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Collections Assistant
Collections Assistant
The Zaha Hadid Foundation
Post Date: 01 Jan 1970


The Zaha Hadid Foundation (ZHF) has an exciting opportunity for two fixed-term Collections Assistants to join its growing team. Reporting to the Registrar (Collections), the Collections Assistants will primarily work on a project to audit, research, document, and rehouse the wideranging collection of paintings, drawings, and other archival material. They will also support other aspects of the organisation’s activities, including a library audit, the developing research, loans and exhibitions programme, and access to the collections for external researchers working with the Foundation.

ZHF aims to be a major national and international centre for the study of architecture and design, and all the visual arts insofar as they intersect with the urban environment. Its mission is to preserve and promote the artistic and creative legacy of Zaha Hadid, to advance research and education in areas pertaining to her legacy, and in relation to modern architecture, design and related disciplines. It will do this through the creation of appropriate premises for the display and study of its collections, and through curatorial and educational programmes in its own facilities and those of other institutions.

The Foundation
The Zaha Hadid Foundation aims to present the art and ideas of Zaha Hadid to local and global audiences. The organisation promotes new ideas in architecture and design, and the interaction of the arts in contemporary society, engaging with diverse audiences and supporting new scholarship in areas which pertain to her work and legacy. Whilst firmly rooted in architecture and the life and work of Zaha Hadid, the Foundation is planning and delivering a broad range of cultural activities, including a varied public programme of loans and exhibitions, from large-scale events for major international venues, to smaller and specialist in-house displays. The Foundation is planning and generating a wide range of activity, including conferences, colloquia, public lectures, film, online programmes, and publications. It has created a programme of fellowships and bursaries to advance new knowledge and innovative practice in relation to Zaha’s creative legacy; this includes practice in architecture, design, planning, museology, historical and theoretical studies. A major retrospective exhibition is being prepared for 2025 and this currently forms the basis of much of the Foundation’s research and collections work.

The Foundation owns and occupies two sites – a Victorian school building in Clerkenwell, which was the home of Zaha Hadid’s architectural practice from 1985 to 2020, and which now houses offices and public spaces which comprise a gallery, lecture theatre, research and teaching spaces.

The second building is the former site of the London Design Museum, bought by Hadid in 2013 when she established the Foundation. The majority of the Foundation’s collection is stored in this building, which is being refurbished to museum grade conditions, and which includes office space and a research facility for the study of the collections. The remainder of the collection is in external secure storage, at a number of varied off-site locations.

The Collection
The Foundation’s collection comprises of c.15,000 works across a range of media, including architectural models, furniture, interior design, paintings, drawings, architectural plans and blue-prints, fashion design, jewellery, and personal archival and ephemeral material. There is also a significant digital collection, and a collection of books which are currently being audited and which will form the basis of a research library.

The Role
The Collections Assistants will work as part of a wider team on a full-scale audit of the collection. They will report to the Registrar (Collections) who will be leading the project. They will work across a variety of practical, documentation, and research tasks including object handling and (un)packing, photography, object identification and simple description, and entering inventory information on to the collections management system (TMS).

Alongside the collections audit project, the Collections Assistants will support research access to the collections for the team responsible for exhibitions including the retrospective exhibition, being organised with a partner venue and opening in spring 2025. In addition, they will support external research requests by accessing objects for visitors (including those contributing to our exhibitions programme) and supervising the Research Room. They will also support the library audit and the loans and exhibitions programme as required, including packing and transporting objects, and working on exhibition (de)installations.

As a new institution, ZHF is effectively a ‘start-up’. It is important therefore that the postholders are flexible with regard to the tasks at hand, and able to work within a team environment that is sometimes pressured. The project will be devised and delivered in coordination with ZHF’s ambitious programme of collections activity, which includes a collections storage review and a public programme of loans and exhibitions, and with related research and learning activity.

The Collections Assistants will be practically minded with the ability to problem solve and will be highly IT literate. They will have practical experience of working with museum, archive or gallery collections, and an understanding of museum best practice and SPECTRUM and ISAD(G) standards. Experience of working with museum databases and/or working on the practical aspects of exhibition preparation and installation would be an advantage. Existing knowledge of 20th and 21st century architecture and design is desirable, and it is especially important that applicants demonstrate the enthusiasm to develop expertise pertaining to our collections. Applications should make clear any relevant experience in identifying, describing and cataloguing architectural materials including drawings, models, design objects and born digital materials, and an understanding of the methods and contexts of late 20th/21st century architecture and design.

The Collections Assistants will primarily be based at the ZHF object store at Shad Thames, but may also work at our Bowling Green Lane site, and will be expected to travel to off-site object storage locations across London.

Working within the Collections team, the Collections Assistants will:
• Work with and support the Registrar (Collections) on the collections audit and the development and maintenance of TMS
• Photograph the collection to agreed standards, including editing images and linking them to the collections management system
• Undertake basic object research to support the collections audit and preparation of the retrospective exhibition
• Rehouse the collection in line with museum, library and archive storage best practice
• Support the Conservator with integrated pest management procedures
• Support external access to the collections by researchers and students
• Support the ongoing Library Audit
• Work with and support the Registrar (Exhibitions) and the Exhibitions Officer in the delivery of the loans and exhibitions programme
• Support the development and implementation of policies and procedures to enable the Foundation to gain full museum accreditation Person Specification
• Practical experience of working with museum, archive or gallery collections
• Knowledge of and enthusiasm for architecture and design, and the pioneering work of Zaha Hadid
• Highly IT literate, ideally with experience of working with collections databases
• Strong practical skills and good manual dexterity
• Good interpersonal and communication skills
• Ability to work collaboratively and as part of a team
• Organised, with the ability to manage a diverse workload and to meet deadlines
• Commitment to equality and diversity in the context of the role

Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and Inclusion is at the heart of the Zaha Hadid Foundation. As we grow we will ensure that our principles and actions reflect this, and that we create a respectful, equitable and inclusive culture that supports all our employees regardless of age, disability and neurodiversity, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background. ZHF works to ensure that our recruitment processes are inclusive and accessible. We are committed to making adjustments wherever possible for disabled applicants. We are happy to discuss flexible working options for all our roles.

Application procedure
Applicants should apply in writing to [email protected], by no later than midday on 15 November 2023. We expect to hold interviews in w/c 27 November 2023, arrangements to be confirmed.

The following are requirements for the application process:
• a current curriculum vitae.
• a supporting statement of no more than 2 pages. This should outline why you believe you are suitable for the post, and why you find the Zaha Hadid Foundation particularly interesting. You should address the criteria outlined in the person specification in your statement.
• The names and contact details of two referees. Please indicate whether the referees can be contacted immediately, or whether you would prefer us to wait until an offer is being made.
• N.B. Please ensure your name is included in the title of each document. Applicants should state their eligibility to work in the UK for the stated period. Relevant employment checks, such as DBS, will also be undertaken as required.

The roles are appointed on a fixed-term basis for five months, and may be renewable.

Salary The salary is £27,820 (pro-rata)


London, UK

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