Preparing a project brief

This guide is designed to help in the preparation of a project brief for a commissioned history. A project brief should provide interested historians with the details of the project and clarify the outcomes required by the commissioning organisation.

A project brief should include some or all of the following information:

1. Background

  • Provide some background to the proposed project.
  • Provide a brief history of the organisation.

2. Aims of the project

  • What are the commissioning organisation’s goals in commissioning this project?
  • Who is the intended audience?

3. Scope of the project

  • What format will the history take? For example a book, report, exhibition, collection of oral histories or reminiscences, website or digital history.
  • The proposed length of the publication if applicable.

4. Project tasks or components

  • What will the historical focus of the project be? For example, is it to be a social or economic history, a chronological or thematic history, or a narrative? Will it focus on a particular era, event or person?
  • What archival or other sources should be consulted? Are any of these readily available?
  • Will the project require consultation with local community groups, historical societies or individuals?
  • Will there be a recorded oral history component? If so, do you have a number or a choice of people in mind?

5. Timeline

  • Is there a deadline for completion of the project?
  • Do you have a proposed starting date?

6. Budget

  • Provide an outline of the budget for the project.

7. Selection criteria

The candidate should be appropriately qualified and experienced. For example:

  • A degree in history, preferably at postgraduate level.
  • Highly developed knowledge of historical research methods and sources.
  • Writing skills of a high order with experience in the preparation of published books, manuscripts and reports.
  • Demonstrated experience in project management and meeting project deadlines.

8. Expressions of interest

  • Provide contact person within the organisation for further information.
  • Outline of the information candidates should provide in their application. For example, a CV, a budget costing, a tender, examples of previous work, etc.
  • Address for submission of applications (electronic/hard copy).
  • Closing date for applications.