2 December 2013

Vacancy – Interpretation expert Albania

The project
 An interpretation specialist is needed for a training project in Gjirokastra, Albania.  This project will help local participants to conserve and interpret museum collections of unique textiles currently housed in the EthnographicMuseum in the historic city of Gjirokastra.
Gjirokastra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Southern Albania; a historic Ottoman influenced town built around a 13th century castle. Its 43,000 residents include Albanian, Greek, Vlach and Roma communities.  The area has a rich textile history, with much of the production of costume and textiles traditionally undertaken by women. However, in recent decades many of these traditional skills have been dying out. The project will be based at the Ethnographic Museum which holds outstanding costume and textile collections.  The building is currently threatened due to roof leaks and structural problems.  Likewise objects are suffering due to lack of resources. 

Our partner  organisation, is planning a project to revitalise the wool processing industry in this area. The aim of this project is to increase the quality of textile handcrafts and to develop new products based on wool that can be sold in the Artisan Centre in Gjirokastra.
In March 2013 HWB will be running a pilot project with the following key objectives:

-       Specialist training for regional museum professionals in textile conservation and interpretation; and
-       practical improvements to the historical collection of textiles in Ethnographic Museum of Gjirokastra. 

The project is made possible by a generous grant from the Clothworkers Foundation. 

HWB is currently putting together a team of volunteers who will be responsible for training individuals as well as working on practical interpretation projects on site.  The project will involve: 

-       Planning a training programme;
-       Delivering training to the course participants in the principles of interpretation and ways of engaging audiences with displays and collections;
-       Improving the interpretation of a range of textiles;
-       Engaging local craftswomen;
-       Helping to set out an achievable strategic plan for long-term interpretation in the Museum with regards to textiles;
-       Documenting work completed with reports and photography;
-       Providing insight into interpretation needs and potential follow up projects in the region; and
-       Evaluating the programme by blogging, keeping a diary, participating in follow up discussions.

Person specification
HWB is looking for highly motivated individuals who are excited about communicating interpretation across cultures and working on-site.  We are looking for applicants with relevant higher education training and substantial experience of interpretation.  The skills we are seeking include:

-       Understanding issues around the interpretation of conflict and ethnographic objects, particularly recent conflict;
-       Excellent communication skills, interpersonal and written;
-       Sensitivity to cultural difference
-       Motivated self-starters who can pitch in with a range of tasks;
-       Team players;
-       Language skills in Kosovan, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Macedonian or Albanian are not necessary, but would be an asset; and  
-       Enthusiasm for working internationally.

Heritage Without Borders values the volunteer experience.  To that end, we will equip all volunteers with detailed information about the project before going.  Volunteers must be available for a pre-departure meeting.  HWB will fund the successful applicants’ travel and subsistence costs.  HWB does not pay volunteers for their time.      
The on-site workshop will be 10 days and will take place between 31 March – 9 April.  The successful candidate must be available for the duration of the project.  Travel to and from Gjirokastra may require additional days before and after the project.  These will be confirmed at a later date in cooperation with the successful candidates.     

How to apply
UK residents only are eligible to apply
Submit a CV and covering letter via email
Deadline:  6 December 2013
Any questions about the role can be emailed to: info@heritagewithoutborders.org

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