Work with us! ORFC Programme Manager

By News Team

ORFC

We are recruiting for two exciting roles within the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) team.

Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) Programme Manager

Part time (0.6 FTE), remote but UK-based

About the Real Farming Trust

The Real Farming Trust (RFT) runs a number of programmes which bring people of all food and farming backgrounds and experiences together to build the case for agroecology.  One of these programmes is the Oxford Real Farming Conference.  We are a small charity, and value honesty, empathy, care and compassion in our interactions with each other in the organisation and with the partners we work with. 

About the Oxford Real Farming Conference

The Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) is a much loved and highly valued movement-led conference with a special character and a space for networking, knowledge sharing and direction setting. The annual conference has grown from a gathering of 50 delegates in 2010 to a two-day meeting of 1,800 in 2024, plus a further 3,000 online. The programme is the result of a Call for Proposals, which are selected by a team of farming partners and experts. 

In addition to the annual conference in January, ORFC has grown to include in-the-field events. Held in partnership with a farm, ORFC in the Field brings together around 70 participants for two days of in-depth, hands-on workshops, plus a day of farm visits. ORFC in the Field is held in different parts of the UK, with the next event taking place in Scotland this October.

About the role

This is a unique and exciting opportunity to lead the ORFC team organising the annual Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) helping it continue to evolve and be at the forefront of change and innovation. Your role will be to work with stakeholders across the agroecological movement to create and deliver the in-person and online conference, which will next take place 8th – 10th January 2025.

The ORFC team includes an Event Coordinator, Communications Coordinator and Programme Coordinator who will report to you. You will report directly to the ORFC Director.

Along with members of the ORFC team, you will work closely with our partners to devise and curate a topical, radical, balanced and inclusive programme, as well as provide an array of cultural and networking opportunities for our delegates.  

This will include (but is not limited to):

  • Working with partners and the ORFC team to set the direction and priorities of ORFC 2025 and ensure it aligns with the current needs of the movement
  • In collaboration with ORFC team and partners, consider the Call for Proposals and decide on the sessions to take forward to  ORFC 2025, suggesting collaborations,  identifying gaps and exploring ways to address these
  • To work with the ORFC team to programme up to 150 sessions across nine venues, including spaces for social, cultural and reflective activity
  • To work with the live-stream production team to produce and oversee the delivery of the online conference
  • Oversee the budget and pursue further funding for the conference to ensure that it maintains its ambition to reach out to new audiences through a radical bursary programme.

We are looking for a creative, energetic, strategic and empathetic person who enjoys working alongside multiple partners – both in the UK and around the world – to support the creation of a conference that reflects and inspires the movement for agroecology and food sovereignty.

You will thrive in this role if:

  • You are a strategic yet creative thinker able to visualise new and exciting ideas and have the energy and confidence to see them through
  • You have a good understanding and knowledge of the key issues and people involved in the agroecological movement and have a passion for what it is trying to achieve
  • You have a background in finding, curating, producing or editing content for large audiences
  • You are a confident team leader able to take responsibility for making difficult decisions and communicating them to those affected
  • You have experience in managing a wide array of relationships, sometimes with conflicting interests, across a sector
  • You are able to juggle many moving parts while still keeping an eye on the detail
  • You are able to work flexibly and respond quickly to emails and other last minute demands
  • You are adaptable and understand the ever-changing nature of large-scale live events
  • You are confident leading a large operational team over the ORFC delivery week and making decisions quickly and calmly
  • You are interested in developing systems and processes that foster inclusive, radical gatherings.

A typical week will involve (for example):

  • Frequent Zoom meetings with RFT/ORFC staff, contractors, partners, session organisers etc.
  • A lot of emailing with session organisers, speakers, staff, freelancers, AV team etc
  • Contacting and liaising with musicians, storytellers, artists etc.
  • Creating and then constantly changing a spreadsheet of 150 + sessions
  • Consideration of other events in this space and how we might complement and work with them.

