Director of Culture and Engagement & Head of Research and Cultural Collections

United Kingdom
£51,034 - £77,108
Nov 06, 2019
Dec 06, 2019
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

Director of Culture and Engagement & Head of Research and Cultural Collections, External Relations

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time

12 month contract to cover maternity leave

Grade 9

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £51,034 to £59,135, with potential progression once in post to £77,108

Please note, interviews are scheduled for 10th December 2019.

Closing date: 24th November 2019

2020 will be an exciting year that brings the University of Birmingham's Culture team under the aegis of External Relations (ER), as part of a new unit headed up by the Director of Public Engagement.

The Director of Culture and Engagement and Head of Research and Cultural Collections (Director of CE - maternity cover) will need to ensure the smooth transition of the team into the ER structure, supporting the new Director of Public Engagement in the formation of a wider public engagement agenda.

Director of CE will oversee some significant projects during 2020, including but not limited to:

• Submission of Arts Council of England (ACE) Museum Accreditation return, being responsible for ensuring the highest level of care of the University's collections whilst providing access to them in support of a broad range of requirements from both internal and external users.
• High profile commemorative portraiture commission for Pro-Chancellor and Chair of University Council, to form part of the Campus Collection of Fine and Decorative Arts
• Acquisition and delivery of a major gift for the Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts of over 250 museum artefacts and related archive
• Fundraising and delivery of Sculpture Commission for the Green Heart and oversight of sculpture interpretation throughout the campus
• Design and redisplay of the Aston Webb building public corridors, including the commissioning of art work and the creation of a new network focussing on Equality Diversity and Inclusion and the Student Engagement agenda reflecting UoB as a multi-cultural, global institution
• Implementation of an artist in residence scheme with the Institute for Global Innovation and the Institute of Advanced Study
• Development of storage facilities for the RCC and relocation of various collections
• Preparation of a cultural offer celebrating the Commonwealth Games
• Supporting the development of the opening season for The Exchange, our new city-centre facility (from 2020) offering a focal point for cultural and public engagement and providing a convening facility and public space for stakeholders to work with UoB staff and students on a range of activities.

Job Summary

The Director of Culture and Engagement (Head of Research and Cultural Collections) will work was part of the newly created team reporting to the Director of Public Engagement within External Relations and will offer creative, cultural leadership and effective management of the Cultural Engagement and Research and Cultural Collections teams. Through cultural activity, the team engage thousands of stakeholders and support core University priorities including research, teaching, the student experience and civic and global engagement; delivering a breadth of cultural services to a wide range of stakeholders inside and outside the University.

The post holder is responsible for the University of Birmingham's Research and Cultural Collections (RCC); comprised of more than 26,000 artefacts at an estimated value in excess of £10 million that are housed across the Edgbaston Selly Oak and Stratford campuses. The post holder oversees the Research and Cultural Collections Study Centre, which provides a centralised and accessible space for staff, students and visitors to study and engage with our broad range of collections and unique cultural assets. The post holder will ensure that the collections and their related museum service maintain full Museum Accreditation by Arts Council of England (ACE). The post holder will manage a small team.

Main Duties

• To be responsible for the delivery of CE and RCC activity with regard to quality, efficiency and service standards

• Through the RCC Study Centre, to provide a research facility for our own academics and guest researchers, supporting the University's wider research agenda and working alongside Research Planning teams across all colleges

• Through the RCC Study Centre, to deliver and support high quality teaching across disciplines in innovative and inspiring ways, and to work with academic colleagues to further embed the collections into the University's curriculum

• To lead training and placement programmes for students, enhancing employability skills through providing valuable volunteering and placement opportunities

• To oversee a programme of exhibitions and events, celebrating and showcasing our collections, cultural assets and research for a wide range of audiences to engage with and enjoy.

• In line with Arts Council of England (ACE) Museum Accreditation standards, to be responsible for ensuring the highest level of care of the University's collections whilst providing access to them in support of a broad range of requirements from both internal and external users.

• To be responsible for the maintenance and curatorial management of collections within University buildings and elsewhere on campus

• To ensure that CE and RCC's objectives are aligned with University objectives for on-schedule and on-budget delivery, demonstrating a sound understanding of the financial regime in which CE / RCC and the University operate

• Play a significant role in supporting the development of the Public Engagement programme for The Exchange ahead of its opening

• To be responsible for formalising other potential collections of objects that record and represent the University's history and contemporary development.

• To lead by example in setting the highest possible standards and demonstrating the qualities of the 'Birmingham Professional' and the External Relations Values and Behaviours and be an active member of the External Relations senior management community

• Develop and implement a culture (including policies and procedures) that promotes equality and values diversity and inclusion

• Actively promotes equality and diversity to internal and external stakeholders

Person Specification


• Highly developed knowledge of the principles, theory and practice of museum and collections, and the wider museum and arts sectors
• Demonstrates a high level of understanding of UK and global HE and the implications for current and future strategy in the university museum sector and the cultural sector more broadly.
• Understands the contribution that the cultural offer provides to achieve the highest standards of leadership, being of the local community, the UK and beyond
• Ability to exercise a substantial degree of independent professional responsibility, discretion, tact and diplomacy

Skills & Experience

• Educated to at least graduate level preferably with a relevant postgraduate degree and with significant senior curatorial experience
• Experience of managing and developing teams of people from diverse professional backgrounds, experience of managing budgets, resources and funding and making sustainable long-term improvements across the area
• Demonstrates energy, determination and tenacity in pursuit of museums and culture
• Demonstrate the External Relations Values and Behaviours
• Experience of Public engagement or Public Programming.

• Excellent interpersonal skills with an ability to lead and motivate a team of staff and build effective and trusting partnerships and professional networks in the wider community
• Ability to communicate effectively and regularly at senior levels, to persuade and influence, and to keep the University abreast of developments to ensure service provision is in line with broader agendas
• Competence in representing the University externally to academia, industry and other bodies, including potential donors, in the UK and internationally
• Strong influencing skills

Dealing with Problems

• Ability to think creatively about opportunities and threats, to face conflict and look for common ground on which to build

• Competence in evaluating departmental activity and ability to recommend and implement innovative solutions to improve service quality, efficiency and continuity

• Experience of being a role model for resilience and positive response to change and a strong understanding of University culture and ability to influence the formal and informal organisation

• Able to use qualitative and quantitative data to monitor and evaluate the extent to which legislation and policies are applied

• Experience of developing interventions to address equality and diversity issues

Leadership Skills

• Through being accessible and visible, ability to provide leadership for a team of professional staff and create a motivating environment where people are challenged, developed, encouraged and supported to achieve outstanding results
• Network across the university to draw on the skills, knowledge and experience in different departments
• Ability to champion Public and Cultural Engagement internally and externally

We value diversity at The University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community'

Valuing excellence; sustaining investment

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