Job Title: Assistant/Associate Curator
Working Title: Curator of Global Indigenous Art
Job Category: Unclassified Academic Staff
Staff Position Number: 00066240
Department Name: Spencer Art Museum
Department Number: 2136000
Supervisor: Associate Director/Senior Curator
Position Posting: https://jobs.ku.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=99742
Review of applications: begins April 20, 2012
The Spencer Museum of Art seeks an innovative, team-oriented, and highly motivated Curator of Global Indigenous Art. The Spencer Museum of Art (SMA) forms a vital part of academic life at the University of Kansas (KU). The Museum supports research and promotes education across the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences through the growth and preservation of its collections, the development of a community of scholars, publications and creative presentations as well as the display and interpretation of its extraordinary resources to the public.
The Curator of Global Indigenous Art will develop exhibitions, publications, and public programs on the arts and cultures of the Americas, Africa and Oceania from the ancient to the contemporary periods. Reporting to the Associate Director/Senior Curator, the Curator of Global Indigenous Art is responsible for:
• documentation, research, preservation, publication and growth of the historic and contemporary Indigenous art collection;
• organization of all aspects of permanent collection and loan exhibitions related to the collection area and thematic areas of interest;
• collaboration with education and academic programs staff as well as University colleagues across disciplines and Indigenous communities, including the Indigenous communities of Kansas, to develop and implement a wide range of interpretive programs and materials based on the collection and exhibitions;
• engagement with scholars, including KU faculty and students, and Indigenous communities to provide expertise on Museum objects for teaching and research;
• writing and speaking about global Indigenous art.
The curator will also be actively involved in the cultivation of donors, grant writing and other development activities. The ideal candidate will bring an innovative approach to exhibitions that will broaden an understanding and appreciation of the diverse peoples, arts, cultures, and religions of the world, past and present. The Curator of Global Indigenous Art is also part of the team for NAGPRA claims research and resolution.
The Spencer Museum of Art’s collection of Global Indigenous art is currently housed in a separate facility at the University of Kansas. It consists of approximately 9,300 objects and supporting materials (62% North and Central American, 15% African, 9% South American, and 14% Asian, Oceanic and European). The curator will be responsible for actively featuring these works in long-term collection-based installations and short-term exhibitions, and in collaborations for thematic presentations across curatorial areas.
Among the many potential partners for collaboration at KU are the departments of art history and anthropology, the Indigenous Studies Program, the Museum Studies Program and the Kansas African Studies Center. Other important partners include Haskell Indian Nations University and a number of regional Native communities.
Successful candidates will possess a strong record of historical research that embraces the arts of Indigenous cultures of the Americas, Africa and/or Oceania, explores the transnational connections between them, and attends to how broader issues of Indigeneity are materialized in visual culture. Although recent recipients of the PhD are invited to apply, ideal candidates will present a record of publications and extensive curatorial experience as well as strong leadership and interpersonal skills. The candidate will have demonstrated success in developing and maintaining academic, cultural, and curatorial programs while building and maintaining collections. The successful candidate should also be willing to work with practicing artists and Indigenous communities, and to engage in an interdisciplinary way with global Indigenous visual culture.
• Ph.D. in Art History, Anthropology or other field appropriate to the position, with an emphasis on Indigenous art and material culture of the Americas, Africa, and/or Oceania
• Minimum five years proven track record of working in a museum setting
• Demonstrated record of scholarship, connoisseurship, and leadership in acquisitions, exhibitions, and publications
• Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of curatorial practices and museum ethics and principles
• Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and organize groups such as committees, teams, task forces, etc.
• Demonstrated ability to work openly and effectively with donors and the public
• Demonstrated knowledge of NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) and other regulations governing fair use of collections
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to prepare and deliver concise, understandable, and effective presentations to a wide audience as evidenced by application materials
• Appropriate language skills in area of research
• Proficiency in MS Office Suite, including Word, Excel, Access and Outlook, web-based research tools, and social media.
• More than five years curatorial/museum experience (consideration will be given to assignment of associate curator based on this and other qualifications)
• Teaching experience in a University setting
• Experience with or in collaborative community-based settings and record of participation in professional or field-based activities
• Experience in areas of museum practice such as preventive conservation, ethical and legal issues in collections management and registration, digital collections, collections and descendant communities, or materials science
• Demonstrated success in repatriation of sacred objects as defined under NAGPRA
• 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, volunteers, docents, and Indigenous Communities
• Demonstrated high level of initiative, persistence in completing assignments, and ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
Statement on Diversity & Inclusion
As a premier international research university, the University of Kansas is committed to an open, diverse and inclusive learning and working environment that nurtures the growth and development of all. KU holds steadfast in the belief that an array of values, interests, experiences, and intellectual and cultural viewpoints enrich learning and our workplace. The promotion of and support for a diverse and inclusive community of mutual respect require the engagement of the entire university.
A complete application will include the following:
1) An online application (https://jobs.ku.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=99742)
3) Cover letter addressing qualifications for the position
4) Contact information for three references;
5) Research statement; and
6) Writing sample which is a recent publication (peer review article, book chapter, etc.) or exhibition catalog.
Review of applications will begin April 20, 2012.