Arts Derbyshire


We are recruiting … | Derby Book Festival

We are recruiting …
Would you like to help us expand our work across local communities?
We are looking for a Community Engagement Officer to join us

Established in 2015 Derby Book Festival is now the largest and most successful literature festival in the East Midlands. We run two book festivals yearly but also have a thriving and growing community programme. You can find more information about Derby Book Festival on our website:

Derby Book Festival is looking for a highly motivated, inspiring and enthusiastic individual to join our small team on a freelance contract from March to December 2023. The Community Engagement Officer will be a self-starter who will build links between the Festival and community groups, organisations, individuals and volunteers to develop events and activities to engage them more directly with the Festival and develop our community programme.

About Derby Book Festival
The Festival’s success and reputation continues to grow with a programme of events for all ages and interests. We aim to organise another diverse, accessible and high-quality programme in 2023 with a wide range of writers, from internationally renowned authors to exciting new talent.

Building on our already successful work with schools, libraries and our Shared Reading project to support health and well-being (which is funded separately), we are committed to a programme of year-round events, activities and projects and the community programme will be key to this. We work closely with arts organisations across the city and host events at a range of venues across the city.

Purpose of the role
The Festival is keen to develop stronger links with Derby’s diverse communities and develop partnerships with local community groups and organisations to provide opportunities for creative activities around books, develop events and projects and engage people more directly with the Festival, including by becoming Festival volunteers to support Festival events.

This post would be suitable for an individual who has experience of working with local communities, developing arts projects and engaging with volunteers. The successful candidate will ideally have a good knowledge of written art forms, practices and techniques and be confident about meeting new people and enthusing them about developing links with the Festival.

The post holder will also support the main Festival events from 19 – 27 May, the weekend Autumn Edition and one-off events throughout the year.

The Community programme
In addition to holding two book festivals each year, the organisation has several projects forming the community programme. We have a successful track record in working with children and teachers in the city’s primary and secondary schools but have not yet developed the same strong links with communities. Derby is a diverse city with an estimated 180 nationalities living in Derby and, consequently, there are believed to be over 71 languages spoken in the city. The most commonly used languages other than English are Punjabi, Urdu and Polish.

We aim to support people across all communities to share the joy that books, reading and writing bring to our lives and engage them in new arts activities that they will enjoy, supporting well-being for all ages and supporting positive outcomes for young people.

Community Engagement Officer

Job Description

The Community Engagement Officer will focus on:
● building relationships with local community groups and partners across the city, in particular with diverse communities
● representing Derby Book Festival within the community
● identifying, planning and delivering a programme of workshops, events and projects reaching new audiences in communities
● supporting the management and recruitment of Festival volunteers.

Community Engagement
● Work to increase participation in creative book-related activities
● Undertake research to understand gaps in current audience engagement
● Identify barriers to participation and identify communities’ needs
● Identify and build relationships with diverse community leaders in Derby
● Develop established partnerships and seek new partnerships with stakeholders to deliver new activities
● With writers, artists and creative practitioners, develop and organise activities to engage new audiences, ensuring they are accessible for disabled participants
● Support the establishment, coordination and running of Advisory Groups on schools/children’s activities and equalities, diversity and inclusion
● Be responsible for safeguarding and ensure the implementation of Child Protection Policies across the community programme activities
● Organise the evaluation of Festival events and community activities and produce analysing outcomes for Trustees and funders
● Lead Festival events and community projects as identified by the Director
● Produce and maintain databases of community contacts
● Develop, monitor and review a community engagement programme
● Support the promotion and publicity of community engagement projects, identifying media opportunities.

● Support the recruitment of volunteers for Festival and Shared Reading groups
● Organisation and management of Lead Volunteer meetings
● Organisation of Volunteer Training sessions
● Update Volunteer Handbooks and packs
● Organisation of Volunteer equipment – Tshirts, bags and badges
● Production of Festival rota and allocation of volunteers to events
● Review volunteers’ performance at end of the Festival
● Manage Volunteers’ Facebook page

● Support the management of Festival events throughout the year.
● Any other services relevant to the broad outline and commensurate with the contract fee.

Person Specification
Essential experience
● At least 2 years experience working in an Arts, Museum, Health or Education setting
● Experience working with a range of community groups
● Ability to communicate effectively to encourage support for and participation in new community activities
● Ability to generate and follow through on ideas which will successfully deliver projects
● Awareness and understanding of equal opportunities issues
● Knowledge of the areas and communities in Derby City
● Excellent IT skills including Word and Excel, and willingness to become efficient in new systems
● Resourceful with the ability to work as part of a team or on own initiative as the situation requires.
Essential Personal Criteria
● Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills to enable you to deal with a wide range of people
● Excellent organisation, prioritisation and time management skills with a keen eye for detail
● Demonstrable sensitivity and empathy when working with volunteers and participants, including vulnerable individuals and groups
● Ability to collaborate with the Festival team and work independently.

● Experience in commissioning, collaborating with, and managing writers and creative practitioners
● Experience in recruiting and leading a volunteer team
● Experience in developing and delivering community programmes for a range of harder-to-reach audiences
● Working knowledge of Microsoft Office (including Word and Excel), Google Drive and Zoom and other learning platforms
● A love of books and an understanding of their power to inspire
● Experience in creating engaging social media content
● Project management skills.

Financial details
Type: Freelance contract
Remuneration: 80 days at a rate of £100 per day (£8,000)
Contract Period: March to December 2023 with a potential extension depending on future funding (variable working hours per week to be agreed upon)
Based at: Our office is based in Derby at 67 Bridge Street, Derby DE1 3LB, and you will be able to work from there and will be required to attend meetings there from time to time. However much of the role will be carried out in the communities and working remotely from home.
Responsible to: Director
Proposed start date: as soon as possible

How to apply
Please send a CV setting out your skills and experience plus contact details, a cover letter clearly demonstrating your suitability for the role and how you meet the person’s specifications to:
or by post (to arrive by the closing date) to Derby Book Festival, 13 Lavender Row, Derby, DE22 1DF.
Deadline for applications: 12noon on Monday 20 February
Interviews will take place on Tuesday 28 February at Derby Book Festival’s offices.

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