Key Responsibilities

  • Working with the Programme Coordinator to ensure that the Call for Submissions reaches out to new audiences and potential delegates
  • Working with the Programme Coordinator, partners and other members of the team to review the submissions
  • Following up on the submissions with session organisers to further refine successful proposals, elicit further information and find collaborative ways to take forward
  • Ensuring session organisers have what they need to provide a well produced session for the conference
  • To work with the ORFC team and partners to consider the ‘gaps’ in the conference and explore ways to address these.
  • Working with partners and the team to explore other content for the conference, including key speakers, international guests, cultural and social possibilities  
  • Working with the Event Coordinator to visit all the  venues for ORFC 2025 in order to have a good visual knowledge of their size and limitations
  • Working with the programme team to develop the programme and decide on where sessions will be hosted
  • Oversee the ORFC budget and seek further funding where there is a shortfall
  • Plan and produce an opening and closing ceremony which captures people’s attention and encapsulates the tone and content of the conference
  • Work with the comms team to pull key themes, messages, and announcements from the programme as it develops and  ensure they have all the content they need to reach out to press and for other comms channels
  • Write a final report for partners and funders that sums up the successes and learnings of ORFC 2025

What else you need to know:

  • We do not have an office. We all work remotely from home but come to Oxford for two to three meetings prior to the conference
  • You will need to provide your own laptop
  • We all work flexibly, but you will be expected to do the majority of your work weekdays between 8am and 6pm. Some evening and weekend work may be required in the run-up to the conference from about mid-October
  • You will need to be available during the full week of the conference, with long days (16+ hours) during the conference
  • The conference takes place shortly after the winter holidays, so some work (~3 days) between Christmas and New Year is expected
  • September through January are critical months, and the majority of annual leave should be taken outside of this period
  • This role is a fixed term contract through to the end of January 2025, with the possibility of extension, subject to funding. If extended, the Programme Manager role will include the organising of ORFC in the Field events from February onwards.

The terms of the contract are as follows:

  • Salary: £38,000 pro rata (0.6 FTE)
  • 20 days annual leave, plus Bank Holidays, pro rata increasing by 2 days for every year of completed service up to a maximum of 25 days (33 including bank holidays)
  • Flexible working to suit your other commitments during the week
  • Employer matched pension of 4%
  • Annual personal development / training budget of £250. 

How to apply

Please email your CV, two referees (including at least one work reference), and a covering letter (no more than 1 page) detailing why you think you are suitable for the role and why you would like to join our team to Brittany Oakes at brittany@orfc.org.uk by 12pm GMT(midday) on Tuesday, 26th March 2024. If you have questions about the role, please contact Francesca Price on francesca@orfc.org.uk.

What will happen after you have sent in your application

  • We will let all applicants know if they have been shortlisted for an interview by Thursday, 28th March 2024.
  • Interviews will take place online on Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd April 2024. If these dates or timings are difficult for you, please tell us in your application
  • We will share all of the interview questions in advance with you. The aim of the interview is to help you show us how you would do the role, not to catch you out.
  • We will let you know in advance who will be on the interview panel and their role within the RFT.

Equity and Anti-Oppression

We are committed to becoming a more inclusive workplace with a diverse staff body. We believe this is essential to our effectiveness as an organisation and our ability to fulfil our mission of “good food for everyone, forever”. We need to address both inequity and oppression within our work if we are to meet our aim. There will be tensions that this work creates and difficult questions that we need to address both internally and externally.

We know that people with certain backgrounds and characteristics are underrepresented in our team and in the alternative food and farming movement, and we want to address this. We are committed to working proactively to dismantle these systems of oppression and ensure equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their background.

We have started to do this work internally, but we know there is much more to do. Every member of RFT staff is involved and part of this work. We have an internal Equity and Anti-Oppression Group that leads and monitors this work and reports to the Board.

Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form

The Real Farming Trust is committed to promoting equality and diversity in line with the Equality Act 2010, providing an inclusive and co-operative environment in which all individuals feel respected. Filling in this equality and diversity monitoring form is voluntary. The information you provide will be kept confidential and will only be used for monitoring purposes. Please don’t enter any information that would identify you. This form is kept separately from your application and will not be seen by interviewers.

Please note that due to the volume of applications we usually receive, we regret that we are unable to offer feedback to individual applicants.

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