The Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas stewards and supports broad public engagement with a collection of more than 48,000 works of art created across a wide range of time periods, geographic locations, and cultural affiliations. The Museum seeks a Curator responsible for the collaborative stewardship, care, and accessibility of the approximately 9,300 objects and supporting materials (62% North and Central American, 15% African, 9% South American, and 14% Asian, Oceanic, and European) that comprise the collection of Global Indigenous art. This collection encompasses historical and more contemporary artworks across mediums that came to the Museum through a variety of channels, often by people associated with the University. More recent museum purchases have expanded the collection in ways that insert Indigenous art into global dialogues about art, environment, culture, and social change. Integral to the position, the Curator of Global Indigenous Art and Lifeways will actively engage contemporary Indigenous knowledge keepers and community members to build lasting relationships and integrate their voices, perspectives, and beliefs into museum practices and programming.
The Curator will make Indigenous art and ways of knowing and being more visible and prominent, assert Indigenous priorities, and develop innovative, exploratory, and expansive curatorial practices. Driven by a community-centered approach and methodology of team-based collaboration that includes the core tenets of respect, reciprocity, and relationship-building, the Curator will contribute to developing inter-relational ways of working, opening museum spaces to other voices, implementing listening practices, and activating community engagement and our collective imagination for a just future. The person in this position must bring a deep cultural sensitivity to their work with people and art to build relationships grounded in trust. Among the many potential partners for collaboration at KU are the Indigenous Studies Program, the Museum Studies Program, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Kansas African Studies Center, the departments of African and African American Studies, geography and atmospheric sciences, visual art, art history, and anthropology, in addition to the First Nations Student Association, Native American Initiatives, and the Indigenous Arts Initiative. Other important local partners include neighboring Haskell Indian Nations University and a number of regional Native communities.