The American Prison Writing Archive is the first fully searchable digital archive of non-fiction essays and poetry by incarcerated people writing about their experience inside U.S. prisons and jails today. The APWA welcomes applications from conscientious and compassionate applicants for a full-time, in-person Research Assistant position. This is a three year, grant-funded position. Working with a hybrid (remote/in-person) team including the APWA Program Coordinator, APWA Associate Manager, Co-Directors Doran Larson and Vesla Weaver, and Sheridan Libraries staff, the Research Assistant will serve as a crucial on-site team member for the Archive at its new institutional home at Johns Hopkins University.
Primary tasks will include front-line reading and metadata entry for new submissions of non-fiction writing by incarcerated authors, labeling and filing hard copies of submissions, sorting and tracking incoming mail, and mailing timely responses to correspondence from people incarcerated across the US, responding to email queries to the APWA. The APWA seeks applicants who are both detail-oriented and passionate about carceral studies and social justice, as well as projects to ethically and humanely represent the experience and expertise of incarcerated people, and strongly encourages those with prior justice system involvement to apply.
Specific Duties & Responsibilities
Reads essays and poetry that bear witness to first-hand, sometimes traumatic, experiences of incarceration and the criminal justice system, checking for adherence to submission guidelines.
Follows established workflows for creating and maintaining careful records of submission metadata, physical material filing location, and correspondence with incarcerated authors
Handles submission materials with care, labeling and preparing them for filing in appropriate location.
Mails timely responses to information requests, submissions, and other correspondence from people incarcerated across the U.S., writing with compassion and consideration for the circumstances and challenges they face.
Coordinates with campus mail services for large amounts of incoming and outgoing mail.
Coordinates with library staff and contractors for the transportation of materials.
Checking for and correcting errors in metadata entry.
Special Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
Excellent attention to detail and quality control.
Demonstrated discretion in handling confidential documents.
Excellent oral and written communication skills.
Demonstrated excellent time management skills, organizational skills, and demonstrated ability to meet deadlines.
Experience with data entry in Excel, Tableu, or related applications.
Experience with adding content to Wordpress sites.
Experience with office and online collaboration software (such as Microsoft Office Suite, Google Drive Suite, Adobe Acrobat, Slack, Teams.)
Experience with office technology, including for mass mailings (scanning hardware, printer, copier.)
Limited experience working with relational databases.
Excellent interpersonal skills to collaborate and work effectively with a team.
Understanding of ethical research using ethnographic, oral history, archives, memoirs/diaries/letters.
Bachelor's Degree in related discipline.
Some related experience.
Additional related experience may substitute for required education, to the extent permitted by the JHU equivalency formula.
Note: Applicants should specifically describe their interest in working with the APWA in their cover letters.
Two years professional experience working in an archive, museum, or similar.
Demonstrated cultural competency and experience engaging with Africana / African American / Latinx and LGBTQ communities, as well as justice system-involved individuals.
Demonstrated interest in carceral studies and/or related social justice projects.
Demonstrated understanding of the principles and ethics of using oral history, first person essays from vulnerable communities, or other qualitative or narrative data collections.
Demonstrated adaptability and flexibility, as well as willingness to expand into new areas as the Archive develops and grows.
Classified Title: Research Assistant Role/Level/Range: ACRO40/E/03/CD Starting Salary Range: $16.75 - $23.00/hr (Commensurate with experience) Employee group: Full Time Schedule: M-F/37.5 Exempt Status: Non-Exempt Location: Homewood Campus Department name: Political Science Personnel area: School of Arts & Sciences
Please refer to the job description above to see which forms of equivalency are permitted for this position. If permitted, equivalencies will follow these guidelines:
30 undergraduate degree credits (semester hours) or 18 graduate degree credits may substitute for one year of experience. Additional related experience may substitute for required education on the same basis. For jobs where equivalency is permitted, up to two years of non-related college course work may be applied towards the total minimum education/experience required for the respective job.
The successful candidate(s) for this position will be subject to a pre-employment background check.
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.
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