Pleasant Rowland Textile Specialist & Research Director – University of Wisconsin

JOB NO: 222751-AS

To Apply:

The Center for Design and Material Culture (CDMC) in the School of Human Ecology seeks a Textile Specialist and the Pleasant Rowland Research Director of Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection (HLATC). Working closely with the Executive Director of the CDMC and the faculty Director of HLATC, This position will be responsible for the long-term programmatic success as well as the day-to-day curatorial research operations of the HLATC in order to enhance both further development of collection-related resources and curation of the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery. More specifically, this position will develop a research plan and core knowledge rooted in the strengths of the 13,000 objects in the HLATC collection, develop and implement various programs such as formal classes and online offerings, exhibitions, and publications. A successful textile specialist and director will be entrepreneurial and will develop new programs and initiatives that highlight and share the HLATC collection. This position will deliver instruction for a range of stakeholders, with a focus on HLATC textiles and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. The role includes interacting with a wide range of constituents, including UW faculty and staff instructors and researchers, community members, museum colleagues, and donors. Reporting to the CDMC Executive Director, this position will be subject to an annual performance review. The position will also work closely with HLATC Collection Manager, and other CDMC and SoHE communication staff.


50% Curatorial Research and Programming involving Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection (HLATC)

Conduct research related to the HLATC that supports curriculum, exhibitions, programming, and publications and guide collection management strategies (including collection planning and acquisitions). Serves as subject matter expert and point of contact for faculty and researchers whose research stems from HLATC. Publish and/or present original research rooted in the collection. Provides subject matter expertise in support of internal and external funding requests.

30% Teaching and Teaching Programs through HLATC

Designs, develops, and delivers instruction based in HLATC, to include one-off class visits, consulting with various instructors to use HLATC in their classes, professional development opportunities, and e-learning experiences. Provide research and educational experiences for instructors related more broadly to Material Culture and Design Thinking. In particular, the Textile Specialist will have the opportunity to work closely with the Design Studies department on curriculum development using HLATC. Provide programmatic support for SoHE and UW instructors who use HLATC. Provide mentorship and operational guidance on day-to-day research activities of student workers and volunteers.

15% HLATC Outreach

Use understanding of breadth and depth of HLATC to act as an “ambassador” for use of the collection, both on campus and beyond in relevant communities, including development and advancement. Develops and maintains relationships with researchers, donors, collectors, and cognate groups such as local textile guilds.

5% Duties as assigned

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background – people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.

MA degree in art history, history, material culture, conservation, anthropology, design studies, or a related field with a research focus on textiles required. PhD preferred.

Three years of post-graduate work with increasing responsibility in museums, libraries, academic centers, or other nonprofits and have documented textile research management experience required.

The successful candidate will have a strong understanding of textiles’ material qualities and textile connoisseurship, and a track record of exhibitions, and/or publishing, and/or evidence of a research agenda grounded in the study of textiles. They will have experience teaching through textiles, broadly defined. Candidates with a focus on global textile traditions that complement research and teaching strengths in Design Studies and the CDMC will be given special consideration. The successful candidate will engage with all three pillars of the CDMC: textiles, material culture, and design thinking. While they will be expert in textiles, the successful candidate will have a familiarity with or a willingness to learn about material culture and design thinking approaches. In particular the successful candidate will have a strong understanding of material culture and object-based instruction. Experience working with development and advancement is also important.

– Ability to work effectively within a diverse community
– Demonstrated commitment to creating an inclusive work environment
– Team and collaborative work
– Excellent communication skills
– Managerial experiences

THE HELEN LOUISE ALLEN TEXTILE COLLECTION: The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection advances understanding of cultures and their history through engagement with textiles for the creative, technical, and educational benefit of scholars from the University and beyond. It is a teaching collection, with over 13,000 textile artifacts spanning 16 centuries and 108 countries.

THE LYNN MECKLENBERG TEXTILE GALLERY: The Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery provides a space dedicated to year-round, rotating displays of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, making the collection even more accessible to the public.

THE CENTER FOR DESIGN AND MATERIAL CULTURE: The Center for Design and Material Culture is the primary destination for the multi-disciplinary study of material culture and design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with particular focus on the study of textiles, material culture, and design thinking. This vision is supported by the rich resources of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, two galleries, the Ruth Davis Gallery and the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery, and the SoHE Innovation Studio. See:

SCHOOL OF HUMAN ECOLOGY: The mission of the School of Human Ecology is to understand the complex relationships and interdependence among individuals, groups and families, and to focus on quality-of-life issues through research, creative innovation, education, and outreach. The School has four academic departments (Civil Society and Community Studies, Consumer Science, Design Studies, and Human Development & Family Studies) with a collective undergraduate enrollment of 1,500 students, and 100 graduate students. See

UW-MADISON: The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a strong reputation as a research university and for producing research that improves people’s lives. The University consistently ranks among the top 6 institutions in national research expenditures. In 2015, the University received a community engagement award from the Carnegie Foundation for its commitment to deeply engaging with local, regional, national, and global communities. It is a land-grant institution with an enrollment of about 43,000 students. The University provides excellent technology and library resources. Madison (pop. 243,000) is the state capital and combines the culture of a large urban area with the comfort of a small city. See

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