Introducing Jess, our ‘No Barriers’ Phase 2 trainee

We are delighted to welcome Jess Whitfield as our second ‘No Barriers’ trainee, initially hosted by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT), later by Wolverhampton City Archives.  Jess’ introduction follows this reminder about the project.

Colleagues may remember Hannah Adereti, our Phase 1 trainee.  Hannah has now decided to pursue further academic studies and we wish them well for the future.  We are pleased that Hannah wishes to remain in touch with the ‘No Barriers’ project.

‘No Barriers’ is a knowledge exchange project, to inform new approaches to increase inclusion and community engagement with the archives sector.  For Phase 1, Hannah worked up proposals for a pilot project ‘Visualising Black Representations of Shakespeare’ – a proof of concept model to test our approach for ‘No Barriers’.  This will now be developed by Jess, in partnership with community contacts and colleagues at SBT.  Jess will also develop her own projects, relating to access to services for disabled people and LGBTQ+ communities.

Addressing Barriers

Over twelve months, Jess will help us identify and begin to address some of the barriers currently preventing communities engaging with us – to access our services, to choose careers with us, to entrust us with their collective memory.

Jess generally works on Wednesdays and Fridays, plus Monday and Thursday mornings.  She currently works remotely.  We will be seeking colleagues’ views on barriers to inclusion in the coming weeks and we will provide project updates. If you have queries or suggestions, please contact

‘No Barriers’ is funded by Archives West Midlands, The National Archives and the Archives & Records Association (U.K. and Ireland).

Jess Whitfield

Hello, I’m Jess (she/her) and I’m delighted to be joining the No Barrier’s project!

I come from a mainly museum-based background, having completed a masters in Museum Studies in Newcastle, which included a yearlong placement with York Museums Trust.  Before that, I studied History, and I now work at the Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull.  I am looking forward to exploring how things work in the archival world.

As an LGBTQ+ woman, equality, diversity and inclusion are incredibly important to me.  I’m enthused to explore this through the traineeship, and hope that the project can make a difference.

Julius Caesar

My favourite Shakespeare play is Julius Caesar, because, when I convinced my very sceptical friends to see it with me, it converted them!  We ended returning to see this production twice more before the end if its run, proving that Shakespeare really is for everyone!

I love to cook and bake and try new foods.  I like to craft and build things. This summer I’ve been trying to grow fruit and vegetables (to mixed success!).   I have a pet tortoise named Harriet, after Harry Houdini because she likes to try to escape and she’s always getting into trouble.

I’m really looking forward to working with you all, and hope to come onsite at some point during the year.  If you have any questions or ideas regarding the No Barriers Project, please feel free to drop me an email at any point at

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