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Story Associate Opportunity
Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Host Organisation? Do I get to choose which I work with?

There are 11 Host Organisations that cover a range of fields from small independent companies to public institutions. Each Host Organisation has defined a problem, ambition or mission that they think Story Skills can help to address. Applicants can choose which of the 11 Project briefs they want to apply for and will have to engage with the specific challenge in their application.

Can I apply for multiple Host projects?

Applicants can apply for as many Host projects as they would like, however, we recommend only applying for the projects that align with their skills, experience and interest. You can find out more about each Project brief on the Projects page.

When does the role start?

Story Associates will join the scheme in early September. They will start by taking part in a Deep Story Training Camp and will then move on to their Host projects and placements.

Will the Story Associates lead on storytelling, or will they facilitate others to tell stories?

It depends on the setting and the needs of the Host Organisation. Each project will be unique.

Will the project be UK wide?

Yes. The Story Associate opportunity is only available to UK based citizens.

Will I be working in person or online?

Each Project brief varies and requires different levels of in person or remote working. Please see each individual Project for more information.

Do I need to have an academic mentor to apply?

When you apply you will be asked to tell us if you want to nominate your own University partner. Alternatively we can assign you one of our pre selected University Partners.

If you nominate your own university you will be asked to identify an academic mentor who is willing to commit to supporting you throughout the entire period of your placement. You don’t need to say who the mentor is on your application, but if you are invited to an interview we may ask you for more information about the mentor that you have in mind.

If you are successful in your application and are struggling to find a mentor, the StoryArcs team will match one to you based on the project and the mentor’s professional expertise. The mentor will be chosen from a list of academics connected to partner universities, who have already agreed to fulfil this role.

What will be my work status?

Story Associates can specify their preferred work status on their application (employee or supplier/fee-based). If you are successful we will help you to negotiate your preferred status with partner universities. Mandatory checks will be needed to ensure that your chosen status complies with current UK legislation and with the internal regulations of your partner University.

How close to the Host’s brief do I have to stay when proposing, defining and delivering my project? 

Each of the 11 Hosts provides a specific problem for which they seek someone with Story Skills to help find a solution. Applicants are free to approach the problem from any angle they wish, utilising their expertise and experience. Ultimately, each application will be assessed by whether it provides a solution to the Host’s problem, which can be delivered within the chosen timeframe, meets quality and industry standards, and likely provides measurable benefits, while also fitting the aims and themes of the StoryArcs Programme. 

I have other commitments/childcare duties/special needs. Can I still apply to become a Story Associate? 

The StoryArcs Programme is committed to giving every individual applicant the same chance to become a Story Associate, regardless of background or personal circumstances. Therefore, the successful applicant can choose whether to take up the role as a 12-month part-time or a 6-month full time position. Some Hosts have a preference regarding the placement being a full time or part-time position, this is clearly stated in the Project brief. Further, we have carefully scheduled the application deadline not too close to any UK school holidays, and later training and support sessions during term time. Moreover, we are fully committed to supporting a successful applicant in negotiating any reasonable arrangements, e.g. accessibility needs and special work patterns, with the respective Host.

Who should I talk to if I have any work-related concerns as a Story Associate? 

Primarily, Duty of Care for Story Associates will be the responsibility of the partner universities employing the Story Associates for the duration of the placement. However, any issues relating to Health and Safety or access requirements will be held under the auspices of the Host Organisation. In the unexpected case that a dispute should arise between different stakeholders which they cannot resolve independently, Bath Spa University will provide the organisational frame for an arbiter to step in to resolve the dispute. 

Can I leave the programme at any point in time due to unforeseen circumstances?

You will sign a contract with one of our partner universities if you are chosen by a Host Organisation. There will be the opportunity to leave the programme if any specified unforeseen circumstances arise.

Are only UK citizens eligible to apply?

You need to have the Right to Work in the UK when applying for the Story Associate position. You can apply from abroad as long as you have the Right to Work in the UK. 

This is an unfortunate necessity at this pilot stage of the programme, but we are looking at accommodating those without the Right to Work in the UK in the future.

Could you go over the time commitment/fee if we were to do it part-time? I wasn't sure if the outlined fee was pro-rata £37,099 p.a.

It’s a normal hourly paid job. The different positions will have different requirements and needs with respect to time commitments. This will very much be open to discussion between the selected Story Associates, and the Story Hosts. We will try to help with the negotiations where possible. 

