Collections research opportunity

Decolonisation appraisal for future collection and community projects

Freelance consultancy contract
Fee: £3000 including VAT
Duration of Contract June-September 2024

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The Project

To survey the collections of East Riding Museums Service, particularly at the Treasure House/Beverley Art Gallery and Goole Museum. Focused on the theme of colonial themes in the accessioned collection the successful applicant produces a report in order to lay the foundations for future Arts Council England funded projects to reinterpret our collections and engage new community and creative people with our museum collections.

The Museum Service supports the Museums Association’s strategy for Empowering Collections.


East Riding Museums Service (ERMS) comprises 6 varied sites, Sewerby Hall and Gardens, Skidby Windmill and Hessle Chalk Mill, Goole Museum in the west to the Treasure House & Beverley Art Gallery and Beverley Guildhall.

The collections are predominantly closely related to the East Riding region, being made in the area, depicting the area or relating to an East Riding person (or some combination of these). Any colonial links of locations and people from the East Riding of Yorkshire within the collection have for the most part not been fully established or researched yet.

At several sites, notably the Treasure House and Beverley Art Gallery and Goole Museum, world collection material exists. Some of this is from older collections and is not well documented or understood, whilst some is from more recent acquisitions where a more obvious link to the East Riding region was apparent. Descriptions of some of this cultural material may be inaccurate. misleading, or use terminology that would not be considered appropriate today. Some of this material is summarised below:

  • East Riding Yeomanry related material connected with the regiment’s campaign in Egypt and Palestine in 1915-1918. Largely photographs and documents, though it includes some artefacts.
  • Material from missionary work carried out by Ida Miles in China (costume and documents) in the 1880’s to early 1920’s. Additional documentary material has been deposited with East Riding Archives.
  • Mary Varley photographs and art works produced in Ghana post World War II up to 1960.
  • Various spears and other weapons of uncertain origin
  • South and North American objects.

What's included in the role?

The chosen consultant will

  • Physically visit relevant East Riding Museum Service sites and East Riding archives to survey collections relevant to the decolonization theme
  • Use the Museum Service’s online catalogue: East Riding Treasure Online as a research tool to identify potential material
  • Liaise with the project team at East Riding Museums about site access, collection records and report format.
  • Using the above resources, produce a research survey of all material in ERYMS’s collections relevant decolonisation and draw up some ideas for potential future projects using this information and any wider historical research relevant to the topic and region.

Provisional Timetable

  • May-June 2024 Consultant selection process
  • June-July 2024 Site visits and research
  • August-September Write & submit collection survey and project proposals.


  • The overall project budget is £3000 including VAT
  • Payment will be in 2 equal tranches.
  • Tranche 1 will be payable when all site visits and collections research have been completed.
  • Tranche 2 will be payable on completion of the collection survey / projects proposals.

General Requirements

  • The commissioned consultant will have relevant experience in surveying museum collections and in work connected with the decolonisation theme.
  • Be ICT literate, approachable and self-sufficient.
  • Can get to a variety of venues within the East Riding of Yorkshire

What will be provided by the East Riding Museums service?

  • Access to East Riding Museums collections by appointment
  • Background information on collections from the database, collections files and such, where appropriate and required.
  • Staff liaison with consultant as needed.

How to apply

To apply, please send the following by Monday, 17 June 2024

  • Brief CV
  • Max of one side of A4 outlining your relevant experience in this field
  • Your proposal for this project.
  • Budget Breakdown

Please send all documents electronically to

Further Information

The project team will then meet to score proposals against a set of pre-chosen criteria and make a selection. Interviews of candidates may also form part of the process. For further information or to arrange an informal discussion, please contact David Marchant

We look forward to hearing from you!