OPP OF THE DAY: Volunteers for Tape Letters, Modus Arts

Modus Arts are looking for dedicated volunteers to:
❖ research and record memories about cassette tape recordings associated with the practice
of sending “tape letters” between Pakistan and diasporic communities.
❖ Support the planning and delivery of reminiscence events for the British Pakistani
❖ archive recordings and photographs gathered during the project, ready for incorporation
into the Bishopsgate collection.
❖ Support the creation and presentation of exhibitions to share the recordings in a unique
way with a range of local communities.

We want to recruit a diverse group of volunteers of different ages, backgrounds and levels of

TAPE LETTERS is an oral history project aiming to identify, collect and archive messages sent on cassette tape in the 1960s through to the 1980s by families who migrated to the UK from Pakistan
between 1950 and 1970. The project seeks to unearth, archive and re/present a portrait of the cultural heritage of Punjabi (specifically Potwari dialect) speaking Pakistanis who settled in Britain, and will comment on family life via the informal and intimate conversations recorded and sent between families here (in the UK) and abroad.

The project will run for 18 months, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It will
create an archive of cassette tapes and related artefacts, including contemporary oral histories of
Potwari-speaking British-Pakistanis, to be held at the Bishopsgate Institute in London, and a range of high-quality outputs including a mobile app and sound art installation.

Volunteers can get involved in any or all of the following areas: oral history, archiving and research, during the collection phase of the project, which is scheduled for January – August 2020. Following this, volunteers will be encouraged to get involved in the creative interpretation stage of the project, which involves training in audio editing and assisting with the creation of the project outputs.
For the collection phase Modus are looking for:
Oral history and outreach volunteers, who should like meeting new people and be
excellent listeners. They should be willing to travel to people’s homes and community settings
(for instance lunch clubs and supported housing) and be fairly flexible about when they
interview people.
Research volunteers should like reading, listening to archive recordings, be methodical
about recording and sharing their research, be willing to work independently and act on their
own initiative.
Archive volunteers will help to catalogue the Tape Letters collection, in particular the
cassette tapes but also other associated material like photographs and documents.
Volunteers should be willing to do routine tasks (logging audio, scanning documents) as well
as more creative work. We are especially looking for Potwari / Urdu speaking volunteers to
assist with summarizing and cataloguing tape letters.
Exhibition volunteers who will be introduced to the practices of editing and sound art
creation, and will help with the running of an exhibition at the end of the project.

Volunteers are welcome to work across multiple areas of the project. All volunteers will be asked to write about or otherwise document their work, producing blog or social media posts. Volunteers
working with the community should be flexible in when and where they meet people, to ensure
maximum reach for the project.

Full training and induction is will be provided in February 2020 with additional training scheduled as required during the project.

Person Specification for all volunteers

• Have an interest in the history of communication, migration and sound recordings.
• Be willing to commit time to the project throughout 2020 and if possible, to stay involved until
the project is complete.
• Be reliable and punctual.
• Have clear and concise communication skills (spoken and written).
• Have basic computer skills, such as a familiarity with Microsoft Word, Excel, email and the
• Willingness to undertake training and learn how to use simple technology for your area of
interest (e.g. audio recording, scanning, social media).
• Have good interpersonal skills.
• Be willing to travel (expenses will be covered), potentially nationwide (this especially applies
to the oral history and outreach role).

• Proficiency in Potwari and Urdu.

To apply by e-mail:
Please send a CV (optional) and a covering letter (essential) of up to 600 words to
imran@tapeletters.com explaining:
• Why you are interested in volunteering for this project
• What you hope to gain from volunteering with Modus Arts
• What time/s of the week you are regularly able to volunteer
• What you can contribute to the project in terms of personal qualities, experience, or skills
• Which role/s you would like to do (It will not count against you if you only want to do one

To apply on-line:

Please complete the on-line form available at:

Deadline: Monday 16th March 2020, at 5:00pm
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an induction beginning the week of:
Monday 23rd March 2020.

Background to Modus Arts
Modus Arts is a specialist sound art organisation drawing on inter-disciplinary and collaborative
approaches to developing public-facing sound-based artworks and events encompassing
installations, live performances, acousmatic musics, graphical scores, sound sculpture, sound
archives, and workshops. http://www.modusarts.org/

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