Assistant Curator for Research: Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas

Working Title: Assistant Curator for Research
Department Name: Spencer Museum of Art
Supervisor: Director of Academic Programs / Celka Straughn
FTE: 1.0 FTE, limited term/contingent on funding
Start Date: July 2016
Appt Length: 3.5 years (until conclusion of award)
Review of applications: Begins March 14, 2016
Online Posting:

Overview of the Integrated Arts Research Initiative:
With the Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI), the Spencer Museum of Art (SMA) at the University of Kansas (KU) proposes to transform the art museum into an active hub for collaborative research between the arts and other disciplines—particularly the humanities, engineering, sciences, and social sciences. Research generated by the initiative will foster reciprocal exchange and the production of knowledge driven by scholars from multiple disciplines. By providing opportunities for motivated KU students and faculty to participate in deeper and more sustained interactions with the Museum, IARI will deepen engagement with university audiences and collaborators. IARI is supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Overview of the position:
The assistant curator for research is central to building a sustainable research infrastructure at the Museum. With specialized knowledge extending beyond the visual arts, the assistant curator for research will conduct collections research, including acquisition research and proposals, and develop exhibitions relating to IARI projects in collaboration with colleagues. The person in this position will contribute to the Museum’s institutional vision by participating in weekly curatorial meetings, monthly staff meetings, and other planning discussions. As a research collaborator and facilitator, the assistant curator for research will also participate in IARI research projects, foster long-term partnerships between SMA academic staff and scholars from diverse disciplines, and disseminate research concepts and findings through traditional and innovative formats. Working within a team environment, the assistant curator for research will promote dialogue, engagement, and collaboration both within the Museum and beyond, serving as an important public intellectual voice in the fields of the arts, humanities, sciences, and technology. He or she will be expected to present ongoing research at scholarly conferences or other venues as appropriate.

The assistant curator for research will also coordinate all aspects of IARI in cooperation with the Director of Academic Programs. In particular, the assistant curator for research will develop programs or other strategies and mechanisms that support collaborative research efforts, such as regular meetings, convenings, workshops, and other means to promote discussion and share ideas. This position will also facilitate faculty, graduate and undergraduate research fellowships, as well as visits by invited creative specialists and external scholars.

Candidates for this position will hold a PhD or equivalent and have familiarity with the visual arts and interdisciplinary research that integrates the arts, as well as experience conducting research and collaborating with scholars from different professional backgrounds. The ideal candidate will be a strong scholar and an excellent facilitator, able to negotiate team relationships across departments. He or she will also possess strong leadership abilities and the ability to guide and contribute to numerous simultaneous projects. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply.

Duties and Responsibilities:
40%     Research Facilitation

  • Develop strategies to advance, support and sustain collaborative research efforts
  • Identify and cultivate research partners
  • Facilitate collection research by outside scholars and curators
  • Work with partners to identify, apply, and integrate diverse methodologies
  • Identify, review, synthesize, and summarize relevant research on new collaborative initiatives in the arts and sciences, as well as new developments in academic publishing
  • Prepare final research report on IARI projects and issues of collaborative interdisciplinary research

40%    Curatorial and Collections Engagement

  • Collaborate with colleagues on research, documentation, interpretation and publication of SMA collection objects that inform IARI projects
  • Research and propose collection acquisitions relating to IARI projects
  • Contribute to development of special exhibitions and projects pertaining to IARI, including Teaching Gallery “dossier exhibitions” of project research
  • Contribute to public dissemination of research activities, including through publications, scholarly presentations and online research presence
  • Oversee the IARI research forums and other convenings
  • Contribute to the Museum’s institutional vision by participating in weekly curatorial meetings, monthly staff meetings, and other planning discussions

15 %   Administration

  • Organize and oversee creative specialist residencies and external scholar visits
  • Assist with selection and oversight of faculty, graduate and undergraduate research fellows
  • Play an integral role in the IARI grant writing team
  • Oversee evaluation and assessment of IARI
  • Serve on the IARI Advisory Board

5%       Other

  • Other duties as assigned

Required Qualifications:

  • PhD or terminal degree.
  • Demonstrated record of scholarship such as completed dissertation, peer-reviewed publications or projects, and/or contributions to exhibitions and exhibition catalogues.
  • Demonstrated experience with collaborative interdisciplinary research across the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences
  • Familiarity in the visual arts and/or research that integrates the arts.
  • A job history demonstrating experience working openly and effectively with higher education collaborators and the public
  • Experience preparing and delivering concise, understandable, and effective presentations to a wide audience as evidenced by application materials
  • Experience working collaboratively and organizing groups such as committees, teams, task forces, etc.
  • Experience with MS Office Suite, including Word, Excel, Access, and Outlook; web-based research tools; and social media as evidenced in application materials.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience identifying and pursuing new forms of inquiry and disciplinary integration
  • Willingness to engage with ideas and proposals beyond one’s field of expertise
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, able to quickly develop rapport, as well as build and maintain effective long-term relationships with staff, colleagues, and volunteers
  • Familiarity with evaluative processes
  • Demonstrated high level of initiative, persistence in completing assignments, and ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • Fluency in one or more foreign languages
  • Familiarity with securing financial support for research

Application requirements:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Sample of written work (no longer than 5,000 words) or other scholarly product
  • Names and contacts for academic and professional references

Categories: Job Postings