Chief Curator – BAMPFA, University of California, Berkeley

BAMPFA (0422U) #18311


At the University of California, Berkeley, we are committed to creating a community that fosters equity of experience and opportunity, and ensures that students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds feel safe, welcome and included. Our culture of openness, freedom and belonging make it a special place for students, faculty and staff.

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We are looking for equity-minded applicants who represent the full diversity of California and who demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds present in our community. When you join the team at Berkeley, you can expect to be part of an inclusive, innovative and equity-focused community that approaches higher education as a matter of social justice that requires broad collaboration among faculty, staff, students and community partners. In deciding whether to apply for a position at Berkeley, you are strongly encouraged to consider whether your values align with our Guiding Values and Principles, our Principles of Community, and our Strategic Plan.


The mission of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) is to ignite critical dialogue through art, film, and other forms of creative expression. BAMPFA believes in the enduring relevance of art and film from around the world to explore the full spectrum of human experience. BAMPFA has developed an international reputation for its active and ambitious exhibition programs, as well as for the quality of its art and film collections and research resources.

After 46 years in a building designed by Mario Ciampi, in 2016, BAMPFA moved to its current facility: a celebrated complex designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro that transformed a historic printing plant into exhibition galleries and added new areas for film theaters, study spaces, and a library. Today, the art museum presents contemporary and historical exhibitions of artwork and artists from around the world, and the film archive presents rare, classic, and new films while serving as a center for film research and preservation. Each year, BAMPFA presents more than 15 gallery exhibitions and over 400 film programs.

BAMPFA’s collection of more than 20,000 art objects and 17,500 films and videos is characterized by themes of artistic innovation, intellectual exploration, and social commentary – reflecting the central role of education in BAMPFA’s mission. Representing a tremendous diversity of global cultures and historical periods, the collection has particular strengths in Ming and Qing dynasty Chinese painting; Mughal dynasty Indian miniature painting; Baroque painting; Old Master prints and drawings; early American painting; 19th- and early 20th -century photography; conceptual art and international contemporary art; African American quilts; classic and international cinema; West Coast avant- garde film; international animation; Soviet cinema; Japanese film (featuring the largest corpus of Japanese film outside of Japan); and early video art. For more information, visit our website


Position Summary

Reporting to the Director of BAMPFA and a key member of the senior leadership team, the Chief Curator directs the activities of the art curatorial and collection departments while working collaboratively and cross- departmentally. The Chief Curator will work closely with the Director to implement the artistic identity and vision for the museum as well as strategic initiatives for exhibitions, public programs and collections with a strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and a strong sense of cohesion to the overall BAMPFA vision. The Chief Curator will work on articulating collection and exhibition vision statements and developing an exhibition schedule. The position will oversee, manage, mentor, and develop a team of curators, registrars, and preparators. The Chief Curator will be a visible and accessible role to build strong relationships with their team, the trustees, artists in the community, and campus stakeholders.

The Chief Curator establishes objectives and implements programs through layered supervision of multiple functional units. This position is a new and unique curatorial and leadership role at a museum that’s part of an academic institution with a broad and diverse collection. This will be an important partner to the Director in building and strengthening the artistic identity and team with tremendous opportunity for innovation, positive leadership, and culture-setting at a critical time for BAMPFA, UC Berkeley, and the museum field at large.



  • Leads exhibition, collection development and care, education and research, access planning, and relevant policy development, maintaining a very high level of programs and activities that engage stakeholders and constituencies.
  • Based on original research, plans and conceptualizes multi-faceted exhibition programs and programs examining diverse topics.
  • Creates exhibitions and programs in conjunction with academic courses, departments, programs and faculty.
  • Holds leadership role in the international art field through substantial participation in professional organizations, close working relationships with international creators, festivals, and artists, and through original scholarly research.
  • Introduces programs and writes original scholarly articles and essays.
  • Stays abreast of the local arts community, current work, national and international scholarship in art history, issues relevant to exhibition, archival standards for preservation and presentation, collection storage and care, and new ideas and theories in the field through research and contact with other curators, artists, and scholars.
  • Hosts guest artist historians and critics including occasional residencies.


