We’re looking for someone…is it you?

Are you a brilliant person who can make creative things happen, while supporting artists to experiment with, and develop, their ideas?

Are you interested in work with artists and communities that is at once local and place-based, but also deals with much bigger, universal issues?

Do you agree that artists have a social and civic responsibility to the places and communities where they live and make work?

Are you interested in how artists respond to the problems facing humanity: in exploring what an arts organisation’s role might be in fighting against climate change – and for social justice?

Has the pandemic made you think hard about what happens next and how artists might lead on imagining & building a better future?

We are looking for someone to join our small and friendly staff team as we grow a creative community at The Nest, our new HQ in Coventry. We have imagined this role as Nest Community Connector, but we want to work with the right person, and this means that the role, title and terms of employment are open for discussion. To begin with, we are looking for someone to join us 3 days a week for nine months – but we’re growing and changing at the moment and we hope to be able to make this a much longer term thing.

You can view or download the recruitment pack below (PDF format). A text only version is pasted in lower down this page, or if you’d prefer the information in another format, please let us know.


Who are we looking for?

First and foremost we are looking for someone who is excited by this brief, by the possibilities it holds and who would like to get stuck in – who is excited by the fact that everything is fluid and not yet pinned down. Someone who can’t wait to come and join us in Coventry, can see the huge possibilities of The Nest and wants to be a key part in making it a success for our city.

We’ve made a list of the qualities we are looking for, but we know that the right person may not have every single one of these – and will likely have more useful qualities that we haven’t even listed – but if you read this and think it sounds like you, then please consider applying.

We are looking for someone who:

  • likes people and is a generous collaborator, a good listener, is quick thinking and good at working with others to make interesting things happen.
  • is able to recognise the best idea in the room and work with that, even (and maybe especially) when it isn’t their idea.
  • is really curious about how and why, and is interested in change.
  • can think practically and strategically, loves to solve problems and wants to help make the world a better place.
    can hold a conversation with anyone, and make them feel confident they are being listened to, that their words matter.
  • knows how to gently question or challenge an idea or viewpoint from a position of care, and can inspire others to work with them to achieve something really special.
  • can bring something, in their skillset and lived experience, to the team that we don’t already have.
  • knows that sometimes something needs doing in a particular way whilst at others it is appropriate to challenge how things are done; and can just get stuck in and finish the job when that’s what is needed.

The kind of person:

  • whose values are important to them, and which chime with our own (Kindness, Brilliance, Transformation, Curiosity, Wellbeing, Collaboration) and with our ‘six big ideas’ (about artist process & support; access & participation; climate conscience; agency, equity & diversity; nurture & resilience) – which weave through our work, guiding our choices and interactions.
  • who is interested in people power, cultural democracy, collective decision making and the positive transformation that groups of people working together can effect, especially through the arts and culture.
  • who believes that artists have a responsibility to their communities and their cities, and that small and agile, but connected, organisations working strategically can affect big and meaningful change.

We think that the person we are looking for might previously have worked (maybe in the arts, events, charity or community sectors) in a job called something like ‘Producer’ or ‘Creative Agent’ or ‘Changemaker’ or ‘Project Coordinator’ or ‘Project Manager’ or ‘Community Activator’ or ‘Community Engagement Instigator’ (or maybe something else!). In the kind of job that is as much about envisioning the future as seeing something through – we are looking for someone who is as good on fine detail as on the big picture, and is comfortable with – and excited by – change.

Other skills that might be useful include:

  • is comfortable managing/tracking project budgets.
  • is able to reflect on how a project has gone, gather everyone’s viewpoints and fold that learning into working out what happens next.

What will we be working on?

This is a big and busy nine months for Talking Birds, and for Coventry as it becomes UK City of Culture. As we’ve mentioned, our biggest project is The Nest, a brand new home for the company – somewhere to build our climate-conscious creative community and make a hub for the wider independent artists’ community in Coventry. Within The Nest there will be co-working and meeting spaces in addition to studio spaces for artists undertaking Nest Residencies, which prioritise d/Deaf, disabled and locally-based artists, providing space and support to experiment with those ‘what if…?’ ideas.

We know there will be lots to do in inhabiting our building for the first time and in creating the right spaces and atmosphere – and much of that is about the care and attention of our team. Alongside this, we will be opening up the Nest Residency Programme again and working towards the delivery, in November, of our major creative project for City of Culture.

