Royal Armouries - Academic Trustee

Body: Royal Armouries
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: Meetings will take place at the three museum sites - Leeds, Fort Nelson and the Tower of London (remotely at present).
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The position is not remunerated, but reasonable expenses are paid.
Time Requirements: Trustees need to commit around eight days a year to the Royal Armouries, in addition to reading and attending other meetings and events on occasion.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Professor Steven Gunn has been appointed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as Research/Academic Trustee of the Royal Armouries for a four year period from 1 March 2021 to 28 February 2025.

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Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    31/10/2020 at 23:00

  • Panel Sift

    w/c 16th November

  • Final Interview Date

    w/c 14th December

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

  • John Procter

    Chair, Royal Armouries • Representative of Organisation

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  • Alex Howell

    Deputy Director, DCMS • Departmental Official

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  • Iwona Blazwick OBE

    Independent Member

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Vacancy Description

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is seeking to appoint an outstanding individual to join the Board of Trustees of the Royal Armouries. Applications are welcomed from underrepresented groups to ensure the Royal Armouries reflects the diverse society it serves. This is an exciting period in Royal Armouries’ history, which, having recently transformed its commercial operations, is now making important progress in many areas and developing an ambitious Master Plan.

The Royal Armouries is one of the most important museums of its type in the world. Its origins lie in the Middle Ages, and at its core is the celebrated collection originating in the nation’s working arsenal, assembled over many centuries at the Tower of London. In the reign of Elizabeth I, selected items began to be arranged for display to visitors, making the Royal Armouries heir to one of the oldest deliberately-created visitor attractions in the country, and in all but name its oldest public museum. 

The collection of c.75,000 objects and 500,000 archive items – apart from the c.2,400 loans to other bodies – is now displayed and housed not only at the Tower of London but also at the purpose-built museum in Leeds and at Fort Nelson, near Portsmouth. Since 2005 the museum has also managed the collection of small arms assembled since the early 17th century by the British armed forces (the former Pattern Room), now also in Leeds, and known as the National Firearms Centre.

More information, including the Royal Armouries’ Corporate Plan 2019-24 and the Annual Report and Accounts for 2018/19 can be found at: and


Person Specification

In their application, candidates will need to demonstrate how they meet the majority of the following essential criteria:


  • Personal expertise and a track record of publication in aspects of history – European or otherwise – of relevance to the activities and ambitions of the Royal Armouries;
  • Experience of developing and managing major research projects and programmes and disseminating the results;
  • An understanding of the role and potential of museums in providing an education service;
  • An understanding of the role of material culture and its study in historical research; 
  • Experience of obtaining external funding to support research, including from the AHRC; 
  • The capacity to develop collaboration with higher education institutions and other bodies as appropriate; 
  • A sharp, critical and constructive eye for the highest intellectual standards, evidenced by related writing and communication and;
  • A commitment to preserving cultural heritage in its place.

While recognising that no one person will offer skill and expertise in all the areas listed below, the Royal Armouries would be interested in candidates who also demonstrate the following desirable criteria:


  • A broad grasp of world history with particular reference to conflict and its consequences; 
  • Profound expertise in an aspect or aspects of the history of warfare;
  • Expertise in an aspect or aspects of the history of arms and armour; 
  • Employment by, or formal and active connections with, an institute of Higher Education;
  • Experience of and success in popularising history for non-specialist audiences;
  • A high media and public profile and;
  • Experience of the role and potential of museums in providing an education service.


Additional Information

In the broadest terms, in addition to participating in the general business of the Board, the appointee will take an interest in and provide appropriate support to the achievement of the following Objectives in the Royal Armouries 2019-24 Corporate Plan. 

Objective 1.3: Expand the range and quality of the education programme at Leeds and Fort Nelson to provide learning opportunities for visitors of all ages; 

Objective 1.9: Continue to extend the publishing programme to engage national and international audiences with Royal Armouries’ expertise; 

Objective 2.2: Make appropriate investment in storage, conservation, library, archive and research facilities at all sites, taking in to account the development and outcomes of The Master’s Plan; 

Objective 2.3:  Publish and implement the Royal Armouries’ Research Strategy, identifying the main themes of investigation in the plan period and how it will support the development of the public offer; 

Objective 2.4: Promote the development of an international Research Framework for arms and armour research; 

Objective 2.5: Seek Independent Research Organisation (IRO) status and use to maximum advantage; 

Objective 2.7: Develop international arms and armour and collections management related training, consultancy and knowledge exchange programme; 

Objective 2.11: Develop a programme for the dissemination of the Royal Armouries’ research output.


How to Apply

To apply, please send the following four documents:

  • a CV of not more than two sides of A4;
  • a supporting statement of not more than three sides of A4, providing examples and setting out how you meet the criteria;
  • the Diversity Monitoring Form concerning your personal information and political activity, and the Declaration of Interests Form.

Completed applications should be emailed to Please put ‘Royal Armouries Trustee’ as the subject line of your email. 

If you have any questions regarding your application please contact the Campaign Manager, Rhianna Bridgewater, via email at Each application will be assessed against the requirements set out above by the advisory assessment panel.

We guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the role. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence in your application, which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria. If you want to apply under this scheme, simply state this in the covering email or letter when submitting your application.

If you would like a confidential discussion regarding any reasonable adjustments during the process, please also indicate this in the covering email or letter. The closing date for applications is 31st October at 23:00. 


Royal Armouries Trustee - Role Spec
Diversity Monitoring Form
Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies
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