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Unboxed – Volunteering opportunity with the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) and the Sainsbury Centre

The British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) based in the Library at UEA, holds correspondence and draft manuscripts from some of our greatest writers and provides a fascinating insight into their inner lives and creative process.

There are lots of hidden gems and we need your help to bring them to the attention of the world through exhibition, interpretation, blog writing and social media.

This year’s Unboxed programme will focus on the Doris Lessing 100 exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre which features never before seen archival material charting the Nobel laureate’s extraordinary life. As well as offering insights into the creative process behind many of her prize winning works, there is an incredible account of key periods in 20th Century history, including: colonial Africa; World War II; communism and post communism; space travel; the cold war and modern politics.

What's involved?

We are looking for ten students to work with us to explore Doris Lessing’s archive, and interpret its contemporary significance for new audiences. You will have the opportunity to work with artists, writers and curators to put together a display of selected work in Norwich.

Volunteers will have privileged access to the archives of some of our world renowned writers and receive training in literary archive research and archive handling as well as support in blog writing and social media. Volunteers will work with Sainsbury Centre staff to develop skills in interpretation and curation.

This would suit students with an interest in literature, art and/or cultural heritage as well as those looking to develop a portfolio of online writing. As you spend time in the archive and at the Sainsbury Centre you will learn more about the work of the arts and cultural heritage sector and understand more about potential careers in this area.

The experience could enhance your CV, shed light on a potential career area or just provide an interesting pastime alongside your studies.

How do I apply?

Please email by midday on 18 October with no more than 300 words to detail your interest and explain why you think you should be selected.

Please only apply if you can commit to the following programme timetable. All elements are mandatory: 

  • Wednesday 23rd October 2-5pm Introduction- exhibition visit and archive induction
  • Wednesday 30th October 2-4pm  Artist Workshop- Sainsbury Centre
  • Wednesday 6th November  - Independent study- write up responses
  • Wednesday 13th November 2-4pm Finalise selection for display
  • Wednesday 20th November 2-4pm  Install display