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We are seeking to appoint a Research Assistant/ Research Associate with a background and skills in social history, family history, and genealogical research to work on an innovative project entitled Caring Communities: Rethinking Social Care 1800-present, led by PI Dr Claudia Soares, and funded by UKRI.

Caring Communites: Rethinking Children’s Social Care 1800-present is an ambitious and innovative research project that uses historical and contemporary sources in innovative ways to generate new understandings about the role, value and meaning of children’s care through time, and importantly, offer new ideas about what children’s care could look like in the future. The project develops an innovative, interdisciplinary framework that combines approaches from historical research with creative, arts-based methods and participatory practices to provide a major cultural and affective study of children’s care between 1800-present.

Your role will focus on the collection and interpretation of historical evidence relating to children’s care between 1800-1945. This will include extensive archival, family history and genealogical research. Additionally, you will support the wider team in the delivery of collaborative research that has qualitiative, creative and participatary methods at its core.

You will join a small interdisciplinary team led by the PI, alongside an RA with expertise in qualitative research methods, and a RA with Creative Research/Arts-Based expertise. With support from the PI, you will be required to collaborate with a range of stakeholders, expected to take initiative in your work, and consult with the wider team over the details of the project. You will be expected to attend regular in-person and online project meetings, and to participate fully in the research life of the School.

The project is hosted in the School of History, Classics & Archaeology, which has a vibrant and active research culture with particular strengths in interdisciplinary working and supporting the holistic career development of early career colleagues.

You will be provided with academic and pastoral support within the School, and training will be provided to develop your competences. You will benefit from access to the School’s mentoring scheme, individual research expense allowance, extensive training opportunities including a bespoke personal development plan, and peer support from a cross disciplinary cohort of talented postdoctoral and early career researchers. Newcastle University is a signatory to the Concordat to support researchers’ career development which entitles Postdoctoral Research Associates up to 10 days annually of personal career and research development activities.

To apply, please upload an up-to-date CV and cover letter outlining how you meet the essential criteria of the job. Please also upload one writing sample (e.g. journal article, thesis chapter, or essay-in-progress) that you feel best reflects your research, preferably between 7,000-10,000 words.

Please get in touch with any informal enquiries about the role with the project’s PI - Dr Claudia Soares (claudia.soares@newcastle.ac.uk).

A successful DBS check will be a condition of appointment.

This is a fixed term role, fixed term until 29 June 2028

Key accountabilities

  • Undertaking extensive primary, archival, and policy research across the UK to consult major collections relating to children’s care between 1800-present
  • Conducting extensive genealogical research to supplement archival data and to contextualise the family social, and community histories of select research subjects
  • Producing a sample of in-depth, narrative biographies employing the use of creative research methods
  • Accurately transcribe, process and analyse data collected
  • Surveying the reseach literature and environment, understand the research challenges associated with the subject area and the project
  • Contributing to the creation of a bespoke database for project data and analysis, and developing a project website
  • Developing and maintaining collaborations and relationships with key academic and non-academic stakeholders, and research participants
  • Supporting the delivery of a participatory research programme that uses historical data to generate a new collection of data and research outputs
  • Supporting the organisation and carrying out of qualitative research carried out on set themes about everyday life and experiences of care
  • Producing high-quality publications, including (co-)authored journal articles, a (co-)edited collection, and a planned project monograph
  • Contributing to the designing and delivery of public engagement/story-telling events (e.g. learning resources, exhibitions, performances etc)
  • Supporting the organisation and carrying out of qualitative research carried out on set themes about everyday life and experiences of care
  • Performing other project-related tasks as agreed with the PI including administrative tasks (e.g. routine communications, event management and organisation, and budget and expenditure administration)

The person

Knowledge, skills and experience

  • Research expertise and background which demonstrably aligns with the project (e.g. family history/genealogical experience) and the key accountabilities of the position
  • Emerging/track record of presentations and publication of research in high-quality journals/conferences
  • Experience of carrying out archival research across a range of source material
  • Knowledge and experience of family history/genealogical methods
  • Experience of designing and delivering public engagement/academic events
  • Experience of/strong interest in using creative research and participatory methods and working at the intersection between the arts, humanities, social sciences, and health disciplines
  • The ability to undertake qualitative or mixed-methods research (e.g. interviews, ethnography, focus groups, surveys)
  • The ability to use databases (e.g. MS Excel/Access/SQL databases)
  • The ability to design and maintain a website
  • The ability and understanding of the requirements of conducting sensitive research or work with potentially vulnerable people

Attributes and behaviour

  • Outstanding organisational abilities including: time management skills, ability to prioritise workload and work to deadlines, and ability to work with initiative both independently and as part of a team
  • Ability to communicate complex information with clarity and to diverse audiences, engaging the interest and enthusiasm of the target audience
  • High level of analytical skill and problem-solving capacity
  • Awareness of the ethical issues involved in this research area with an ability to work within ethical guidelines and maintain high levels of research integrity
  • Willingness and ability to work with both academic and non-academic audiences and partners with care and sensitivity


  • Master degree and PhD near completion (Assistant Level) or an awarded PhD (Associate Level) in history. Or equivalent professional genealogical experience
  • It is important to note that the successful applicant will be required to undertake an enhanced disclosure for you from the Disclosure and Barring Service and that this will form part of the conditions of offer of employment

Newcastle University is a global University where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.

We are committed to being a fully inclusive university which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society. We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all of our employees and the communities they represent. We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from individuals who can complement our existing teams, we believe that success is built on having teams whose backgrounds and experiences reflect the diversity of our university and student population.

At Newcastle University we hold a silver Athena Swan award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. We also hold a Race Equality Charter Bronze award in recognition of our work towards tackling race inequality in higher education REC. We are a Disability Confident employer and will offer an interview to disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the role as part of the offer and interview scheme.

In addition, we are a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.