Vacancy: Secretary for Professional Engagement, RHS Council

The Royal Historical Society seeks to create a new position on its Council, the Society’s governing body which currently comprises a total of 22 Officers and Councillors who are trustees of the RHS.

The new post — Secretary for Professional Engagement — will sit as an Officer on Council and attend Council meetings. The new Secretary for Professional Engagement will take up the post from 1 January 2022.

The appointment is for a two-year term, with possibility of renewal up to four years, and is part of a review of the Society’s governance to focus on areas of key importance to the discipline at this time. Applicants must be Fellows of the Royal Historical Society.

About the role

The role of Secretary for Professional Engagement is designed to develop the Society’s links with professional historians at all career stages, and especially with younger and early career historians who have not yet attained fellowship status.  The role holder will work closely with the President, Academic Director and CEO (currently vacant) in order to provide strategic leadership for the Society in this sphere through the development of training events, networking opportunities, and other activities of their own design. 

The RHS has recently begun an annual programme of training workshops for early career historians to cover topics related to Teaching, Researching, Communicating, Publishing and Career Development. The Secretary for Professional Engagement will contribute ideas for this programme, and help us create similar opportunities for RHS Fellows at later career stages and who work outside Higher Education. The Secretary for Professional Engagement will also contribute to the Society’s annual Heads of Department meeting.

The RHS is governed by Council, which determines all strategic policy, creates and oversees its committees, appoints the Presidents and Officers, manages the Society’s finances and its award of grants and prizes, determines the editors of its various publications, and directs relations with the Society’s members. The new Secretary is expected to play his/her part in these spheres of activity. He/she will also help the RHS realise its ambitions to make the Society a more inclusive organisation that reflects the diverse career trajectories facing new entrants to the profession in the UK today. We are seeking a dynamic individual, initially and principally, to engage with and advocate for postgraduate, early career and as-yet unpublished historians, and on behalf of the Society.


Suitable candidates for this role will likely have had prior involvement in a similar historical organisation, especially in its strategic development, policy and committee work, or to have held a leadership, creative or organisation position in an academic department, possibly with a focus on the specific needs of historians at earlier stages of their training or career. Applicants must be Fellows of the Royal Historical Society.

The role requires a time-commitment of up to two days per month. Owing to the Society’s charitable status, the role is unremunerated. The Society is looking for someone who can offer creative ideas and connections, who will contribute to the design and running of training events, and speak to this subject on the RHS Council. The Society employs a small, highly skilled staff and works with an external events contractor who will provide full administrative support to assist the role-holder in the execution of his/her duties. The operational work of planning and managing events will be run through the RHS Office, working with the new Secretary for Professional Engagement who’ll bring academic and disciplinary focus to the design of our training programme.

The Society is looking for someone who is willing and able:

  • to make a creative and positive contribution to the Society’s relationship with its members, particularly with a view to forging new relationships with those yet to attain fellowship status
  • to play an active role in designing and chairing regular training events for postgraduate and postdoctoral historians
  • to help the RHS develop future initiatives and to promote postgraduate, postdoctoral, and early career historians’ engagement with the Society
  • to help develop professional development opportunities across the wider RHS membership, including for later career Fellows and those working in related fields outside of higher education
  • to attend Council and relevant committees and participate in the associated workload
Application Process

Submission must be made via the Society’s applications platform.

Those interested in making an application will be asked to provide:

  • a CV (no more than 3 pages)
  • a letter / statement outlining their ability to perform the role and relevant experience
  • a 500-word statement indicating their vision for the role
  • the names of two referees. We will not contact referees without prior permission.

Informal enquiries about the role may be made to: Professor Emma Griffin (

Questions about the application process may be sent to:

The deadline for applications is: 11:59 PM, Friday 24 September 2021.