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UKRI GCRF Living Deltas Hub: Postdoctoral Research Associate (Oral History)

Requisition ID:  1162

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Posted Date:  20-Nov-2019

We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


Salary: £30,942.00 - £44,045.00 

Closing Date: 20 December 2019


The role

To develop and support participatory oral history research as part of the international, multi-institutional UKRI GCRF Living Deltas Research Hub (www.livingdeltas.org). The post holder will work under the direct supervision of Professor Graham Smith at Newcastle University and in close collaboration with colleagues (UK and overseas) from across the Living Deltas Hub, which operates a model of equitable partnership with delta-dwellers and the research community. The PDRA will require expert knowledge of participatory oral history, or related participatory research, in different cultural, geographic and economic contexts. Applications are particularly welcome from researchers who have undertaken participatory and oral history work in humanitarian and development contexts.


The PDRA will principally work on Work Package 1 (Heritage, Livelihoods and Delta Living: past, presents and alternative futures) and collaborate with colleagues and partners in South Asia and South East Asia to develop research which builds new knowledge of the lived experiences of delta dwellers and develops resources and approaches which enable delta dwellers’ voices, experiences and ideas to be heard and recognised by policy makers and wider stakeholders.


The successful candidate will contribute to the formulation and submission of research publications and research proposals, as well as help manage and direct aspects of the project as opportunities allow.


The UKRI GCRF Living Deltas Hub

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund to address the global issues faced by developing countries. GCRF harnesses expertise of the UK’s world-leading researchers to promote the dignity and prosperity for some of the most disadvantaged and hardest to reach people on our planet. The sheer scale and ambition of GCRF initiatives is what makes them so exciting, with researchers working in partnership with governments, community groups and international agencies across 85 countries. Each Hub has the potential to transform the quality of life for significant numbers of people across the world and help safeguard our planet for future generations.

Focusing on the Red River and Mekong deltas in Vietnam and the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta in Bangladesh and India, the Living Deltas Hub’s core aim is a significant contribution to better sustainable development outcomes for developing countries in the region, transforming policy and practice based on new approaches to understanding delta change. The Hub will address the significant social-ecological challenges currently confronting these delta systems in a transdisciplinary manner that responds to the interlinked agenda of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Hub is coordinated in Newcastle University and has over 20 partners across the delta regions and the rest of the world.


The successful applicant will work within the Oral History Unit and at Collective in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Newcastle. The Unit consists of a core group of oral historians who conduct research in a range of settings, seeking to use oral history as an evidential tool as a way of responding to societal and global challenges. Collectively we work together with colleagues in other disciplines under the common theme of social historical justice. See https://research.ncl.ac.uk/oralhistory/


The post is fixed term, for three years.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to graham.smith@newcastle.ac.uk


Key Accountabilities

  • Scope relevant literature, activities and practice to inform and strengthen the use of oral history within the Living Deltas Hub.
  • Together with Living Deltas partners and Co-Is, design and coordinate participatory oral history across multiple sites in Bangladesh, India and Vietnam.
  • Contribute to the design and delivery of appropriate capacity development and training of younger and older people, including through the development of events such as ‘Summer Schools’, and their associated curricula and resources.
  • Ensure that the oral history component of WP1: draws on the experience of successful intergenerational programmes and adopts an intergenerational and ageing focus, reflecting the strategic approach of WP1; contributes to agreed long-term objectives of WP1; and is in line with the overall aims of the Living Deltas Hub.
  • Undertake a small number of oral history interviews with English-speaking representatives of project stakeholders and support other PDRAs/Co-Is to do the same.
  • Process interview data for curation and archiving.
  • Co-ordinate your own work with that of other PDRAs employed on the Living Deltas Hub and facilitate the incorporation of your research into the wider Hub aims, with corresponding integrated research / policy outputs.
  • Maintain accurate, secure, detailed and up-to-date records for all work carried out under the Living Deltas Hub, including working with established work plans and Hub logframes.
  • Present information on research progress and outcomes at an annual Living Deltas Hub meeting and to groups overseeing the research project. This will include contributing to the identification and development of relevant impact pathways.
  • Write up results from your own research activity and provide input into the research project’s dissemination, in a variety of forms (reports, journal articles, chapters, book).
  • Co-ordinate your own work with that of other Hub researchers, deal with issues that may affect the achievement of research objectives and contribute to the wider achievement of the Hub’s aims.
  • Comply with University policies, including financial regulations, equal opportunities policy, Health & Safety policy, promoting race equality policy, information systems security policy, data security, intellectual property rights and safeguarding policies.
  • Engage in personal, professional and career development, to enhance both specialist and transferable skills in accordance with desired career trajectory.
  • Carry out other duties, commensurate with the grade of the post, as requested by the project.


The Person (Essential)

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Experience of designing and coordinating participatory research and/or communications initiatives, ideally across multiple sites. 
  • Experience of training and supporting others in participatory oral history.
  • Awareness of the opportunities and challenges of processing (document, analyse, communicate) qualitative text, audio and visual data generated by community researchers and the related layers of translation required.
  • Proficiency in IT, including extensive use of word processing and excel.
  • It is desirable to have knowledge of the challenges facing delta dwellers in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam: environmental, social and economic.
  • It is desirable to have experience and knowledge of oral history and related participatory research methods being used to understand and address environmental change, poverty and marginalisation.
  • It is desirable to have previous facilitation experience, especially with younger and/or older people.
  • It is desirable to have experience of working in partnership with individuals and organisations in developing countries.
  • It is desirable to have experience of safeguarding policies in a development context.
  • It is desirable to have experience of speaking/reading/writing using any of the local languages in the delta.

Attributes and Behaviour

  • Ability to use initiative and creativity to design and implement effective and ethical, community-based, participatory oral history.
  • Abilitity to understand and contribute to the development of oral history theory and practice.
  • Work effectively in a research team, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of others to help teamwork development.
  • Ability to work flexibly according to the needs of the project
  • Willingness to travel internationally, including residential fieldwork
  • Ability to work with a wide range of researchers in often unfamiliar situations



  • PhD or equivalent professional experience in oral history and/or participatory research in the context of different contexts.
  • A good first degree.

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.


Requisition ID: 1162