Curatorial Fellow for Diversity in the Arts

Job description

Hyde Park Campus

42740 Smart Museum

About the Unit

Job Information

Job Summary:

The Smart Museum is seeking a talented, creative, and motivated individual for a two-year Curatorial Fellowship for Diversity in the Arts.

Considering the Museum's program over the coming two years, priority will be given to candidates with a research focus on African American art or art of the African diaspora. Depending on areas of expertise, the fellow will have the opportunity to work between the Museum and a relevant academic department, such as the Department of Art History, and/or other departments such as: Anthropology, Cinema and Media Studies, English, History, and/or Visual Arts.

In consultation with the relevant unit, the fellow may teach up to one class per academic year, in addition to forging mentorships and collaborative partnerships both with curatorial leadership and existing faculty. The goals for the Curatorial Fellow during their tenure at the Smart Museum are to further their own scholarship, to help elucidate the powerful possibility of a museum as medium in an academic setting, and to hone the skills needed to launch a curatorial career. One of the aims of this fellowship is to increase the diversity of the museum profession including groups historically underrepresented in curatorial positions such as black/African American, Native American, and Hispanic/Latina scholars.

Reporting to the Curator of Global Contemporary Art, the Fellow works in partnership with the other members of the museum staff and works closely with faculty and other University colleagues, as well as members of our broader community.


  • As a member of the Smart Museum's highly collaborative staff, the Curatorial Fellow for Diversity in the Arts has the primary responsibility for directing the exhibition and development of the museum's permanent collection in the field of African American and/or African Diasporic art.
  • The fellow will be responsible for the care, cataloguing, display and expansion of the collection, organizing exhibitions, conducting research, curricular engagement and public outreach.
  • In partnership with colleagues in the Museum's curatorial and education departments and the University's Art History department (and others as appropriate), develop a long-range plan for collections expansion and installations, including developing an acquisition strategy for diversifying the museum's collection.
  • Develop and help manage re-installations of permanent collections galleries, with an emphasis on diversifying the presentation of our permanent collection and expanding the narratives told through the collection.
  • Oversee rotations of objects, write label copy and other didactic texts.
  • Work collaboratively with education and interpretation colleagues and with faculty, students, staff, and civic partners to organize workshops, seminars/webinars, conferences, and other collection and exhibition related programs.
  • Work closely with the Museum's external relations team to develop plans to promote exhibitions, collections installations, and related programs to diverse audiences on campus, throughout the South Side, across Chicago, and beyond.
  • The Curatorial Fellow will advance scholarship in the fields of art history and museum practice. The fellow is encouraged to continue to advance their own scholarly research.
  • Actively publish and present research in the field.
  • Participate in scholarly conferences as appropriate that contribute to the Smart Museum's visibility within the field.
  • Working in partnership with Museum staff, University, and community partners, develop public programs that engage with critical issues in museum practice
  • Establish and maintain relationships with a wide variety of scholars, artists, critics, collectors, dealers, and other professional colleagues.
  • Encourage curricular and co-curricular collaboration with departments across the University community whose content expertise aligns with or augments the Museum's exhibition projects and collection installations.
  • Work closely with the Department of Art History; Arts + Public Life; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture; the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry; the Arts, Science, & Culture Initiative; the Neubauer Collegium; and others to develop appropriate exhibition related collaborations that complement and provoke engagement between diverse art audiences and contribute a unique voice in the University's cultural landscape.
  • Curatorial Fellow can teach up to one course per academic year with approval of the Provost and appropriate academic department.
  • Serve as a member of the Smart Museum's staff and assist with various programs and projects. This includes coordination with colleagues across UChicago Arts, representing the Smart Museum on various arts-related committees both within the University and beyond, and other duties as assigned.

  • Sophisticated judgment in devising cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies required.
  • Strong organizational and analytical skills required.
  • Demonstrated fluency in Microsoft Office products required.
  • Outstanding interpersonal and communications skills required, characterized by the ability to listen, to speak, and to write well, with a strong commitment to customer service required.
  • Ability to manage confidential information with discretion and tact required.
  • Flexibility and adaptability to new programs in an emerging and changing environment required.
  • Willingness and ability to travel to campus sand/or non-campus locations for museum business required.

Additional Requirements

Education, Experience ,and Certifications:

  • A Ph.D. in Art History or a related field.

  • Strong knowledge of African American and/or African Diasporic art.
  • Some previous museum experience.
  • A record of innovative research.
  • Dedication to the care and stewardship of artworks
  • Exceptional organizational skills required. Must be able to oversee complex projects and schedules, maintain deadlines, establish and work within budgets, with the ability to set priorities and manage several projects simultaneously required.
  • Ability to successfully manage a workload that balances long-range planning with the unanticipated daily demands of art exhibition spaces required.
  • An eagerness to engage with the most pressing issues and questions facing museum practice today and a commitment to expanding the range of voices contributing to that dialogue.
  • Familiarity with the full range of current issues in museum practices particularly as they relate to the acquisition, exhibition, and interpretation of African American and African Diasporic Art.
  • Eagerness to work within the unique environment of a research university such as the University of Chicago, where a commitment to rigorous debate, field-changing research, and boundary-breaking collaborations is fundamental.
  • A substantial commitment to collaboration of all types, with museum colleagues, students, faculty, and external partners.
  • Comfort in establishing positive and effective relationships with internal and external communities, including major donors and collectors, board members, artists, members of the press, art dealers, professionals at other institutions, faculty, students, and the public required.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills with the ability to synthesize and accurately present relevant information required.
  • Knowledge of database management software preferred.
  • Willingness and ability to work occasional evenings and weekends as required.

Technical Knowledge or Skills:
  • Organizational and human relations skills with ability to collaborate well and supportively and cultivate good relationships with colleagues within the Museum and its many collaborators.
  • The temperament to work with a diverse and demanding population is expected.
  • Must be self-directed and self-motivated, able to set goals and develop projects.
  • Clear, effective, and tactful oral and written communication skills; ability to handle sensitive information with discretion.
  • Ability to prioritize and execute multiple tasks simultaneously with an ability to view a project in its entirety

Working Conditions and Physical Requirements:
  • The successful oversight of exhibition installations in a 10,000 square foot set of galleries requires the ability to conduct regular building rounds.
  • Considerable office work.
  • Ability to occasionally travel out of town

Required Documents:
  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • Reference Contact Information

Note: When applying, all required documents MUST be uploaded under the Resume/CV section of the application.

Benefit Eligibility

Pay Frequency

Pay Range
Depends on Qualification

Scheduled Weekly Hours


Job is Exempt?

Drug Test Required?

Does this position require incumbent to operate a vehicle on the job?

Health Screen Required?

Posting Date

Remove from Posting On or Before

Posting Statement:

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

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Full time

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Job No:
Posted: 4/4/2018
Application Due: 6/3/2018
Work Type: