We’re recruiting!

Are you interested in LGBTQ+ history, and want to help raise awareness of the experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the South West?

The Section 28 and its afterlives project team is recruiting volunteers to conduct oral history interviews with LGBTQ+ people in the South West about their experiences of Section 28. 

This is an exciting opportunity for young volunteers to get involved in an LGBTQ+ heritage project about experiences and legacies of Section 28 in the South West. 

Volunteers will conduct oral history interviews with LGBTQ+ people in the South West,  documenting their experiences of the impact of Section 28. Introduced in 1988, Section 28 was a piece of homophobic legislation that banned local authorities from ‘promoting homosexuality’, particularly in school settings. The oral histories will be used to raise awareness of Section 28, and archived for posterity so the voices of the LGBTQ+ people that Section 28 tried to silence can be heard, acknowledged, and put on the historical record. 

You can find more information on the project, including the oral histories conducted over summer 2023 and used in an exhibition to mark the twentieth anniversary of the repeal of Section 28 in November, on our website.

What you’ll be expected to do

With support from the project team, volunteers will have responsibility for:

  • Undertaking oral history and LGBTQ+ awareness training before conducting interviews
  • Setting up interviews with members of the LGBTQ+ community, preferably in person but if necessary remotely via Teams, in a way that is mutually convenient and safe
  • Preparing for and conducting recorded oral history interviews in an ethical and professional manner
  • Ensuring that recordings and any automatically generated transcripts are promptly and securely deposited on the project shared folder
  • Following up with interviewees afterwards as appropriate 

Volunteers will receive supervision and mentoring from the project co-leads (Dr Helen Birkett, Dr Chris Sandal-Wilson, and Dr Hannah Young), who will work with volunteers to identify, contact, and set up interviews with individuals from the LGBTQ+ community in the South West, and will provide meetings and support as appropriate.

Volunteers will need to attend a day of training on Friday 8 March between 9.30am and 4.30pm on the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus. This will consist of LGBTQ+ training delivered by our project partners at the Intercom Trust, and oral history training, including hands-on practice, delivered by the Oral History Society. Refreshments will be provided and any travel expenses can be reimbursed on request. 

The project team will reimburse any reasonable expenses incurred by volunteers conducting in-person interviews, including travel costs and refreshments. Recording equipment will be sourced and provided by the project team, to be loaned out to volunteers.

The time commitment for this volunteering role is flexible, apart from the training day, and so long as all interviews are conducted before the end of August 2024. We anticipate that each volunteer is likely to conduct two or three interviews, to be scheduled at mutually convenient times with interviewees.

Who we’re looking for 

We welcome expressions of interest from volunteers from all backgrounds, and are committed to inclusion and respect, particularly but not only in relation to LGBTQ+ identities. We expect volunteers to share this commitment to inclusion and respect.

Because the project aims to create opportunities for intergenerational LGBTQ+ dialogue, we particularly welcome expressions of interest from volunteers who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community and are aged between 18 and 25. 

Ideally, volunteers will have the following skills and personal qualities:

  • A commitment to and an enthusiasm for LGBTQ+ community history
  • Good communication skills, verbal as well as in writing
  • Compassionate and empathetic approach to sensitive conversations
  • Willingness to learn from oral history training and mentorship
  • Comfortable taking initiative and working independently as well as under supervision
  • Well-organised, detail-oriented, and responsive to emails
  • An ideal candidate may also already have some knowledge, including from lived experience, of LGBTQ+ history or contemporary LGBTQ+ issues

How to apply

To apply to be an oral history volunteer with the Section 28 and its afterlives project, please fill out the MS Form linked here before midday on Monday 12 February.

We will be in touch by email with all applicants within ten days of the deadline about next steps.

If you have any questions or want to discuss the role before applying, please get in touch with the project team at section28anditsafterlives@exeter.ac.uk.

Thank you for your interest in this role!