ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM
CURATOR – ISLAMIC ART & CULTURE
Application Deadline: October 23, 2017
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Canada’s celebrated international museum and houses important collections in Art, Cultures and Nature (www.rom.on.ca). The ROM is the largest Museum in Canada, attracting more than one million visitors per year, with an annual operating budget of $65 million, and is a world leader in communicating its research and collections to visitors. The ROM features 40 galleries and exhibition spaces in its original heritage building and its 2007 Michael Lee-Chin Crystal designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind. Toronto, the fourth-largest city in North America, is a cosmopolitan, multinational city of 2.9 million on Lake Ontario. The Greater Toronto Area had a population of 6.1 million in 2015 and is growing rapidly.
The ROM seeks a dynamic, energetic, innovative individual with a track record of success in both research and exhibitions. The successful candidate will be involved in developing and implementing strategy to build, manage, and interpret the collection of Islamic Art and lead its interpretation and presentation to general and academic audiences. The ROM’s collection of Islamic Art & Cultures is the largest in Canada with over 10,000 objects. The historical collection has strengths in ceramics and manuscripts, reflecting the remarkable artistic and technical achievements of Islamic culture over more than 1,400 years, and the ROM collections of Ethnology and Textiles & Costume also house important materials from the Islamic cultures of Africa and Asia. The successful candidate will enjoy working with donors, collectors, scholars, external communities, and global partners with interests in Islamic Art & Culture and welcome interactions with many audiences, including families and children. The successful candidate will be a specialist in his/her field but interested in broad issues and questions related to Islamic Art & Culture that have relevance in the contemporary world. This position offers an opportunity to expand the ROMs world-class collection and exhibition program into modern and contemporary art and culture, while maintaining its historic strengths. The ROM is open to considering a range of candidates from an Associate Curator level to Senior Curator, consistent with the candidate’s experience and the strategic goals of the museum.
Education & Experience:
- A Ph.D. in Islamic Art History and Cultural Studies or closely related field at the time of appointment, or the equivalent in professional experience, exhibitions and publications.
- A research focus specializing in some aspect of Islamic Art & Culture. Candidates with a research focus on Iran and the neighboring Persianate world would have the closest connections to the ROM’s collections.
- A strong background of work within a museum environment, knowledge of peer institutions, and experience developing and implementing exhibitions, and working with internal and external stakeholders.
- Knowledge of and experience with Islamic archaeology, issues of provenance, and the dynamics of cultural heritage in contemporary works.
- Working knowledge of at least one language from an Islamic region.
- A record of peer-reviewed publications is required. Suitable credentials for cross-appointment to the University of Toronto or similar program is considered a strong asset.
- An established international network is desirable.
Items from ROM’s collection: Left: “Tell Minis” style bowl with human-headed winged lion, Western Syria, 11th c.; Center: Enamelled bottle, Syria, 13th c.; Right: Manuscript of the Qur’an, w/illuminations, Iran, 16th c. All images ©Royal Ontario Museum, 201
ROM Curators are expected to:
- curate, build the ROM’s Islamic Art, Culture and related collections, and build the collection in new directions;
- conduct or oversee research on ROM collections within their area of specialization, as well as facilitate research on the collection by outside/visiting scholars;
- participate in the development of and rotation within new permanent galleries and special exhibitions;
- develop a program of externally-funded, original, scholarly research and publications, usually relating to ROM collections and exhibitions;
- actively contribute to the development of public programming in a variety of formats, from on-site to on-line;
- participate in the development and implementation of plans to engage professional and community stakeholders, including Islamic diasporic communities in Toronto and Canada;
- participate in fundraising activities to support the ROM’s Islamic program;
- participate in fulfilling the teaching mission of the museum, through university teaching and/or through supervision of interns at the museum;
- work with the ROM Library to build resources on the study of Islamic Art & Culture.
Duties & Responsibilities:
- Work within the World Cultures Department and report to the Deputy Director, Collections & Research
- Work collaboratively with educators, exhibition team, designers and artists in the development, creation, interpretation, and installation of permanent galleries and special exhibitions
- Research, Publications, Programs, Collections:
- Collaborate with curatorial colleagues, collectors, patrons, and cultural organizations to generate important exhibitions, publications, and public programs
- Take responsibility for the Islamic collections, including study, rotation and display, care and record-keeping, provenance research, digitizing and publication
- Build and refine the collection into new areas, such as Modern and Contemporary art and culture
- Maintain professional affiliations in scholarly and museum curatorial organizations, professional societies, and relevant committees
- Actively cultivate support for acquisitions, exhibitions, symposia, research grants, and fellowships through association with professional organizations, foundations, and patrons on local, national, and international levels
- Public Program/Outreach:
- Prepare and give lectures, tours, and workshops to the volunteers, general public, professional colleagues, and other groups
- Given that ROM curators are unionized and are members of the ROM Curatorial Association (ROMCA), curators benefit from and follow ROMCA’s Collective Agreement.
- Have a good command of spoken and written English
- Ability to multi-task and handle the pressure of competing demands within a large, multilayered, and active museum.
- Ambitious for the institution and its efforts to develop strong networks into the local community, particularly the diaspora community; and with established international scholars and institutions
- Bring an interest in leveraging interdisciplinary possibilities and programs to build collaborative partnerships internally and externally
- Sensitive to cultural heritage
- Has high emotional intelligence
Compensation (governed by Collective Agreement):
- $65,828 to $140,556 per annum (commensurate with rank and experience)
- Full benefit coverage includes medical & dental plan, life insurance, long term disability, and pension
The ROM will begin reviewing applications on or after November 10, 2017; the posting will continue until the position is filled. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply for this international search. However, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.
Nominations are welcome.
Toronto is the fourth-largest city in North America, after Mexico City, New York, and Los Angeles. It is the country’s financial and business capital, and it welcomes 40 million tourists a year. It supports a lively arts and culture scene that includes museums, galleries, performing arts organizations, festivals (including the pre-eminent Toronto International Film Festival), a diverse restaurant scene and many working artists. It is home to 5 universities and 4 colleges. Toronto’s housing and job market, economic development and population growth have been expanding rapidly over the past decade, and it is recognized as one of the most diverse and multi-cultural cities in the world with 47 percent of the population self-reporting as “part of a visible minority.”
Ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world, Toronto is ranked as the safest metropolitan area in North America. It has many excellent public schools and a comprehensive public transportation system that includes buses, metros, trolleys, and a public bike program. The city has trendy and up-and-coming neighborhoods while at the same time, there are quiet neighborhoods providing an escapt beyond the bustle of downtown. Lake Ontario makes up the southern boundary of the city and provides many kilometres of beautiful, accessible waterfront. The city has many parks, and there are also many recreational opportunities near the city for canoeing, hiking, and outdoor beauty. Toronto is surrounded by Ontario’s Greenbelt, a 2-million-acre area of green space, farmland, forests, wetlands and watersheds that provide multiple farmers’ markets and local food options within easy reach. Niagara Falls is less than 2 hours away and sits adjacent to southern Ontario’s wine-growing region.
To apply in confidence
Qualified candidates should email 1) letter expressing interest in this particular position, giving brief examples of past exhibition experience and proposed research areas and projects; 2) curriculum vitae; 3) names of three (3) references with contact information. Submit application by October 23, 2017 to retained search firm: Marilyn Hoffman and Connie Rosemont, Museum Search & Reference, SearchandRef@museum-search.com. For additional information, visit: http://museum-search.com/open-searches/.
Short-listed candidates subsequently will be asked to provide publication samples.
The ROM is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. Upon request, suitable accommodations are available under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) to applicants invited to an interview.