Yes, we offer £37,099 pro-rata - this can be 6 months full-time or 12 months part-time. This is the same across all projects, and is pegged as an Early Careers rate. 

Pro-rata means ‘proportionally’. A pro-rata salary is an amount of pay based on what you would earn if you were to work full-time for a year.

The salary is £37,099 pro-rata. This means that, regardless of attending the programme 6 months full-time or 12 months part-time, the total amount you will be taking home is — £18,549.50.

How long will the programme run?

During the pilot, the placements will be either 1 year part-time, or 6 months full-time. 

Some Hosts are only able to accommodate one work pattern, while most Hosts are open to both. 

The StoryArcs programme is scheduled to run for 3 years in total. We hope to expand to host 22 Story Associates in the next phase of the programme.

Do we apply to work with a specific Host?

There are two parts to the application. In the first half, you apply to the StoryArcs programme. In the second, you apply for the individual Host. 

To apply for a Host, you should mention how you would tackle the challenge set by them, and how your current skill set would best support and expand upon the project. 

To be successful, you need to demonstrate that you match the criteria for the StoryArcs programme as well as the Host.

Can I apply for multiple Host projects, if more than one appeals to me?

Yes you can apply for multiple Hosts. 

We have tried to make the application process as easy as possible. 

Section 1 of the application form is to demonstrate your suitability for the StoryArcs programme. You only need to fill this once. 

Section 2 of the application form is to demonstrate your suitability for an individual Host and their challenge. If you wish to apply for multiple Hosts, you need to simply duplicate section 2 for each of the projects you want to apply for. Instructions are in the application form. 

However, when applying for multiple Hosts, keep in mind that you will need to tailor each project application to the individual Host.

Do Hosts or the programme have research expenses?

Yes, StoryArcs will provide a small budget for expenses. 

Some of the Hosts will be providing travel budgets/covering expenses, etc. 

Some Gateway/University Partners will also be providing research equipment/expenses. 

Unfortunately, we are not able to cover relocation expenses. Please remember, however, that some of the positions offer the opportunity for blended/hybrid working.

Do we need to apply for a Host near to where we're based, and if not, do we get travel Expenses?

No, you can apply for any of the 11 Hosts. 

The projects have a budget to provide travel expenses, however we do not have a relocation budget. Most of these projects are hybrid, but it again depends on the Host’s individual requirements. (For more information on individual requirements please read the website page for relevant projects and the downloadable Role Descriptions at the end of each project page.

Do you have a timeline for assessing applications/interviews/making decisions please?

The application portal closes midnight on 26/06. Shortlisting and interviews are scheduled to commence 3rd of July - 14th July. We plan for successful Story Associates to be notified on the 17th July. Please note - we have had a high volume of interest in the programme so we may need to adjust these dates to allow time for proper consideration of all applications

I have a PhD and work as a freelance practitioner but have almost no traditional publication record. Will that impact my application?

Not necessarily. In addition to exploring the theme of Story, this programme is about supporting alternative careers paths for Early Careers Researchers. 

If you do not have a PhD but experience in producing work for the public domain i.e. an exhibition, artwork, radioshow, consultation reports shared with organisations, etc. this would be suitable. If you’re unsure as to whether or not the work you have produced would count as work for the public, then please get in contact with us by emailing story@bathspa.ac.uk.

Would the fact that I finished my PhD ten years ago exclude me? Is the ‘Early Careers’ definition based on age?

Not necessarily. When we provide information to help the development of early career researchers, we are speaking to anyone who defines their role as that of an ECR.

The definition of ECR is focused on the stage you are in within your research career, rather than on your age.

For the purpose of grants eligibility for most of their schemes, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) usually describes an ECR as someone who is either: 

  • Within eight years of their PhD award (this is from the time of the PhD ‘viva’ oral test), or equivalent professional training 
  • Within six years of their first academic appointment (the first full or part time paid employment contract that lists research or teaching as the primary function). 

These periods exclude any career break, for example due to: 

  • Family care 
  • Health reasons 
  • Reasons related to COVID-19 such as homeschooling or increased teaching load. 

This means that if you have had a career break you could still be an ECR 10 or even 15 years after finishing your PhD! 

