Summary and aims of role:
Somerset House are looking for an experienced Assistant Curator or Exhibition Coordinator with at least 5 years’ experience leading content development and delivery with artists, creatives and curators to take lead responsibility for the delivery of one major key project and provide support as required on other projects across the programme.
The Assistant Curator or Exhibition Coordinator will be expected to hit the ground running, support the existing Curators and Exhibition Coordinators and Assistant, whilst demonstrating leadership and initiative during a period of change in departmental senior management. The role will need a flexible working approach supporting the other members of the team who are leading on the existing projects, whilst providing an overview of the projects, ensuring budgets are adhered to and updated, enabling the team to manage their workloads and identify the resourcing needs of the projects. The role will need to respond intuitively to the changing needs of artists and curators and the need of Somerset House’s internal departments. The role will also need to support the Director of Programmes in identifying and resolving resourcing needs.
The role will require working with internal coordinators, internal and external curators and technical production managers to oversee, support, and for one key project take on the coordination of all logistical aspects of the project. They will be required to provide advice on, and undertake registrarial duties as required, whilst also ensuring that the content is developed to a high standard and in a manner reflecting the mission of Somerset House and suitable for its audiences.
Background to Somerset House
Somerset House seeks to be an inspirational creative community where contemporary culture is imagined, created and experienced.
For 250 years, Somerset House has played a central role in our society as a place where our culture and collective understanding of the world is shaped and defined.
In 2000, it began its reinvention as a cultural powerhouse for today, advancing a new generation of creative thinkers who are pushing intellectual and creative boundaries and shifting perceptions of our culture. We celebrate our heritage by looking to the future with renewed social purpose, creating unique and stimulating experiences for the public, bringing them into direct contact with ideas from the greatest artists, makers and thinkers of our time. Located at the geographical heart of London, we are uniquely placed to serve the capital, the country beyond and the wider world.
A registered charity, we operate an independent economic model where commercial and artistic imperatives comfortably co-exist. At Somerset House, art is embedded within a wider community of creative enterprise, creating a pragmatic and viable vision for the arts and cultural centre of the 21st century.
Our vision is to become the UK’s leading centre for contemporary culture, with unexpected ideas and experiences emerging from the intersection of the three groups that constitute our unique cultural ecosystem.
For the public, we seek to be an inspirational place to experience the work of today’s boldest minds, providing intellectual and cultural connections with new ideas and the people behind them. The combination of our celebrated neo-classical setting and our bold, forward-thinking output creates surprising, stimulating and joyful shared experiences for our visitors.
For artists and makers of all disciplines, we seek to encourage experimentation and the creation of new work. We are somewhere for today’s creative generation to take risks, to push boundaries, to collaborate, and go beyond the obvious.
For the wider creative community, we seek to be a home to the largest cluster of creative enterprises in London, a mutually-supportive community ranging from start-ups to established creative businesses, where the best people, ideas and organisations can thrive.
Role and responsibilities
Main activities and responsibilities:
Senior level correspondence and decision making around logistical aspects of projects
Supporting the coordination of project team meetings and internal project communications
Working closely on the development and delivery with other SHT departments to ensure the success of associated Learning programme, PR campaigns, Digital content outputs, exhibition delivery and running, retail and publication offer, opening events
Supporting and at times leading on the negotiation of loan agreements, managing all conversations with lenders and artists around arrangements for transport, couriers, insurance and matters of display for all exhibition objects
Put in place relevant measures and systems to ensure the safety and security of objects whilst in storage, transit and installation
Overseeing and leading conversations on international shipping
Budget monitoring and management
Supporting, and at times leading on, coordination with technical production manager and external consultants to develop the design/layout of the shows and installation plans
Working with the Technical Production Manager to oversee the Coordination of installation and deinstallation onsite as required
Proof reading and editing text as required
Devising and managing exhibition schedules
Evaluation and reporting
Managing relationship with external curators, working with internal curators to manage relationship with artists. Management contracts and payments of curators, artists and other external consultants
At least 4 years’ experience of managing and coordinating programmes and events
Experience of preparing and negotiating agreements and contracts associated with loans, artists and all aspects of exhibition production, and experience of commercial insurance
Proven experience of working on exhibitions and related programming drawing loaned content from private collections and public institutions working according to best practice
Proven experience of working with living artists at various stages in their careers
Practical experience of object handling, displaying a broad range of objects and artworks, transportation, installation, de-installation and management of contractors onsite
Substantial experience of feeding into and managing individual exhibition budgets; ability to highlight specific issues, implications and propose solutions for discussion with senior managers
Experience of organising and co-ordinating tender processes and contractor appointment
Excellent project management and organisation skills with a good attention to detail
Excellent numeracy, verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to compile and present clear records
Experience of managing and operating within a budget
Ability to plan and work to deadlines
Ability to work simultaneously on numerous different fast paced projects, working to agreed deadlines and within schedules
Adaptable and flexible approach to working
Ability to develop strong working relationships with a people from a range of contexts within the organisation and externally, including strong negotiation skills
A thorough and professional communication style and excellent interpersonal skills - Excellent organisational skills coupled with attention to detail and accuracy
A positive and proactive approach to tasks and new challenges
Ability to work as part of a diverse team
Fully computer literate, particularly Microsoft Office including Excel and Word
Self-motivated with the ability to prioritise and handle a varied workload
An interest in developing innovative approaches to public engagement
Experience of developing partnerships and working with a wide range of stakeholders
Ability to work regular evenings and weekends where necessary
A good knowledge of the cultural/creative scene in London
A passion for the arts in its widest sense
Somerset House is open to all and we value the unique skills of everyone. Somerset House Trust is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion in our workplace, so if you’re a suitably qualified applicant we’ll welcome your application whatever your age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or socio-economic background.
Closing date: 12:00 on Monday 25 June 2018