British Library: volunteering opportunity for American doctoral student (application until 30.III.2012)

Thanks to the generosity of the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the British Library is this year again able to offer a six-month volunteership for an American doctoral student to participate in the project team of the Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts section of the History and Classics Department.

The student will be involved in all aspects of the work of the Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts section, including responding to enquiries, providing talks for students and patrons, selecting and presenting manuscripts for display in our exhibition gallery, and cataloguing, and thereby gaining insight into various curatorial duties and aspects of collection care.  During the volunteership at the Library, the student will enjoy privileged access to printed and manuscript research material, and will work alongside specialists with wide-ranging and varied expertise.  The student’s primary focus would be on supplementing the online Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, by researching and adding descriptions of medieval manuscripts or illuminated incunabula, including the selection of pages to be photographed and reproduced.

The position is designed to provide an opportunity for the student to develop research skills and expertise in medieval and Renaissance art and history, and presenting manuscripts to a range of audiences.  This opportunity will contribute significantly to the ongoing work of the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts and the Medieval and Earlier section.

The programme is only open to US citizens who are engaged actively in research towards, or have recently completed, a PhD in a subject area relevant to the study of pre-1600 illuminated manuscripts or incunabula.

The term of the placement is for a period of six months.  The placement is voluntary and therefore unpaid.  However, the successful applicant will be reimbursed in respect of actual expenses in the performance of his or her duties, such as direct travel expenses to London and commuting expenses to the British Library, accommodation, and immediate living expenses such as food (but not clothing), subject to a maximum of £8,000.  The volunteer will be responsible for making his or her own travel and accommodation arrangements.

If the applicant does not hold the right to work in the United Kingdom, the Library will sponsor the volunteer for a visa using the UK Border Agency’s points-based system under Tier 5 Charity Workers.  The successful candidate will be required to submit the relevant application form to the local processing centre.  The processing fee will be reimbursed by the Library.  No placement may commence until the appropriate right to work documents have been obtained and verified.

Please send an application letter detailing the months you would be able to be in London, a résumé, and two reference letters to Dr Kathleen Doyle, Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts, The British Library, by email to, or by post to 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB, by 30 March 2012.  All applicants will be notified of the results by the end of April 2012.  A telephone interview may be held.

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