Imperial War Museum - Public Engagement/Learning Trustee

Body: Imperial War Museum
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Trustees receive no remuneration, except for expenses reasonably incurred in performance of their duties.
Time Requirements: Trustees are expected to allocate sufficient time: this is likely to be up to one day per month. There are four full Board meetings per year. Some additional time will be required to study papers and reports as well as to visit sites and attend events as appropriate.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    13/09/2021 at 23:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


Please note there will be a period of Recess from 22nd July - 6th September during this campaign, and subsequently the Panel sift will take place in September.


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) was founded in 1917 to record the story of the Great War.  Its remit was subsequently extended to cover the Second World War and today, IWM is the world’s leading authority on conflict and its impact focusing on Britain, its former Empire and the Commonwealth, from the First World War to the present.

It is dedicated to recording people’s experiences of modern conflict, exploring the causes of war and its impact on people’s lives.  The collections are made up of the everyday and the exceptional, drawn from people of all walks of life. They reflect the total nature of war and reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events.

IWM makes its unique collections relevant to contemporary audiences by creating vivid personal stories and powerful physical experiences that engage visitors of all ages with the issues of war and conflict across our five museums.  The Museum reflects the realities of war and challenges people to look at conflict from different perspectives.

IWM is a single institution with a single purpose, fulfilled in different ways at its different branches, both physical and virtual.   In addition to its headquarters building, IWM London, in Southwark, the Museum’s branches comprise the Churchill War Rooms and HMS Belfast in London, IWM Duxford in Cambridgeshire, and IWM North in Trafford, Greater Manchester which is housed in a stunning building by Daniel Libeskind. Alongside its conventional role as a museum, IWM is also a major national art gallery – it holds the second largest collection of 20th Century British and contemporary art in the UK – a significant national archive of written and audio-visual records, an important specialist reference library and a centre for research. 


Person Specification

Public engagement is core to the IWM remit and we have an important role to play in using our rich collections to tell remarkable stories to a full range of audiences.   Personal stories and experiences in our collections provide insight and challenge people of all ages to  look at war and conflict from different perspectives; they help to give public understanding of our past so that we can make sense of our present and help shape our future.   Narrative making and storytelling are therefore key aspects of our engagement and learning programming as we aim to bring diverse, regional and commonwealth stories to the national stage and engage new audiences, whether onsite at one of our branches or through our newly developed and growing digital programme. 

Candidates for this post should be able to demonstrate the majority of the following:

  • experience at senior leadership or strategic level in public engagement and storytelling – in areas which may include learning, events, theatre, broadcast, the wider arts or broader corporate sectors
  • an understanding of current public engagement/narrative-making practices and confidence in engaging a fully diverse range of audiences
  • an understanding of the wider IWM narrative which, reflecting the ‘Imperial’ in our name, includes stories of Legacies of Empire and the Commonwealth story

In addition, all Trustees need to demonstrate the following essential criteria:

  • a knowledge of and commitment to the IWM, and support of the purposes and values of the Museum, including its public educational purpose
  • achievement in the private, public or voluntary sectors
  • proven ability to take responsibility and demonstrate sound judgement in strategic decision making,  and take responsibility for decisions and actions
  • excellent representational and communication skills
  • a strong commitment to engaging communities outside of London, and factoring UK-wide perspectives into all decision making
  • a commitment to preserving cultural heritage, and improving education and understanding of British and World history  
  • a clear understanding of the principles of corporate governance 


Additional Information

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) helps to drive growth, enrich lives, and promote Britain abroad. We protect and promote our cultural and artistic heritage and help businesses and communities to grow by investing in innovation and highlighting Britain as a fantastic place to visit. We help to give the UK a unique advantage on the global stage, striving for economic success.

DCMS is a ministerial department, supported by 45 agencies and public bodies.

Supporting information

This process is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ (OCPA‘s) Code of Practice. All applicants are expected to have adhered to the Seven Principles of Public Life.

Eligibility Criteria

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  •       you become bankrupt or make an arrangement with a creditor
  •       your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors;
  •       you are disqualified from acting as a company director under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986;
  •       you have been convicted of a criminal offence, the conviction not being spent for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c. 53);
  •       you become subject to a debt relief order or a bankruptcy restrictions order;
  •       you fail to declare any conflict of interest.

Conflicts of Interest and Due Diligence

If you have any interests that might be relevant to the work of the IWM and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your application. If you have queries about this and would like to discuss further please contact the Public Appointments Team.

Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as members of public bodies maintain the confidence of Parliament and the public. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment, or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the Advisory Assessment Panel and provide details of the issue(s) in your application. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media.

As part of our due diligence checks we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This will include us undertaking searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. This information may be made available to the Advisory Assessment Panel and they may wish to explore issues with you should you be invited to interview. The information may also be shared with ministers and Cabinet Office.


IWM Role Spec June 2021
OCPA Complaints Procedure
Declaration of Conflicts of Interest Form
Return to Search