Heritage Without Borders relies on the work of its volunteers to run its projects. Below you will find any current volunteer opportunities. Please contact Dominica D'Arcangelo for more information and to apply.

CONSERVATION volunteer - Kazakhsthan

Heritage Without Borders is pleased to announce a vacancy for one lead object conservator for a project in Otrar, South Kazakhstan.  The project is being run in partnership with UCL QatarThe Centre for Applied Archaeology, UCL and Archaeological Expertise in Kazakhstan.  
The dates of the project are 4 weeks in May 2016.   
Aims and objectives:
The overall aims of the project are to carry out practical conservation tasks alongside the training of local participants and UCL Qatar conservation students.  With a strong focus on preventive conservation and first aid for finds, objectives of the 4-week project include: 

  • Evaluating conservation needs on site and prioritising workflow and transfer knowledge about how this is done;
  • Carrying out practical work to conserve archaeological finds whilst building local capacity in conservation on site and in the local museum; and
  • Scoping out future and ongoing conservation needs

Conservation and capacity-building activities would take place in at least two locations:

  • The regional museum in Shymkent;
  • The majority of the project and capacity building activities will be spent on site at Otrar.

The team will travel to Otrar via Almaty. In Almaty, the team will work in the well-equipped conservation labs of Archaeological Expertise and of the Margulan Institute of Archaeology.    ‘Collaboration’ is a central tenant of HWB projects.  HWB volunteers will support their international colleagues through the provision of best practice advice whilst learning about local approaches to conservation.    
The HWB team will travel to the regional museum in Shymkent to assist with their urgent needs. HWB is aware that, in addition to conservation, the local and regional museums are in need of support in the areas of public outreach work, effective cataloguing and long-term archiving.  It is proposed that HWB volunteers capture these needs in order to provide some support in these areas in future years.  This team member will also be tasked with discussing and assessing skill gaps so that in future we can run a more targeted capacity building project on those topics too. 
The team will work on site at Otrar for approximately four weeks.  Most of the practical activities will take place on-site at Otrar and at the local museum. The local museum holds a large collection of finds from several key sites from the area – which are in need of object conservation support. The majority of activities will take place at the museum premises and in the archaeological base camp adjacent to the museum. It is anticipated that ongoing archaeological excavations at Otrar   will result in fresh finds. The team will work closely with the group of local specialists and the local post-graduate students.  The primary activities will include building capacity in preventative conservation; this will also include first aid for finds and effective packaging for long-term storage. 
The team will stabilise and pack small finds that need urgent attention. ‘Small finds’ comprised of a variety of materials, both organic and inorganic, and especially vulnerable copper-alloy objects. The focus of the ongoing excavations in the area is on the early Islamic period and as late as the 18thcentury; the excavations deliver diverse range of new finds every season.
HWB is currently putting together a team of 2 volunteers who will be responsible for training individuals as well as carrying out preventive and remedial conservation whilst on-site during the project.  The project will involve: 

  • helping to plan the day-to-day training programme;
  • delivering preventive conservation training to participants;
  • Improving storage and packing of a range of object types;
  • helping to set out an achievable strategic plan for long-term object storage;
  • carrying out basic remedial conservation;
  • documenting work completed with reports and photography;
  • providing insight into suitable follow-on projects in the region; and
  • evaluating the programme by blogging, keeping a diary, participating in follow up discussions.

Person specification
HWB is looking for highly motivated individuals who are excited about communicating conservation and working on-site.  We are looking for applicants with relevant higher education training in conservation.  The skills we are seeking include:

  • understanding of the technology and conservation of a range of archaeological objects in various materials;
  • excellent communication skills, interpersonal and written;
  • sensitivity to cultural difference
  • motivated self-starters who can pitch in with a range of tasks;
  • team players;
  • adaptable approach to working on site in challenging conditions;
  • language skills in Russian or Kazakh are not necessary, but would be an asset; and  
  • enthusiasm for working internationally.

Heritage Without Borders values the volunteer experience.  To that end, we will equip all volunteers with detailed information about the project before going.  Volunteers must be available for a pre-departure meeting.  HWB will fund the successful applicants’ travel and subsistence costs.   
The project will take place in May.  Timings TBC.  The successful candidates must be available for the duration of the project. 
How to apply
Submit a CV and covering letter via email:  dominica@heritagewithoutborders.org
Deadline:  31 March 2016.
Any questions about the role can be emailed to: dominica@heritagewithoutborders.org