Closing date for receipt of applications is 22 September.
Background The V&A is Britain’s national museum of art, design and performance, and is one of the greatest museums of decorative arts in the world. The national collections of the art of photography, watercolours, furniture and woodwork, miniature paintings, sculpture, silver, jewellery and metalwork, textiles, dress, theatre and performance are all held at the V&A, which is also home to the National Art Library. The V&A Museum of Childhood holds the UK’s collection of art and design relating to childhood. The V&A’s purpose is to enable everyone to enjoy its collections and explore the cultures that created them, and to inspire those who shape contemporary design.
We are currently recruiting for the post of Assistant Curator in the Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass Department. Candidates are encouraged to learn about this collection from the V&A website.
The department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass has responsibility for some of the world’s most important collections from the early medieval to the present day, including the national collections of sculpture, jewellery and metalwork. Several of the most visited and important galleries in the V&A fall under their care, including the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries, The Cast Courts, the Hintze Galleries of British Sculpture, the Bollinger Jewellery Gallery, the Sacred Silver and Stained Glass Gallery, the Silver Galleries, and the Ceramics and Glass Galleries. The gallery footprint is, therefore, extensive as are the storage areas at Blythe House that are to be relocated to the Collections Research Centre at V&A East.
Assistant Curators perform vital roles in a department’s everyday operations. ACs utilise specialist skills, knowledge and experience to care for the V&A’s collections on display and in store, and to open up those collections to a broad audience both within the V&A and beyond.
As an Assistant Curator you will perform a vital curatorial role in facilitating the Museum’s programmes and projects by supporting the core management of its collections. Assistant Curators are key members of the curatorial team, expected to develop a knowledge of and commitment to the collections in their care, and to develop as rounded curators with the potential to progress to the next level.
As a member of a curatorial team, an Assistant Curator applies their professional knowledge and expertise to provide curatorial support to the Museum’s Collections Departments and to Museum projects, effectively liaising with various colleagues across the organisation, including those in Learning, the Registrar’s section, Conservation, Technical Services, Photography Services, and Documentation and Collections Management Services. Assistant Curators spend their time working on object-related activity and maintaining documentation which is relevant and integral to the Museum’s collections management policy. All Assistant Curators deal with enquiries from the public - written, by telephone and in person – and a strong commitment to public access will be required.
The range of tasks undertaken by Assistant Curators varies considerably and this provides the opportunity to develop a broad range of curatorial skills at the V&A working with colleagues across Museum activities. The postholder will work across all three sections of the department according to the department’s strategic priorities.
1. Assisting with all aspects of the care of objects for the purposes of collection management and in support of the museum’s public programme. This includes object handling, inspection, marking and location moves. This will involve liaising and working with technical staff, and may require lifting, carrying and installation of objects.
2. Assisting with collections interpretation, e.g. enhancing online catalogue records, gallery talks and tours, group visits. Assisting with the preparation of publications both in print media and online.
3. Assisting with the development of new galleries, displays, events and other aspects of the public programme.
4. Develop specialist knowledge of a relevant area of the collection.
5. Preparing and maintaining documentation, in both paper and electronic forms, contributing to online resources and taking part in regular audit and spot checks.
6. Checking galleries and stores, including environmental monitoring and integrated pest management and organising relevant maintenance as required.
7. Maintaining photography/digitisation programmes. This will involve liaising with photographers and moving objects.
8. Responding to public enquiries; providing access to material in reference collections and study rooms; supervising visitors and facilitating monthly Opinions afternoons.
9. Assisting with the administration, co-ordination and documentation of long- and short-term loans, into and out from the Museum.
10. Acting as a courier for the loan of objects in the UK and overseas.
11. Being committed to health and safety and ensuring familiarity with all the Museum's health and safety policies and procedures.
12. Be security conscious, ensuring familiarity and co-operation with all museum security procedures
13. Promoting equality and diversity in all aspects of work by developing and maintaining positive working relationships, ensuring that colleagues are treated fairly and with respect/dignity and actively contributing to developments that support the museum’s strategy for widening access, inclusion and diversity.
14. Carrying out ad hoc duties as requested by appropriate managers within the department, including museum-wide projects.
1. Education up to at least degree-level, preferably in an area relevant to the job or equivalent experience.
2. Excellent grammatical English and oral and written communication skills
3. Excellent interpersonal, team and influencing skills
4. Commitment, enthusiasm and responsiveness to opening up the collections to a broad audience, including non-traditional users.
5. Ability to demonstrate a creative and imaginative approach to developing engaging interpretation, and able to “tell a story” to non-experts.
6. Ability to work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders.
7. Able to manage multiple priorities and respond dynamically to change.
8. Experience of work in a museum, gallery or closely related organisation, on a professional or voluntary basis. Demonstrable commitment to the museum sector.
9. Proven ability to effectively undertake, complete and communicate research, and to communicate ideas to a wide audience.
10. A demonstrable interest in the collections of the Metalwork and Ceramics and Glass Sections, and a general interest in contemporary art and design.
11. High computer literacy with an ability to manage information systematically and accurately.
12. Commitment to working in support of the Museum’s projects and public programmes. Willingness to work flexibly as part of a team in order to achieve collective targets and deadlines.
13. High level of manual dexterity and demonstrable ability to acquire and apply essential core technical skills such as lifting, carrying and installing objects.
14. High motivation and ability to demonstrate initiative. Good time management skills. An ability to set priorities, manage a number of tasks concurrently and function with limited supervision.
1. Knowledge of museums and the way they work, including an understanding of collections management such as object handling, storage, and documentation.
2. Relevant post-graduate qualification, for example an MA.
3. Good knowledge of a relevant European second modern language for research purposes.
Hours/Salary: Net working hours (i.e. excluding meal breaks) are 36 per week. The salary for this role will be £22,627-26,341. Salaries are reviewed on an annual basis.
Annual leave: 28 days plus 8 days public holidays
Pension benefits: You will be auto enrolled into the Museum’s Group Personal Pension Scheme and have the opportunity on completion of Probation to an enhanced pension provision, including an employer contribution of 10%.
Other benefits: Non-contributory life assurance policy (to value of 4 x annual salary) An interest free season ticket or bicycle loan is available after completion of your probationary period. Free entrance to all the major museums and exhibitions in London as well as many others. Subsidised staff restaurant Discounts on purchases in V&A shops