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Leeds 2023: Hidden Stories exhibition volunteers

As part of Leeds 2023, we’re looking for a team of 12 LGBTQIA+ volunteers to help put together an exhibition, trail and events programme at the Royal Armouries, revealing hidden histories of gender within the museum for the first time. 

What's involved?

Hidden Stories is a project funded by Leeds 2023, the city’s year-long celebration of culture. A network of different organisations are working to reveal untold histories across the city – from disabled activism to Jewish chip shops – and we’re really excited to be uncovering hidden stories of gender at the Royal Armouries too! 

What does an exhibition volunteer do? 

Our team of exhibition volunteers will be working on three things: 

1. Gender trail: Using research carried out by our three fantastic community researchers, you’ll create a trail booklet which guides visitors around 10 objects in the Royal Armouries galleries which reveal hidden histories of gender. 

2. Temporary exhibition: You’ll create a display for the Royal Armouries temporary exhibition space, in the mezzanine of the Tournament gallery, which will be on display from September 2023 to March 2024. This display will be made up of creative responses to the research – so it might be: 

  • Writing about what finding hidden histories of gender means to you, or why you think it’s important to tell more diverse stories about gender in the Royal Armouries – this could be your opinions, a poem, a short creative piece reimagining a historical story, or something else 
  • Visual art, textiles or collage depicting or responding to the hidden stories of gender our researchers have found – we have lots of space for flat artworks, and some for 3D artworks too 

  • Audio or film responding to the research – again, this can be as creative or straightforward as you like 

  • Commissioned artwork – you’ll be in control of a small budget, which you can use to commission LGBTQIA+ artists if you like

3. Events: You’ll plan a tour showing visitors around the gender trail, and be able to lead some tours yourself if you like. You’ll also be able to use your budget for events relating to the exhibition too, if you choose to – you might want to pay LGBTQIA+ people for talks, performances, workshops, or something else of your choice! 

Who can be an exhibition volunteer? 

Anyone aged 18+, living in West Yorkshire, who identifies under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella – especially people who are interested in working in museums, heritage or the arts and want to gain some skills, experience and training. 

Do I need any specific skills or experience? 

No – in fact, if you’re looking to gain experience working in museums or build a career in heritage or the arts, this opportunity is designed for you! You’ll receive bespoke training from museum interpretation staff on how to create a trail and display that are engaging, fun and accessible for all visitors. 

You’ll also be able to organise the work between you so that everyone can focus on the aspect of the project that interests them most – for example, some volunteers might decide to focus on writing the trail booklet, while others work on creative responses for the display. 

What’s the commitment? 

We’ll be meeting at the Royal Armouries on Wednesday evenings. Meetings will probably be from 7-9.30pm, but we’ll survey our group of volunteers before you start to check that this is the best time. Meetings will start off weekly, then move to fortnightly after 7 weeks. The meeting dates are: 

Wednesday 26th April 

Wednesday 3rd May 

Wednesday 10th May 

Wednesday 17th May 

Wednesday 24th May 

Wednesday 31st May 

Wednesday 7th June 

Wednesday 21st June 

Wednesday 5th July 

Wednesday 19th July 

Wednesday 2nd August 

Wednesday 16th August 

We know not everyone will be able to make all the meetings, and that’s okay – but we ask that you commit to coming to at least 9 of them. 

What about accessibility? 

The Royal Armouries has step-free access and accessible, gender-neutral toilets. All meetings will include a break, and you’ll be able to step out for additional quiet time at any point if you need to. We also have access to funding from Leeds 2023 for accessible travel (e.g. if you need to travel to the museum by taxi because of accessibility needs) and BSL interpretation, if needed. 

Why get involved?


  • Learn new skills and knowledge that could be applied to a future career in heritage or the arts

  • To platform and celebrate LGBTQ+ people and the trans experience throughout the history of arms and armour

  • Develop an understanding of how to effectively use museum objects to engage different audiences

  • Meet the teams, make new friends and get to experience museum exhibitions from a unique perspective 

  • Develop activity and event organisation skills


How to get involved?

Step 1: Sign into your account or sign up

Step 2: Click 'Accept Challenge'

Step 3: You will be contacted by a member of the team who will ask you to send a 200-word expression of interest (The email you receive will include more guidance about what to include in your expression of interest)

Step 4: Your expression of interest will be assessed and you will be notified if successful

Please note that the deadline for submitting your expression of interest is Friday 10 March 2023


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