Director of Heritage Collections at Venerable English College

July 5, 2024

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Job Description

35 hours/week; fixed-term (3 years)

Venerable English College, Rome, Italy 

Closing date for applications 9 September 2024 

The opportunity

This is an exciting opportunity to join the Venerable English College as Director of Heritage Collections. We are looking for an enthusiastic and committed colleague with experience or proven potential to represent our collections and to oversee their care and development, continuing and extending the work of the current office holder, Professor Maurice Whitehead. As an ambassador for the pastoral potential of history, you will have the passion and vision to excite others about the collections. You will have sympathy with religious contexts and cultures, working alongside the resident staff responsible for the formation of priests. You will have demonstrable leadership and people management skills with ability to balance complex demands with resources, building partnerships with local, national and international organisations, and attracting external research funding. You will be ambitious for the English College collections and continue developing them as a unique research resource. 

The starting date is 3 February 2025, or as soon as possible thereafter. 

Your skills and attributes for success 

  • A PhD or equivalent in the field of British Catholic history and related areas
  • Vision and ambition to extend awareness of the heritage collections of the Venerable English College to the widest possible audiences through digital, online and site-specific activities, including publications, lectures and exhibitions.
  • Skills to communicate the significance of the collection in formal and informal contexts.
  • An enthusiastic, positive and creative approach to heritage collections.
  • Evidence of, and/or potential to produce a portfolio of exceptional and impactful research related to the College collections, aimed at the widest possible audiences
  • Familiarity with current professional archival standards and latest developments in software and digitisation
  • Sensitivity to religious contexts and cultures, particularly as they relate to the mission of the English and Welsh Catholic seminary in Rome. 

You can download a copy of the full job description from this link: 

About the context 

The Venerable English College (VEC) is the oldest British institution on foreign soil, with a history dating back to the fourteenth century. Today it is a vibrant place of formation and study for the English and Welsh dioceses and a much respected and fast-developing resource increasingly used by scholars from all over the world. Its collections are centred on its historically significant archive which reflects the evolution of the English hospice in Rome from 1362 and that of the seminary from 1579 down to the present day. It also includes a unique collection of 15,000 rare books as well as artworks, including paintings and textiles. 

The detailed cataloguing of the archive is a continuing process. Priority has been given to financial accounts and early endowment records up to the French Revolution. An exciting project to catalogue the rare books was launched in May 2023 and continues apace. 

Recent exhibition contributions include the Reginald Pole exhibition at Lambeth Palace Library, London, the Tolkien exhibitions in Rome, Naples and Turin, the Anglican Centre Library exhibition in Rome, the British Museum Thomas Becket exhibition in London, and the exciting Memory, Martyrs and Mission exhibition at the VEC, in collaboration with Stonyhurst College.

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