The programme is designed for someone at an early stage of their research career. The important thing to note here is that you (the applicant) define whether or not you consider yourself as an ECR. You will not be ruled out because you do not fit a fixed definition of what an Early Careers Researcher is.

You will, however, need to demonstrate why this position will help you in your career, and tell us what you hope to gain from it.

Can I ask for some more detail on non-PhD holders as applicants? Do you have any examples of that experience outside of academia you are referring to?

For non-PhD holders, you can have experience as a filmmaker, scientist, educator, etc. As long as you have an interest in research and can demonstrate equivalent experience to a PhD, you can apply. 

Research is defined as a ‘process of investigation that leads to new insights that are shared’. The process is a methodology, and new insights are an output that is original. 

A PhD takes 4 years and you have to produce a thesis, written to a publishable standard.

Thus, you need evidence that you have 4 years of experience, and to have produced work that is of a publishable standard. 

You will also need to demonstrate a general interest in research, as defined above.

I'm a permanent part-time lecturer - is it advisable to put my own University as the base for the project (in the application form) - would there be an opportunity to negotiate the most appropriate solution regarding project base etc. post-application process?

If you want your university to be the base, then yes, it would be advisable to talk to your current university about your application. However, if you are not sure your current university would be the best base, we will be able to match you with one of our partner universities if you are offered the role. 

So yes, there would be an opportunity to negotiate the most appropriate solution regarding the project base post-application process.

What is the relationship between the Story Associates and The Story Society during the placements?

You’re applying to become a Story Associate for a specific project (the challenge) with a specific Story Host. The Story Host and Story Associate work in collaboration to approach the challenge 

We recommend picking a challenge(s) or Host project(s) that you know you can deliver, and that your current skill set would coincide with well. 

During the placement, the Hosts will offer further guidance about their needs and the objectives of the project. 

Throughout your placement, The Story Society (us) will provide further guidance and support via our Deep Story Training Camp. If you cannot make the pre-placement training, we will offer alternative later dates. 

If you are working full time, you will work 4 days on, 1 day off - think of it as an advanced apprenticeship scheme. You can use the day off for personal study, group work or training that we run. The Gateway/University Partners are also here as additional support and resources, providing mentoring for our Story Associates.

The scheme seems to be placed between creative and analytical skills. How much of a creative response are you anticipating for the projects, rather than purely analytical?

From a research point of view, we are very interested in the intersection between creative and analytic Story Skills. 

However, you don’t necessarily need to be able to demonstrate that you have both of these skills in your application. 

There are two parts to the application: In the first part you must demonstrate your suitability for the programme. This is a good place to talk about the unique combination of skills that you have. 

In the Host part of the application, you should focus on the skills you will need and use to meet the challenge. Some are more creative than critical/analytical, and vice versa and your answer should reflect this. 

The i-Story will include both creative and analytical outputs, due to it being a culmination of the projects.

Some of the projects are more part-time, and some are full-time. Do we need to put a month-by-month timeline/time-frame in our project pitches?

No, you do not need to add a timeline. 

However, if you feel that providing a timeline adds to the application, feel free to do so. But keep in mind, the Hosts are looking for specific features in their Associates, so applications are measured against this criteria.

If you don’t have a mentor in your current predicament, how does this work?

We are partnered with Royal Holloway, University of the Arts London, and Nottingham University. If you are offered the role, we will help connect you to a university and mentor if you require support with this.

If we apply and are not successful with our preferred Host would you suggest us for another Host?

In the event that we feel your application is a stronger fit to a project that you haven’t applied for, we may get in touch asking you to apply for this alternative and fill out a new application for that specific Host. However, you can apply for numerous Hosts. 

The outcome is determined by who is the best fit. There will be other opportunities beyond this pilot scheme - we have another two years of the programme after this pilot phase is finished, and will be looking at expanding to 22 other Hosts. We will also be running training opportunities. There will be other ways for you to be involved in the programme. You can register to be contacted about these further opportunities in the application.

Can you talk a bit about the process of developing the project from the starting brief as outlined - i.e. how far you expect this to be developed by the Host and/or Associate.

There is no ‘one-fits-all’ approach. You will need to develop the best project that you can, according to your skills. Some may wish to specify the outputs of their projects, but others may be focusing more on detailing their approach to the project. Both of these pitch processes are perfectly valid. It depends on what is most specific to the Host.

Do you have a feel or preference for the storytelling methodologies/artforms that would be utilised?

