Regional Humanities Specialist

Regional Humanities Specialist

Website Metropolitan Area Planning Council

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) seeks candidates for the position of Regional Humanities Specialist who will staff projects and research efforts that advance the department’s efforts to use storytelling and civic dialogue to inform planning practice; to promote a more welcoming and inclusive region through arts, culture, and heritage, to develop culturally sensitive approaches to address the region’s legacies of injustice, and to model equitable approaches to heritage tourism and commemoration.  The Specialist will have opportunities to lead and support work in established areas of practice and develop new projects in alignment with the priorities identified in MetroCommon2050, the regional land use and policy plan. 

About MAPC

MAPC is the Regional Planning Agency (RPA) serving the people who live and work in metropolitan Boston. Our mission is to promote smart growth and regional collaboration. MAPC’s staff includes approximately 100 full-time employees located in downtown Boston in a transit-accessible and bike-friendly office. 

The MAPC office has fully reopened.  MAPC staff will be expected to come into the office at least two days per week, on average.

MAPC strongly supports the professional development of each staff person, believing their growth to be consistent with the best interests of MAPC and the region. We encourage all our staff to develop new ideas to make MAPC’s planning and policy work more relevant and impactful, and to adapt to changing times. 

This is an opportunity to work in a dynamic, interdisciplinary, and innovative environment with professionals who are committed to building a more sustainable and equitable future for everyone who lives and works in Greater Boston. For more information about MAPC, MetroCommon 2050, please visit 

About the Department 

The Specialist will report to the Director of Arts & Culture, who oversees a six-person team. MAPC’s Arts & Culture Department is one of the first efforts nationwide to advance arts, culture and heritage to build a more sustainable and equitable future through regional planning.  

Responsibilities (including but not limited to) 

  • Integrate history and humanities values and methods into other local and regional planning projects, including the agency’s implementation of MetroCommon2050;
  • Communicate the value of humanities and history frameworks and methods to planning and sharing resources that planners can use to learn these frameworks and methods on our educational platform, the MAPC Arts & Planning Toolkit, or through the department newsletter;
  • Manage and staff history, heritage and related arts and cultural planning projects in collaboration with fellow MAPC planners, municipalities, and community stakeholders; these projects will include scoping, public engagement, facilitation, event planning, research, writing, as well as designing local zoning, preservation policies, permitting procedures, programs, and funding;
  • Implement strategies for cultural inclusion, equity and justice in planning practice, including inclusive engagement and using storytelling to address legacies of injustice in planning;
  • Design and execute workshops, trainings and peer-learning opportunities for community members, planners, historians, artists and other practitioners to cultivate equitable and inclusive approaches to historic, natural, and cultural resource planning; 
  • Partner with artists and community organizations to bring creative engagement, storytelling, and communications into the agency’s work;
  • Expand the visibility and impact of MAPC’s arts and culture planning work through publications, presentations and attendance at local, national, and regional events and conferences; and
  • Conduct other activities as assigned to implement the work plan of the Arts & Culture Department and more broadly, the goals of the MetroCommon2050 regional plans.

Evening events, occasional weekend events, and local travel are a responsibility for this position. MAPC does not require that you have a vehicle; however, you must have a valid driver’s license and/or the ability to arrange transportation to meetings in different parts of the region. MAPC provides support for travel, including a Zipcar account and BlueBikes membership.


Candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree plus a minimum of three (3) years of relevant professional and/or academic experience; OR a Master’s degree and a minimum of one (1) year experience working directly with issues related to cultural heritage, cultural preservation, public history, public humanities, or historic preservation.
Preference will be given to candidates whose interests and background combine history and humanities with another area of expertise related to arts and culture, urban planning or community development. Experience working in the Metro Boston region and experience working directly with artists, non-profit organizations, community-based groups, and local elected and appointed officials is a plus.

Successful candidates for this position will demonstrate all or most of the following:

  • Knowledge of or experience with one or more areas of arts and culture practice, such as: cultural heritage, public humanities, historic preservation, heritage tourism, cultural planning, arts-based community development, cultural asset mapping, cultural economic development, creative placemaking, urban design, public art, and/or social practice art/socially engaged art;
  • Knowledge of or experience working in cultural, historic preservation or heritage planning with or on behalf of communities most directly impacted by the legacies of injustice in planning in Eastern Massachusetts including Native American tribes and African American communities;
  • Entrepreneurial work ethic, strong organizational skills, including ability to manage workplans, budgets and timelines, attention to detail, and experience undertaking assigned work in a self-directed manner, meeting deadlines and budget limits;
  • Experience with community engagement, organizing, and/or facilitation and in working effectively with community-based groups, communities of color, and/or artists and arts organizations; 
  • Strong verbal and written presentation and communications skills, including the ability to articulate complex or technical content to a wide variety of audiences;
  • Experience conducting research in areas that can inform our cultural planning, historic preservation, cultural policy and creative community development practice, including collecting or working with qualitative or quantitative data;
  • Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues across disciplines and external partners in a range of settings, including diverse urban neighborhoods in cities, suburban centers, and/or small or rural communities;
  • Skills in graphic design or web design; experience with software and platforms such as WordPress, Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, or social media platforms; and
  • Knowledge of federal, state and local history and heritage policy issues, laws, regulations, and programs.

Per MAPC COVID-19 Vaccine Policy, the selected candidate is required to be up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations, as defined by the CDC, by the agreed upon start date. See COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots | CDC. 

Compensation and Benefits
The salary ranges from $60,000 to $70,000, depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full-time exempt position. MAPC offers excellent Massachusetts state employee benefits as well as a flexible, supportive, and family-friendly work environment and a commitment to continued professional development.

How to Apply
Apply online at The position is open until filled, and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume. Candidates selected to interview will be asked to submit three (3) references plus a sample of relevant writing or work product. Candidates must have legal authorization to work in the USA and a valid driver’s license and/or the ability to arrange transportation to meetings in different parts of the region. MAPC participates in E-Verify, which is a federal program that helps us to determine work eligibility in the United States.
MAPC is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. We believe that a staff with a range of perspectives, experiences, and skillsets strengthens our work. We are committed to building a more equitable workplace that allows staff with diverse backgrounds and identities to thrive, grow, and lead. For more information on MAPC’s culture of equity, see our  Equity at MAPC page. 

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