Specific jobs might include:

  • Artist development and support at The Nest: you might lead on the co-ordination of co-working sessions, and the team’s support for artists undertaking Nest Residencies.
  • Festival of Transition: you might be the main point of contact in the team for artists and the co-ordinator of a series of talks/events.
  • Art for the People: you might be a key creative collaborator in the shaping and coordination of this major arts and social democracy project.
  • Inclusion and Relevance: you might take the lead on connecting and extending our key strands of work around access and diversity.
  • Nestival: you might be a key creative collaborator involved in developing and producing projects in preparation for a year-long programme of creative work marking Talking Birds’ 30th anniversary in 2022.
  • Shape and influence the company’s projects, systems and future direction as a new team member with a fresh perspective.

Our working hours are pretty variable and flexible. They are often shaped around the needs of a project, but also around the other responsibilities that our team have elsewhere, like caring responsibilities or other part time work – we plan as a team to find a balance that works. We will be happy to explore different working patterns that work for the company and our new team member.

This is a part-time role and the salary will be pro rata of £26,000 per year (£15,600 per year for a 0.6 FTE role) – which for the 9 month period of this contract is £11,700. For more details, see ‘Terms and Conditions’ below.

How to apply:

If you think you might be the person we are looking for, then please send an email (up to 500 words) or a video (up to 3 minutes long) along with a CV or list of recent work to talkingbirdscoventry@gmail.com

In your email or video, please let us know:

  • What is exciting for you about this proposition?
  • And why do you think this is the role for you?
  • What will you particularly bring to Talking Birds (and Coventry)?

Closing date for applications: Friday 4th June

Interviews: Thursday 10th June on Zoom. Although many Covid restrictions will have relaxed by this point, we have taken the decision not to schedule in-person interviews at this time. Other arrangements can be made if this is not a suitable medium for you. If you’d be unable to attend during the week but would need an evening or weekend interview, please mention this in your application. We will share the questions with all interviewees before the interview date.

The interview panel will be Janet Vaughan (Co-Artistic Director), Sujana Uphadyay-Crawford and Jess Pinson (Board Members).

Questions about this role
We’ve tried to take care with the language in this job call out, and to write it in an open, accessible and equitable way – but if anything isn’t clear, or you’d like to chat with someone before applying, we’re really happy to talk to you. Please email talkingbirdscoventry@gmail.com and leave your name, details with the best way/time to contact you – and one of us will be in touch.

Positive Action Statement
Like many artist-led organisations, we are working to better represent the UK’s wide wealth of lived experience. Whilst we feel we have made progress with the diversity of the artists we work with and with the make up of our Board, our core staff team is less ethnically diverse than it might be. Therefore we are particularly keen to attract applicants who identify as something other than white British.

We advocate for greener/active travel wherever possible, and this role will be based at The Nest in Coventry, which is a 20 minute walk from Coventry city centre – or a 10 minute cycle (a docking station for the West Midlands Cycle Hire (Beryl app) network is 100m away on Sandy Lane). We have pedestrian access from the canal towpath or from Sandy Lane, which is also well connected to the local bus network. There is ample bike parking on site and two car parking spaces, which are reserved for those for whom travelling without their car would be a barrier to accessing the building.

Terms and conditions
This is initially a temporary contract for nine months. We hope – subject to successful fundraising – to extend this.

The role is part time – pro rata 0.6 of a full time equivalent (FTE) working week of 37.5 hours (i.e. 3 days / 22.5 hours a week). We are open to flexible working patterns (by agreement) and committed to family-friendly working. Some non-usual hours may be required depending on projects, possibly including at weekends or evenings,
by prior arrangement.

Salary will be pro rata of £26,000 per year (£15,600 per year for a 0.6 FTE role) – which for the 9 month period of this contract is £11,700. There will be 11.25 days of paid holiday per year over the 9 month period of this contract (pro rata of 25 day FTE per year). In addition, there is entitlement to the usual public holidays in England and Wales on a pro rata basis, normally to be taken in the week of each bank holiday.

Reasonable time off in lieu (at a time agreed with the Artistic Directors or General Manager), will be granted for excess hours worked. Occasionally, by agreement, additional pay may be offered instead of time off in lieu.

Talking Birds has a company pension which the postholder will be eligible to join. Employer contributions will be 3% and employee contributions 5%. Employees may opt out of this if they wish.

There will be a probationary period of 2 months.

There may be some flexibility around the number of hours and/or salary for the right candidate.

More info
You can find out more about us at www.talkingbirds.co.uk – we are in the middle of making a new website to launch with the opening of The Nest, but hopefully the current one will give you enough of an idea about us and our work. If you have any problems with getting in touch via our email address, please use the contact form on the website.

We have proof-read this pack about 5000 times, but please forgive us if you spot any errors… 😉

The Nest (left) and the Daimler Powerhouse beyond.

*This page was edited on Fri 14th May to change the email address for questions and applications because the previous email address was not working consistently.