Development Director - The Common Room of the Great North and Great North Institute

Job description

The Common Room of the Great North Ltd. is seeking to appoint a Director to head the project from August 2017 through to the 150th anniversary of the building in 2022, Initial 5-year contract.

The post will be supported by the Legacy Director of the NEIMME, Peter Stark, the existing team and new appointments in events administration and programme coordination until July 2018.

Key Responsibilities (2017-2019)


  1. To lead GNI through its initial development phase as it prepares to receive the transfer of the assets of building, collection and staff from the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers (NEIMME) and to develop and submit a Phase 2 ‘Delivery’ application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure the £4.1m allocated under the terms of the NEIMME August 2016 application for a Heritage Grant[1]


  1. To deliver a capital fundraising strategy and raise the additional funds needed to: complete the renovation and conversion of the building; the preservation, cataloguing and digitization of the collection; the ongoing costs of the project whilst out of the building and an initial period of underpinning support for the new programme after re-opening


  1. To develop and implement a Business Plan for GNI (and its wholly owned trading subsidiary Common Room Trading) to deliver sufficient annual surpluses to sustain a core GNI programme in the building, in the region and on line internationally


  1. To recruit affiliated or associated regional, national and international organisations and to consult them on the development of a core programme for GNI that explores the global as well as regional consequences of the industrial revolution that began - and ended – here and that addresses the future of the North-East region and its people and communities.


  1. To lead on the Institute’s detailed programme for The Great Exhibition of the North, for the programme ‘on line and on the road in the region’ during the building programme in 2018/19 and for the re-opening and subsequent programmes in the restored building.

Key Tasks

  1. To formulate and propose a reviewed and or revised overall development strategy to the reopening of the building in 2019 and beyond based on a successful Phase 2 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

  2. To carry lead responsibility for all aspects of the Phase 2 application supported by the NEIMME staff, led by the Legacy Director and professional team

  3. To support and – where identified as appropriate - lead the implementation of the capital fundraising strategy to raise the balance of funds required.

  4. To support NEIMME and the work of its Legacy Director as its new role is developed and – in particular - to facilitate and negotiate the smooth and secure transfer of assets of building, collection and staff to GNI with a target of no later than July 2018.

  5. To lead directly on the preparation of the Activity Plan for the HLF application (focused on the programme after re-opening) supported by NEIMME staff and consultants and to integrate this with the detailed definition and implementation of the Institute’s programme contributions to the Great Exhibition of the North (in close liaison with the NEIMME Legacy Director)

  6. To be responsible for the integration of the illustrated and planned future programme with both Business Planning and the detailed work on design, construction, cost and operational modelling of the design team (taking over the management responsibility for these two major areas of work from the NEIMME Legacy Director).

  7. To oversee the programme – led by the NEIMME Librarian and the Collections Working Group - to conserve, digitise, catalogue, accredit, transfer and promote the NEIMME/GNI Archive and Library Collections.

  8. To service the work of the GNI Board and ensure the servicing of any other governance structures that the Board might create


All staff/freelance contractors are expected to:

  • Positively support equality of opportunity and equity of treatment of colleagues in accordance with the Diversity Policy/statement

Help maintain a safe working environment by attending training in Health and Safety requirements as necessary and following local safe working practices and the Health and Safety Policy.


Person Specification


Sectoral and locational knowledge and experience

Sector specific knowledge of a high order in at least one area of activity such as heritage, culture, science, technology, environment, education, economic or social development.

A broad knowledge of the North East of England in terms of its politics, economy, society, environment and history.

Experience of delivering effective projects to promote the wellbeing and success of particular communities or sectors.

Experience of working with industry and the private sector

Leadership experience and organisational skills

Experience of the promotion and leadership of organisations in the cultural and/or private sector.

Experience of bringing a new and high profile project into successful existence.

Experience of the management of complex organisations combining public benefit with business success.

Programming and budgets

Experience and skills in originating, developing, promoting and delivering programmes of activity to deliver public benefit in areas such as heritage, culture, science, technology, environment, education, economic or social development.

Experience of delivering such programmes to budget


Experience and skills in attracting funds whether for capital projects or ongoing activities or in sponsorship for specific programme elements

Management experience and skills

Experience of the management of staff and volunteers in a demanding operational cultural environment.

Financial, budgetary and financial management and administrative skills of a high order and experience in reporting to voluntary governance structures and funders.

Presentational and negotiating skills and experience

Excellent communication skills in writing and as an advocate. Significant experience and proven skills as a negotiator.

Qualifications / training

A relevant first degree or equivalent professional experience.

Personal Attributes

A commitment to the future of the North East of England, its people, communities and heritage.




Knowledge of charitable and company law.

Experience of cultural venue operation, design and management

Lottery Project management

Experience of contributing to or undertaking the production of Lottery applications and of the management of Lottery Funds.

Archives, collections and Libraries

Knowledge and experience of working with archives, libraries and collections

Sector specific experience

Knowledge and experience of industry and engineering

Programme content

Research experience and publication



£44,920 per annum, paid monthly in arrears

Full/Part Time: 
Full Time

Recruiter information

The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers (NEIMME) has been allocated £4.7m by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with £600,000 of the allocation now available at Phase 1 to produce a fully-costed design, construction methodology, business plan, governance arrangements and to raise match funding of £2 million.


The Phase 2 delivery stage work is scheduled to begin after the close of the Great Exhibition of the North in September 2018; the building will re-open as a ‘Common Room of the Great North’ before Christmas 2019. The project will

  • fully conserve and restore the Grade 2* Listed Building, providing the highest level of contemporary services and full accessibility

  • restructure, digitise, conserve and securely house the internationally important archive and collection

  • provide for the sustainable institutional continuity of the Royal Chartered Institute and its programme, principally focused on the Region's industrial and Engineering heritage.


The Phase 1 work, currently underway, also entails the creation of The Great North Institute which will create programme for the Common Room principally focused on the future of the region, its people and communities and the global as well as regional consequences of the industrial revolution that began - and ended - here.


The long term opening programme of the new Institute will be trialled and trailed through the programme of the Great Exhibition of the North which will occupy its Common Rooms from June to September 2018.


Further details about NEIMME can be viewed at 


The evolution of our project is in our e-brochure at


Information about the Great Exhibition of the North can be found at

Contact name: 

Peter Stark

Contact email: 

How to apply for this post

To apply, email Peter Stark -

Applications must include:

  •  an up to date curriculum vitae,
  • the contact details and roles of two referees one of whom should be your last or current employer (we will not contact referees until after the interview).
  • a letter of motivation stating why you are applying for the post and how your experience, knowledge and skills address the Job and Person specification for the post.
  • indicate your availability to start the contract before the end of August 2017.
  • indicate your availability for interview on the days indicated below

Interview Date Friday 19 May in Newcastle


Further information - People intending to apply for the post of Development Director will be able to book a time for a short telephone conversation with Peter Stark, the current Development Director, by emailing him at Outlining any key questions that are outstanding after reading the material on the website and a range of times you will be available for a call. This telephone call is non-mandatory and does not act as part of the appointment process.

All candidate applications are reviewed in accordance with the criteria outlined for the job role.