For the challenge itself, you need to use a combination of the skills you already have, and the skills that you think would be appropriate for that particular challenge. 

You choose whatever methodologies and artforms you want to use. They can be skills in telling stories, but can also be about deconstructing and analysing stories. 

With regards to the broader programme, our goal was to find Hosts that would demonstrate a wide use of Story Skills to future employers. 

We don’t have a fixed idea of what a Story Skill is. We’re interested in how multi-perspectival and multi-hero narratives are formed, as well as how stories are used to create change for good. 

We’re also interested in learning about how different researchers and creatives approach and define Story Skills. 

Ultimately, to be successful in this application, your approach, methodology or artform will need to come from you. In addition, your approach will need to be an appropriate fit/match to the host challenge that you are applying for.

Please can you expand on what a Skill Set is - it suggests something repeatable - or is it simply methodology in creating new forms of narratives?

This is something that is currently under development, so we don’t have a fixed idea of what this is yet. 

A ‘Story Skill’ is know-how or competency in an aspect of storytelling or analysis. Story Skills can be grouped into sets, like elements on the periodic table. A person can perform or enact storytelling skills in different ways - for example, through writing, speaking, filmmaking or media. 

Similarly, there might be different ways to analyse or deconstruct stories. 

In your application, you need to demonstrate how the skills you have and are proposing to use match the criteria and challenge set by the host organisation. 

The longer-term objective of the project is to create a set of materials that allow employers and organisations to see and recognise the value of Story Skills. The StoryArcs team will therefore collaborate with the Hosts and the Story Associates to expand and fully define what we mean by ‘Story Skill’ set.

Could you say a little more about how/when the findings regarding the Story Skill Set will be collated/presented?

This is a 3-year project. The findings won’t fully be revealed until the end of those 3 years, but aspects of the project outcomes may be published before then. 

There will be public outputs such as blogs, so that we can communicate what/how we’re doing. 

The emerging findings and the finished output will be presented and collated in different ways (for example, the i-Story, academic journals, podcasts, etc). Professor Soyinka will work with Dr Ella Harris, the StoryArcs team, and the Story Associates and our Partners to generate further ideas about how the programmes findings will be presented.

I'd also like to know if there's a possibility for new organisations to come on board in future years as Hosts and what the commitment is.

Absolutely. We welcome further ideas about future organisations to come on-board. We are currently in the pilot stage of the programme. In future, we hope to expand to host 22 Story Associates in the next phase of the programme, and encourage recommendations of Hosts, projects, and Gateway/University Partners.

Can you say any more about the identification of and role of academic partners?

Our Gateway/University Partners are Royal Holloway, University of the Arts London, and Nottingham University. We are currently in negotiation with a few other prospective partners. 

We advise you to suggest a university partner if you already have one, but if you don’t, we can support you via one of our recommended Gateway/University Partners.

How did StoryArcs find the Host placements? How did you decide they'd be a good fit for this pilot?

Our aim was to offer a diverse range of organisations, with a broad range of challenges. The current portfolio of organisations (from commercial enterprises through to community based organisations) will enable us to build a fuller picture of the Story Skill Set. As this is a pilot programme, another objective was to find hosts that would be willing to evaluate the scheme. 

Finally, the Story Hosts had to demonstrate a commitment to contributing to the ‘grand challenge’ i.e.: climate change, cultural diversity, and so on. 

At this pilot phase of the programme, we are primarily working with Host Organisations that have collaborated with universities before and/or are in our existing networks. When we expand the programme, we will be looking towards and even broader range Hosts outside of our own networks. In future calls, there may be opportunities for applicants to bring their own project and Host suggestions to the programme.

What do we see as the legacy of these projects? Do they have a public end result?

A simple part of the legacy is advocating for Story as a skill in all of its multifaceted forms. 

We will likely learn a lot more about this and the Story Skill Set during the Pilot. 

We are also very excited about the project and looking at creating both a practical and research base for Story as a skill. 

Both these areas will have internal and external outputs, such as blogs, research papers, case studies, the i-Story, and so on. This will build a set of new ideas about Story and its values. It will look at how Story can be used in public and professional settings. 

There will also be space for people to create their own individualised outputs to demonstrate how they are using them in their projects, their own perspectives on Story, and so on.

We will regularly update this page with frequently asked questions that we encounter.

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