Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Job - Curator, International Art, Tate Modern, deadline June 26

Posted by April Steele • Thursday, May 26. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

The Curatorial department, Tate Modern is responsible for the delivery of exhibitions and displays
and for building Tate’s International Collection.

The acquisitions team within the department is responsible for Tate’s acquisition programme and
plays a leading role within Tate in researching the Collection. It contributes to the display and
exhibition programmes of all Tate sites, as well as to publications. Curators within the department
work across all Tate sites.

You can find further information about Tate on our website:

Purpose of the Job

To research and work on the acquisition of African art for the Tate Collection. To work on Tate
Modern’s programme of exhibitions and collection displays.

Main Activities/Responsibilities


Within the framework of the acquisition strategy led by the Head of Collections (International Art)
you will:
• Contribute to the formulation of acquisitions strategy in the field of modern and contemporary
International art, with particular reference to African art.
• Research and propose acquisitions, and contribute generally to the work of the team of curators
that focuses on acquisitions of International art.
• Advise the Head of Collection (International art) on developments and events in the field of
modern and contemporary African art.
• Maintain and develop an appropriate network of contacts among artists, artists’ estates, dealers,
critics, scholars and auction houses.
• Liaise with Development and build relationships with possible benefactors, and along with the
Development team manage the Africa Acquisitions Committee.
• Negotiate acquisition terms and contracts with vendors; follow internal acquisition procedures;
ensure proper liaison and communication within Tate during the acquisition process.
• Write informed and accurate texts about acquisition proposals for the Trustees and for funding
• Make presentations within Tate and to external bodies in relation to acquisitions.
• Maintain and develop awareness of art market and current valuations.

Exhibition and displays
Within the framework of the agreed programme of Tate Modern and led by the Chief Curator, Tate
Modern, you will:
• Contribute to the conception of exhibitions and collection displays.
• Contribute to Tate Modern’s international curatorial and project exchanges.
• Lead, co-ordinate and manage large and small exhibition and display project teams, as required,
to ensure smooth delivery of projects. This may involve negotiation of loans and liaison with
artists, collectors, public and private institutions, and responsibility for budgets.
• Write accessible gallery wall texts and captions.
• Write informative and scholarly texts for Tate exhibition catalogues; edit exhibition catalogues.
• Lead tours and presentations of displays and exhibitions.

Research and cataloguing
Within the context of Tate’s research programme and goals, you will:
• Follow and engage in scholarly debates about modern and contemporary International art.
• Maintain and extend expertise in your specialist areas.
• Contribute to Tate’s overall research programme, including exhibitions and displays, as required.
• Establish correct catalogue information for acquired works.
• Research works in the Collection, preparing short texts, board notes and catalogue entries and
other types of writings around the Collection as required, writing in a clear, accessible prose and
according to Tate house style.
• Present research and critical thinking about the Collection outside of Tate.
• Co-ordinate seminars.

Administration and management
To assist with the smooth running of the department and to contribute to the achievement of
departmental goals, you will:
• Act as project manager for specific projects.
• Attend Tate events.
• Supervise interns or volunteers when required.
• Line manage Assistant Curators.
• Participate in staff recruitment when required.
• Take on administration-related tasks and projects, when required.
• Provide valuations of works of art
• Give expert advice to external bodies, as required.

Person Specification

• A relevant degree and post-graduate degree in the history of art, or a related field.
• Substantial and relevant work experience in an art gallery, museum, or with a collection.
• Extensive experience of the processes involved in staging displays and exhibitions, including
managing budgets.
• Demonstrable knowledge of and practical involvement in modern and contemporary African art.
• Track record of publications.
• A high level of knowledge and understanding of issues surrounding collecting modern and
contemporary art for museums.
• Specialist knowledge of African art.
• A well-developed visual sense and understanding of issues involved in the display of works of
art in a public gallery.
• Awareness of issues of equality and cultural diversity as they affect the work of a major museum.
• An established network of contacts in the field of African art.
• Well-developed interpersonal skills, with the capacity to lead, yet flexible enough to work well
within a team, and work collaboratively across Tate.
• Skilled negotiator with aptitude for managing different types of relationships
• Demonstrable excellence in verbal communication and presentation.
• First-class research skills.
• Excellent writing skills, including the capacity to write authoritative texts for a specialist
readership as well as accessible texts for a general public.
• Excellent organisation, planning and administrative skills, with ability to prioritise and
coordinate multiple activities to meet deadlines.
• Ability and willingness to travel and to attend out of hours functions, as required, to meet Tate’s
• An interest in and commitment to the work of Tate.

• Knowledge of at least one foreign language
• Knowledge of Tate’s Collection.
• Knowledge of the scope of UK and international collections of African art.

The closing date for the return of completed application forms is Sunday, 26 June 2011 by 5.00

To apply, please visit

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