will be considered when assessing this criterion.)
  • You must have experience of public speaking, e.g. conference papers, presentations, public talks.


  • Involvement in innovative schemes for the dissemination of research will be an advantage.

For more information, and to apply, please see the Durham University jobs website. Information about the forthcoming conference relating to the project can be found here.

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