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The Design Museum
Post Date: 11 Apr 2022


The Design Museum’s temporary exhibitions programme is the central focus of its activities. The exhibitions include monographs and thematic exhibitions on every aspect of contemporary design and architecture. 

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a self-motivated Curator who is passionate and knowledgeable about design to join the Curatorial team. The successful candidate will be experienced when it comes to delivering exhibitions to a broad audience, brimming with realisable ideas for the future exhibition programme, and capable of harnessing their knowledge of design to research and deliver compelling exhibitions. 

This role will suit an individual with exceptional knowledge of design history, connections within the design industry and experience researching and developing projects collaboratively.

Job scope
The role will involve taking responsibility for developing and delivering our upcoming exhibitions. It will also involve being an active member of the curatorial team. The curator will develop the exhibition content, generate a narrative, formulate an object list and work with the exhibitions team to deliver the exhibition according to a timeline. The role combines practical curatorial skills and the ability to build partnerships with the opportunity to take personal initiative and develop a curatorial voice.

The role may also include developing atrium or partnership displays, developing pre-existing exhibition ideas, and generating new exhibition concepts that fit with the museum’s curatorial vision. Those concepts may be presented to key stakeholders at the museum and upon approval, be developed in to a fully worked exhibition. This role reports to the Head of Curatorial and Interpretation and will have line management responsibilities for at least one assistant curator.

Job description

•    Develop exhibition content building on a pre-existing draft object list and narrative. 
•    Sourcing objects/exhibits for the exhibition from other institutions and galleries as necessary. 
•    Lead on the curation of the exhibition including key exhibition components such as the narrative, interpretation plan, viable loans, object lists, captions and labels and sourcing objects. 
•    Write engaging exhibition text that aligns with the interpretation plan.
•    Work with the Learning team to finalise the learning and public programmes toolkit relating to the exhibition.
•    Undertake picture research and copyright clearance.
•    Work with the Curatorial team, Head of Touring Exhibitions and Head of Marketing and Communications to improve existing marketing materials and develop new ones as required.
•    Support the Head of Curatorial and Interpretation and/or Chief Curator with departmental duties relating to the Curatorial team. 

Exhibition project management and administration  
•    Work closely with the Exhibition Project Manager and, if appropriate, exhibition designers to ensure the smooth and timely delivery of the exhibition as an integral member of a team.
•    Make approaches to exhibitors and lenders and work with members of the Exhibitions team to ensure Loan Agreements are secured.
•    Complete project documentation such as narrative, object list and design documents, ensuring that all relevant updates are accessible for all members of the team.
•    Participate in cross-departmental meetings relating to the project and other departmental matters and report to senior staff.
•    Attend and participate in relevant meetings on the project and deliver progress reports as required.
•    Consider the touring version of the exhibition, liaise with the Head of Touring as required and help provide curatorial information for potential tour venues.
•    Communicate the financial implications of the exhibition such as complex loans and potential transport challenges to the Exhibition Project Manager.

People management
•    Lead and inspire direct reports and the team to achieve the highest level of performance and develop their skills and talents to enable them to reach their full potential. 
•    Manage direct reports in accordance with the museum’s policies and procedures.
•    Act as liaison and point of contact for curatorial team or assigned project when required.
•    Manage volunteers, treating them as integral members of the museum and curatorial team and be responsible for their induction, supervision, and timely review meetings.
•    Work with and support volunteers to ensure their full integration into the museum.

Person specification

•    A degree in design history, art history or related field, with a proven expertise in design, architecture, fashion, technology, or science
•    Knowledge of contemporary design and ability to draw on an existing network within this sphere.

•    Extensive experience of working in the museum sector or similar.
•    Demonstrable experience of generating and delivering exhibitions.
•    Experience of delivering successful visitor engagement in the context of exhibitions and displays.
•    Experience of leading and inspiring a team and/or supporting the career development of others. 
•    Proven experience of working to international museum standards for loan requirements, transportation, packing, handling, and environmental requirements and negotiating loans and associated contracts.
•    Previous experience of curating exhibitions for a general audience that attracted substantial visitor numbers.
•    Experience of budgeting and monitoring procedures.

•    An adept communicator, particularly with regards presenting curatorial content to stakeholders.
•    Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
•    Ability to influence others and liaise effectively with colleagues and external contacts within a museum/gallery environment.
•    Ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines and retain good attention to detail.
•    A mutually supportive and collaborative team working style.
•    A commitment to the work of the museum and its values: welcoming, collaborative, enterprising and forward looking. 


•    A master’s degree in design history, art history or equivalent.

•    Experience of developing and delivering interpretation that effectively engages visitors.
•    Experience of working to high standards of object handling in a gallery or museum environment.
•    Experience of marketing touring exhibitions.
•    Knowledge of design software such as InDesign.

Terms and conditions
Salary: up to £30,500 per annum, dependent on experience  
Holidays: 25 days per annum + Christmas eve (museum closed)
Hours: full-time, 37.5 hours/5 days per week
Location: the museum is trialling a part-remote working arrangement, where staff work 60% of their role at the museum and 40% remote

Closing date: 19 April 2022, midnight
Interviews:  4 May 2022


London, UK

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