The Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University seeks an experienced professional and an accomplished scholar to serve as curator for its collections of African Art. The collection serves as a strong resource for thinking about the history of African art history and showing the dynamism of the continent, as well as questions of authenticity, provenance, representation, and display.
The Curator of African Art reports to the Museum Director, serves on a team of highly skilled collections, education, and administrative staff, and provides leadership for cross-departmental collaboration within the museum, between Emory’s campuses, and across institutions in Atlanta. The Curator works in support of the Museum’s mission to provide innovative public programming, and critical engagement with objects, their makers, and the cultures they represent. They will develop and present exhibitions, make acquisitions, steward donors, research, document and publish the collections, develop didactic materials and programming, work with faculty and students, and establish and maintain strong community and institutional relationships across campus, in Atlanta, and throughout the South. This could also include cultivating museum relationships nationally and internationally. In addition, the Curator will have the opportunity to teach university courses centered on the collections, in collaboration with faculty.
The African Art Collection:
The museum’s collection of African art contains approximately 1,800 objects and consists of examples of so-called historical or traditional arts, many of which may date to the twentieth century. The collection began in 1994 with the acquisition of more than 800 works of art from art collector William S. Arnett. While objects from Arnett predominantly consist of masks, headpieces, and carved figures from West and Central Africa, the collection has since grown considerably through gifts and key acquisitions. Today, the collection encompasses objects from West and Central Africa as well as East and Southern Africa, including textiles, ceramics, masks, sculptures, and jewelry, which foreground the continent’s various rich cultures and highlight motifs of individual and communal identity, power and leadership, religion and entertainment, continuity and change, among other pertinent themes.
- Under the general supervision of the Director, has overall responsibility for designated areas of the museum’s permanent collections.
- Develops and presents exhibitions relating to designated areas of the collections.
- Documents, builds, and maintains collections.
- Establishes and maintains community and institutional relationships.
- Identifies relevant objects in other public and private collections.
- Initiates and maintains relationships to facilitate the loan of such objects.
- Collaborates with the Registrar to organize loans.
- Develops and maintains relationships with dealers and potential donors.
- Manages the scholarly documentation of designated areas of the collection.
- Develops exhibits as part of a team.
- Collaborates with the Director of Development to identify and pursue funding for exhibitions and acquisitions.
- Identifies potential exhibition subjects and selects relevant objects.
- May teach university courses in the art history department.
- Maintains a relationship with other university departments to enhance the academic role of the museum.
- Collaborates with university faculty and outside experts in the development of projects.
- Develops and implements curatorial policies and procedures consistent with those of the museum.
- Maintains professional development by participating in educational programs and professional organizations and by networking with other curatorial professionals.
- Organizes and presents public lectures, seminars, and tours as part of educational programming.
- Conducts research to develop the academic content of exhibitions and collections.
- Seeks to develop institutional relationships to promote research.
- May supervise students, interns, staff, and volunteers.
- Demonstrated ability to write text of book-length publications and label text for exhibitions and permanent installations.
- Writes label text for exhibitions and permanent installations.
- Serves as editor for anthologies. Performs related responsibilities as required.
- Provide knowledge for shaping, caring for, and activating the collections for which they are responsible
- Develop innovative, dynamic and collaborative curation strategies for the permanent collections
- Work closely with African and African-descended communities to build and share knowledge about the collections, create opportunities for greater inclusivity, access, and representation, and identify areas of community interest, value, and involvement
- Develop projects for monitoring, treating, and documenting items in the collections in close working partnership with the conservation department and African and African-descended communities
- Identify and coordinate research projects that will create new knowledge about the objects in their collections
- Identify and research new objects for acquisition
- Research the collecting and provenance histories of individual objects in concert with the work of the museum’s provenance researcher
- Participate in the development of exhibition concepts, both within their areas of specialty and in support of others
- Develop exhibitions that support the overall mission of the museum and its areas of thematic interest, including engaging historic as well as contemporary African and African Diaspora art
- Collaborate with Emory faculty, staff, and students, as well as other community groups in Atlanta, in the development of exhibitions and other programming
- Develop strategies for engaging new and existing audiences, including contemporary artists and activists
- Research, write, and publish exhibition catalogues, and within the Curator’s specialist field
- Collaborate in the development of public programs
- Deliver and organize talks, lectures, symposia, workshops, and panel discussions
- Work in support of the museum’s artist residency program, building relationships with contemporary artists, thinkers and social justice advocates
- Teach and support teaching and research at Emory’s Atlanta and Oxford campuses
- Work with faculty in Art History, African American Studies, and the Institute for African Studies, along with other departments, to develop strategies for using collections in teaching and to facilitate research and collections-based projects (including exhibitions)
- Supervise students, interns, and volunteers to provide them with experience in museum practices, and support their studies or professional interests
- Serve on Museum-Faculty Advisory Boards and Search Committees
- Act as an advocate for the museum’s role in society
- Lead initiatives that expand participation in the museum’s programs
- Participate in national and international forums both within the museum field and in their respective field of research
- Advocate, practice, and speak for ethical collecting
- Advocate for the participatory museum
- Support the museum’s artist residency program by developing relationships with contemporary artists, activists, and advocates
- A graduate degree in Art History, Anthropology, Archaeology or a related discipline/field relevant to area of specialization.
- Three years of museum curatorial, collections management, exhibition design experience, including a record of successful exhibition projects and publications.
- hold a graduate degree (Ph.D. preferred) in African or Africana Studies, art history, anthropology, archaeology, or a related discipline
- have a record of research focused one or more of the ancient or contemporary cultures of the African continent and/or the African Diaspora
- have at least two years of curatorial experience, including a record of successful exhibition projects and publications
- have experience collaborating on multidisciplinary projects in a university setting
- demonstrate a vision for engaging with diverse communities at Emory and across Atlanta
NOTE: Position tasks are generally required to be performed in-person at an Emory University location. Remote work from home day options may be granted at department discretion. Emory reserves the right to change remote work status with notice to employee.