  • Part of senior management team, plays a key role in long-range institutional planning efforts, such as setting programmatic priorities, staffing levels, and developing visions for presentation, education, and collections access, policy development, and annual strategic planning efforts.
  • Oversees Director of Collections & Exhibitions, an institutional lead in long-term off-site storage planning and implementation.

Budget and Financial Operations:

  • Develops and oversees curatorial and collection and registration budgets working with individual curators and managers.
  • Sets objectives for income and expenses, analyzing and adjusting forecast on a regular basis.
  • Formulates long range programmatic financial vision, including staffing levels, facilities, equipment, and financial support needs.
  • Works closely with development staff to strategize and cultivate exhibition, program and collection support.

Leadership and Supervision:

  • This is the lead programmatic position, provides broad vision, and supervises the excellence, balance, and budgetary feasibility of the exhibition, education, and collection management programs. Sets policies and goals regarding programming, preservation, and acquisitions.
  • Supervises and coaches professional curators, educators, collection management, and registration staff.
  • As programmatic head, works with the Director as part of the museum leadership team.
  • Leads the integration of artistic and operational functions of art and film within the institution.
  • Acts as an effective spokesperson for the BAMPFA and the arts at Cal and at local, national, and international level.
  • Co-leads initiatives and strategies for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Academic Relations:

  • Establishes and strengthens ties with UC Berkeley faculty and BAMPFA.
  • Supports the teaching mission and works closely with faculty to create programs and exhibitions that support coursework and student engagement.
  • Develops co-sponsorships of programs and artist in residence with departments and research centers.
  • Involves selected faculty members in collection development planning.
  • Engages faculty in long-range program planning.

Cultivation and Development:

  • Actively cultivates donors, foundations, and government and corporate funders for programs specific as well as general curatorial needs, collection development.
  • Cultivates relationships with museum trustees, collectors, and artists for programmatic and financial support.
  • Involved with creating fundraising events with development staff. Staff liaison with board committees.
  • Develops and writes grants and collaborates with other staff in grant preparation, and six funding and sponsorship from international cultural organizations, regional organizations, individual donors, and campus entities. Solicits gifts of art and film.


  • Demonstrated specialization and knowledge in an area of the museum’s collection. Interest in art and film of all eras and geographies.
  • Expert knowledge of and substantial experience in standard museum curatorial practices and current trends.
  • Knowledge of selection, evaluation, and exhibition of objects in an art institution.
  • Expert knowledge of and substantial experience in collection building / connoisseurship, ethical and legal standards for acquisition, and of the current market.
  • Expert skills in scholarly research and writing scholarly publications.
  • Ability to take a long-range planning approach to artistic programming and collections.
  • Good skills in budget and project management, problem solving, flexibility, and process improvement.
  • Demonstrated interest and success in collaboration, working effectively with diverse stakeholders and possessing effective communication and diplomacy skills for a wide range of audiences.
  • Demonstrated experience and good skills in supervision: assessing, coaching, developing, managing, and mentoring professional staff.
  • Good skills in donor cultivation, fundraising, and relationship building skills.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.


  • Advanced degree in related area and / or equivalent experience / training.
  • Teaching in a university setting.
  • Extensive knowledge in modern and contemporary art.


For information on the comprehensive benefits package offered by the University visit:


Please submit your cover letter and resume as a single attachment when applying.

To submit your application, please go to and search for job number 18311.


Please include, as part of your application a brief (1-2 paragraph) statement on your contributions to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in your professional experience.

Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion are fundamental to our UC Berkeley Principles of Community, which states that “every member of the UC Berkeley community has a role in sustaining a safe, caring, and humane environment in which these values can thrive.”


The minimum posting duration of this position is 14 calendar days. The department will not initiate the application review process prior to May 24, 2021. The position is open until filled.

Questions about the position and search may be directed to James Kao, Berkeley Executive Search Manager, at


The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. For more information about your rights as an applicant see:

For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

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