Whose Histories? Authenticity and the Future of Country House Visiting

St John’s College, University of Oxford

26-27 September 2019


In September 2019 the National Trust (NT), National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and the University of Oxford will host a two-day interdisciplinary conference at St John’s College, Oxford, to generate reflection and debate around the public presentation of country houses of Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.


This conference will probe where, whether and how we can help audiences find relevance in their country house visits. It aims to ask challenging questions and provoke critical debate about presentation and interpretation practices, and what should guide our decisions in relation to conservation, acquisitions and disposals.


We are looking for five volunteers to assist in the smooth running of the conference programme. The conference is an internal conference for the National Trust and National Trust for Scotland and this volunteering opportunity will give privileged access to engaging debates about the future of the UK’s country house sector. The conference features leading speakers from across the UK and international heritage sector, and is a unique opportunity to understand the organisational cultures of the NT and NTS.


Volunteers will have the following responsibilities:

  • Work with NT/NTS staff to set up conference venue; including delegate packs and other conference materials. Dealing with any delegate queries during the course of the conference.
  • Welcoming and registering attendees, advising attendees on conference programme and directions.
  • Work with NT/NTS staff to troubleshoot issues if required.
  • Ensuring speakers are in the right place at the right time.


The conference will take place at St John’s College, Oxford during -2nd week of Michaelmas Term 2019.

Volunteers will be needed from 12:00 on 25th September 2019 through to 19:00 on 27th September 2019.


Volunteers will have all travel expenses reimbursed, lunch, accommodation provided in Oxford (if required), and will be invited to attend the conference dinner. If timings allow, volunteers will be more than welcome to join the conference sessions. Please note, this opportunity is open to University of Oxford students and researchers only.

If you wish to apply for this opportunity, please email Dr Oliver Cox (oliver.cox@humanities.ox.ac.uk) to express your interest by Friday 21st June 2019.


The Conference Convenors are: Dr Tarnya Cooper (Curatorial and Collections Director, National Trust), Dr David Hopes (Head of Collections and Interiors, National Trust for Scotland), Dr Oliver Cox (Heritage Engagement Fellow, University of Oxford).