Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
Art photography collections are held at regional museums, libraries and archives across the country but often without specialist curatorial expertise and, subsequently, many photography collections tend to be 'dormant' and inaccessible to experts and audiences, and curators responsible for photography collections do not have access to the necessary staffing and financial resources, or knowledge and specialist skills to actively develop their collections.
Building on the success of a two year programme, the Art Fund has agreed to support a third year of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s programme to help support the development of curatorial expertise in art photography, working with regional museum partners.
The V&A will work with a regional partner, chosen by open competition. The successful partner will have a permanent collection of art photography and be able to identify a discrete project for the assistant curator to deliver which will benefit the collection, the organisation and its audiences. It is likely that the successful partner will not currently have staff expertise in art photography. This project will result in material outcomes for the regional partner which could include, but are not limited to, an exhibition, a refocus of the collecting policy, a publication or cataloguing of the collection.
The project may, if wished, be related to a specific theme, for example, processes and techniques, British industry, British colonialism, Protest, Childhood, or Landscape. Tangible outcomes will be agreed with the chosen partner at the outset of the project, including a requirement for at least one seminar to be held towards the end of the placement to share good practice learnt in the context of the particular project.
The V&A and the selected partner will work together to support the aims of the programme and will be required to enter into a contract regarding the delivery of the project, including confirmation of the organisation’s capacity to support the assistant curator, by providing a nominated support manager for the post-holder, normally a senior curator and agreeing a regular reporting process.
The partner will contribute or source project costs for the participant’s placement project, working with the partner’s photographs collection, using the small contribution from the project budget (£3,000) as seed money.
Once the partner is selected and project agreed, an assistant curator will be recruited. Participants will spend approximately six months in the Photographs section of the Word and Image Department at the V&A, with a V&A curator as mentor and six months at the partner museum working on the agreed project.
The V&A will support the post-holder in developing their curatorial skills through work with the V&A photography collection and via participation in relevant V&A training modules. The V&A mentor will assist the participant in defining and developing their placement museum project and provide mentoring support over the six months they deliver the project at the partner museum.
The Art Fund will provide the V&A with funding to employ the assistant curator for the duration of the project on a 12 month fixed term contract each and travel expenses to enable the post-holder to work between the V&A and the regional partner. There will also be attendance at relevant conferences and visits to other important photographic collections.
Deadline for museums applications: 20 April 2018
Panel meet to select regional partners: w/c 23 April 2018
Assistant curator selection:
Advertisements: w/c 7 May 2018
Deadline for applications: 31 May 2018
Interview panel for assistant curator (regional partner to attend): early June 2018
Based at the V&A: July – December 2018
Based at the regional partner: January-June 2019
Should you have any questions, please contact
Julia Brettell, National Programmes Manager
Victoria and Albert Museum
Tel: 020 7942 2537
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