My Future York: Call for volunteer archive researchers

St Sampson's Square before pedestrianisation - what are the histories of travel in and around York and what might be future solutions?
St Sampson’s Square before pedestrianisation – what are the histories of travel in and around York and how might we imagine future solutions?


We are calling for volunteer researchers who are interested in the urgent issues facing York today – and who have the skills to develop compelling research and digital content to illuminate and share the histories of these issues.

  • You would join the My Future York research team.
  • You would pick an urgent issue facing the city.
  • You would use the city archives and other sources to build complex and evocative histories of these urgent issues. (This would be more akin to developing quality journalistic approaches to history than writing a PhD. Good skills for people wanting to work in museums or public history roles!)
  • You would develop digital content (social media and interpretive blogs) to communicate these issues with local people and to enrich and open up debate.
  • You would work with the My Future York research team to develop and feed into our public events.

Examples of issues might include – but you can suggest your own:

  • green belt and green spaces
  • homelessness
  • drinking / night life
  • housing
  • traffic and public transport

We would help you to develop:

  • archive-based research skills
  • interpretive and digital content skills

Travel expenses within York and refreshments will be provided.

To volunteer or find out more, contact the My Future York team via researcher Helen Graham, Director, Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage, University of Leeds

Artists Commissions for My Future York project

York Past and Present - how can we visually connect York's past, presents and futures. Image: Richard Brigham
York Past and Present – how can we visually connect York’s past, presents and futures. Image: Richard Brigham


As part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities Festival 2016, My Future York is looking to commission artists / designers / film makers to work with us.

There are two commissions – the first to work with us to develop a stall top display for the Somerset House, Utopia 2016 Festival and the second to help us develop either a short film or set of images connecting pasts, present and futures and drawing on work with York Explore’s archives and York Past and Present facebook group.

Commission 1: stall top display

Commission 2: film or images


Deadline for Submissions: 10am 5th May, 2016

Proposed Interview Date(s): 10th May, 2016

Initial Workshop / Brainstorming session with appointed artist: 16th May, 2016 (can be flexible)

Project Launch and Presentation at Somerset House: 24th-26th June 2016

Submit applications to Helen Graham, on

Forthcoming events

My Future York Planning Meeting

30th April, 2-4pm, Garden Room, York Explore

My Future York is an open and collaborative inquiry. We are working anyone who wants to get involved to develop richer understandings of the city’s pasts and to inspire new alternative visions for York’s future.

The aim of the planning meeting is to reflect on the emerging ideas that came from a stall we ran on Good Friday in Parliament Street. To see an Instagram gallery of the contributions see: What are the key themes or questions the postcards raise?

We will then identify some useful ways forward, from public events or pieces of research to commission short blog pieces from experts, politicians or people with something to say.

If you’d like to come, email Helen on

To find out more about the project or the Good Friday stall see our temporary website.