Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Job: Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, December 20. 2006 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

The application date for this opportunity has passed.

(This post, at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, will be formally advertised on their website in January 2007. is now advertised here.)

Job Title: Curator
Department: Contemporary Team
Pay band: Band 5
Reporting to: Head of Contemporary Programmes

Purpose of Job
To play a leading role in the Contemporary Team by initiating, organising and supporting a variety of projects in the Contemporary programme.

Main Duties
1. To curate discrete aspects of the Contemporary programme.
2. To project manage and co-ordinate discrete aspects of the Contemporary programme. This will include preparing and monitoring each exhibition’s schedule and supervising budgets to ensure projects are completed on time and to budget.
3. To actively contribute to the development of the Contemporary programme within and beyond the V&A context.
4. To ensure close liaison and effective communication with staff in other V&A departments and external contributors.
5. To communicate the programme to a wider professional and public audience.
6. To have a proven interest in global Contemporary art, craft and design with in-depth knowledge and expertise in at least one specialist area, particularly digital media, architecture or photography.
7. To research, publish and communicate new ways of presentation and of engaging people with the Contemporary programme, particularly through the use of the V&A website and other digital media initiatives.
8. To research and implement learning, evaluation and audience development methods.
9. To line manage and support the work of other Contemporary Team members, volunteers and students placements.
10. Answer general telephone and written enquiries; deputise for the Head of Contemporary Programmes when required.
11. Be committed to health and safety and ensure familiarity with all of the Museum's health and safety policies and procedures.
12. Be security conscious, ensure familiarity and co-operation with all Museum security procedures and ensure you wear a security pass at all times when on Museum premises.
13. Carry out other ad-hoc duties as required by the Head of Contemporary Programmes and appropriate managers within your department.

PERSON SPECIFICATION - Essential Requirements

The post demands a good level of general education, a high degree of literacy, numeracy, word processing and database skills, as well as the ability to work well with a wide range of people.
1. Proven interest and expertise in global Contemporary art, craft and design, particularly digital media, architecture or photography.
2. Effective diplomacy/negotiation and influencing skills.
3. Exceptional written and oral communication skills.
4. Awareness of and active interest in the V&A’s Contemporary vision and strategy and how this relates to the V&A’s overall aims and objectives.
5. Self-motivator, who can also work well as part of a team, and when necessary lead and motivate a team.
6. Exceptional organisational and planning skills with a proven ability to pay attention to detail, but also to be able to work on more than one project at a time.
7. Cheerful disposition with a flexible and positive approach to all aspects of the job. Ability to remain calm and deal courteously with people whilst working under pressure. Willingness to work on projects that are not necessarily your primary interest.
8. High level of initiative and common sense.

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  1. I have applied for the position as curator for a number of reasons, but there are two that stand out as the most pivotal for my personal and professional development. My desire to one day is a professional curator is the first point I would like to focus on. I have been to see many exhibitions at the V&A and have always been thoroughly impressed with the way the shows hanging are strongly presented. I recently attended the Georg exhibition and was amazed at the way the work was displayed. Such a keen eye for detail was used in the hanging of the paintings accompanied by the strategically placed sculpture and prints; the show�s fluidity simply blew me away from start to finish. I have always kept a keen eye for vacencies on your website and when I saw the opening I knew that this was a position that I would be very interested in pursuing. The role of the curator has always been appealing to me but my interest has grown from strength to strength

    Over the past year since leaving university I have worked as a recruitment consultant.
    I wanted to try my hand in a sales environment for the challenge along with the potential of earning good money and even better commission. I had achieved this but in the process have realized that this really is not the career path that I want to pursue at all. I want to work within the walls of something I can really enjoy and put my heart and soul into and in tandem something that I can be proud of when looking at the finished display. I feel that I can, and will do better for myself and the team being a part something I can sympathize and rationalize with.

    The second main reason I am applying for this position is truly the fact that I do enjoy and regularly attend exhibitions (solo and joined) and am fascinated by the way in which the curator can either enhance or destroy a body of work by any artist generally, whatever level they may be. I know what keeps and holds my and I feel the career path which I have taken thus far is not is not something I will be pursuing again, but it was a learning curve and I realize that that particular path just was not for me. I would love to work within the field connected to the thinking and practice of the art world and would like the chance to learn whilst something I am interested in and most importantly I feel I can excel and really forge a career in something I genuinely have an interest in. I have invested all of my further education into the subject and I feel this is what I would like to put into practice while learning the intricacies of the theoretical side of the curator role in the gallery and exhibition process. I feel strongly that this role would really hold my interest and would be a job that I could immerse and further myself and my already strong and meticulous thirst for the subject.

    I have had some prior experience in hanging my own exhibitions while studying painting in Wales and some smaller but by no less important experience over the past few weeks of sitting in and helping hang some Indian art works in a small gallery in West London. Through these means I have found the process a much harder and much more delicate than I could have ever imagined which has really spurred me on to apply for this role.

    I find myself gazing as much at the hanging and positioning of works as I do the works itself; one of my more recently favourites being the Banksy vs. Warhol exhibition which I found to be hung beautifully.

    Thank you for your time,

    Terry Rhodes
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  2. Nutcase.
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