Researcher / Assistant Researcher, Oxford

We are looking for a Researcher or Assistant Researcher to join our Historic Buildings Consultancy team, supporting projects in and around Oxford/ Oxfordshire as well as the wider south west area of England.

With over sixty years’ experience in the repair and renewal of listed buildings, Donald Insall Associates
is uniquely placed to provide strategic advice on change and development within the historic
environment. The practice has a dedicated Historic Buildings Consultancy to support clients embarking
on heritage projects at all scales, from individual houses to urban masterplans. This position is located
in our Oxford office as part of the Oxford and South West team who cover a large area of the country
north of London as far as Birmingham and across the Home Counties and south west of England.
The wider team comprises architects, designers, architectural historians and former conservation
officers and Historic England inspectors who work alongside a client’s chosen architect to analyse what
is special about a building or place, guide alterations, and support clients through the planning process.
Our overarching aim is to use our understanding of the past to revitalise historic buildings and, where
appropriate, to guide new interventions.

Job Purpose:

We are looking for a Researcher or Assistant Researcher to join our Historic Buildings Consultancy
team, supporting projects in and around Oxford/ Oxfordshire as well as the wider south west area of
England. Travel (to visit sites and archives) is essential as part of this role. The role would primarily
involve carrying out original research into the history and development of buildings and places and
writing elements of the reports we produce, as well as assisting other members of the team. This role
is not suitable for a newly qualified graduate, and at least one year’s post qualification in a similar role is
sought. The role is a one-year maternity cover in the first instance, with the possibility of extension for
the right candidate.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • To work successfully as part of the wider historic buildings consultancy team to jointly produce
    written work and other advice as necessary.
  • To undertake both desk and archive-based original research into the provenance and development
    of historic sites and buildings, their occupants, and their architects.
  •  To assist with visual site surveys, compile descriptions of historic sites and buildings and assess
    their significance.
  • To assimilate all research undertaken into expert, well-written historic building reports.
  • To develop a good understanding of the Practice, its philosophy, members, areas of expertise,
    clients, and competitors.
  • Any other reasonable duties that arise from the nature and character of the post, as requested by
    the line manager or other designated team members.
    Please note.
  • In order to undertake all aspects of the role, the post holder will sometimes be required to visit a
    number of external sites, which may require climbing ladders and surfaces.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience Required:

  • Sound knowledge and understanding of all periods of British architectural history, likely to be
    supported by an appropriate qualification (e.g. BA Architectural History, Art History or History and a Post-Graduate certificate/diploma in Building Conservation or Architectural History). A commitment to continuously expanding this understanding through professional development.
  • Excellent research skills, including the ability to find, interrogate and correctly interpret primary
    sources of information such as (but not limited to) plans, historic maps, and photos. This is the key
    purpose of the role and the successful candidate will be familiar with local archives, with how to
    research buildings and places with which they may be unfamiliar, how to explain chronological
    development and how to analyse, interpret and explain the sources they are using.
  • A demonstrable passion for the historic environment, and the ability to communicate this to non–
    experts in an accessible manner.
  • Excellent writing skills, and the ability to confidently draw together information gained from a variety of sources and distill this into succinct and accurate text which is a delight to read.
  • Self-sufficiency, flexibility, and adaptability: to be able to understand the link between time, client requirements and profit, and respond positively and proactively to changes to schedule or
    requirements in order to work effectively in a client-driven environment.
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a team and liaise with other team members at Insall, as
    required, and to act as a credible ambassador for the Practice in all that they do.
  • A good level of IT literacy.
  • At least one year’s post-qualification experience in a relevant field ie original historic research using primary and secondary sources.


  • Familiarity with the roles of stakeholders in the heritage sector, such as local authorities, Historic
    England, and national and local amenity groups.
  • Membership of appropriate bodies, e.g. IHBC, ARB, IfA and/or RTPI memberships.

Please email a CV and covering letter to

Donald Insall Associates is an Equal Opportunities employer.

June 2022