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Curatorial Director at Javett-UP

The Javett Art Centre, Pretoria, South Africa
Deadline: 24 March 2024

Courtesy of Javett-UP

Courtesy of Javett-UP

In our commitment to fostering inclusivity and ensuring a fair opportunity for all interested candidates, we are re-opening applications for the position of Curatorial Director at Javett-UP.

Please Note: Previous applicants need not re-apply as your submissions are already under consideration.

Job Title: Curatorial Director
Department: Curatorial Department, Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria
Reports to: CEO
Job Status: Full-Time
Compensation: Competitive, dependent on experience
Deadline to Apply: 25 March 2024

The Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP) was born of the vision of its founding partners, the University of Pretoria and the Javett Foundation, to create a home in South Africa for Africa’s artistic practice. The founding partners have made significant material investment to bring to life their vision for a thriving art centre open to the public that not only houses and exhibits the work of great African artists, but that is also a centre of education excellence. The Javett-UP will be a space that celebrates the cultures of Africa, that invites trans-disciplinary exploration of art and expressive creativity, and strengthens the transformative potential of the University of Pretoria’s award-winning anchor institution strategy for urban renewal in Tshwane. The Javett-UP will provide resources for and support the University’s research, teaching and learning and community outreach functions and strengthen its social responsibility activities to ensure that the two institutions thrive and form part of an exciting, Afro-optimistic celebration of the creative, education, dialogue, heritage and culture.

Organisational Vision

Launched in 2019, the Javett-UP aims to be an exceptional centre that enhances learning through transdisciplinary journeys in the arts. We engage diverse publics through creativity, exploring the human condition, and re-imagining our futures.
Values: Accessibility – Accountability – Care – Collaboration – Inclusivity – Social Justice


The Curatorial Director is a key member of the Javett-UP’s executive team at a critical and exciting moment in the development of this young organisation. This role involves a combination of strategic planning, leadership, and artistic expertise to shape and implement the organisation’s vision and strategy, whilst directing the Art Centre’s exhibitions, educational and public programming, and caring for its collections. The Curatorial Director is responsible for leading both the conceptual and operational implementation of the programmes developed by the curatorial department and approved by the board of trustees. This role will work cross-departmentally and across disciplines, often in collaboration with the University, to ensure that all curatorial activities and projects are appropriately managed.

Key Areas of Responsibility

Curatorial Vision:

  • Refines and implements the curatorial vision and strategy that aligns with the Javett-UP’s vision, values and strategic priorities.
  • Collaborates with the CEO to integrate curatorial objectives into the overall strategic plan, under the guidance of the board of trustees.

Curatorial Leadership:

  • Leads in the development and delivery of curatorial programmes and projects in line with the Art Centre’s strategic plan,
  • Manages and mentors the Javett-UP’s curatorial team and supervises contracted consulting curators, conservators, and related consultants, fostering a collaborative, respectful and creative working environment.
  • Encourages professional development and growth among team members.

Curatorial Programme:

  • Serves as the content authority for Javett-UP exhibitions, ensuring a balance of accessibility, scholarship, schedule and value for audiences;
  • Develops and manages a diverse and far-reaching exhibition programme comprising both exhibitions showcasing Javett-UP and UP collections, as well as guest curated and touring exhibitions.
  • Facilitates national and international partnerships for Javett-UP exhibitions.
  • In consultation with the executive team, develops and monitors curatorial and exhibition budgets, and reviews exhibition contracts, agreements, and other key legal and administrative documents.
  • Manages exhibition budgets, time-lines, gallery spaces, and resources responsibly and effectively.

Collections Management:

  • Oversees all aspects of collection management including storage, collection care and conservation, acquisitions and loans, and all related policy development and implementation in line with relevant standards and best practice;
  • Develops and oversees the implementation of a digital strategy to ensure effective collection management and archiving, and enable innovative digital curation

Public engagement:

  • Oversees the development and delivery of engaging educational and public programming, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for diverse publics
  • Builds rapport and cooperative relationships with the local and global community to increase the Javett-UP’s visibility and relevance.
  • Engages in outreach and educational activities to connect with diverse publics.

Research and Scholarship:

  • Oversees the development of scholarly and popular publications, both exhibition-based and collection-oriented.
  • Promotes scholarly research and publications related to the institution’s collections, exhibitions and archives.
  • Works collaboratively and consultatively with various academic departments and institutes at the University of Pretoria, other academic institutions and cultural organisations.
  • Participates in professional and intellectual discourse related to the Art Centre’s vision and strategy through key professional associates and the broader visual art and heritage sector;

Collaborations and Partnerships:

  • Cultivates relationships and supervises curatorial liaison with artists, collectors, galleries, art centres, museums and cultural institutions to facilitate collaborations, programming, and loans.
  • Acts as a representative of the institution within the arts, heritage and civil society sectors locally, nationally, and internationally.


  • Works with the CEO to develop fund-raising support for curatorial programming and opportunities;
  • Contributes to the development of innovative shop merchandise and products, and other creative revenue generation initiatives.
  • Performs other duties as assigned or required.

Education and Experience 

  • Advanced degree in art history, curatorial studies, heritage or related field is required. Ph.D. in art history or related field preferred;
  • At least 7+ years of curatorial and collections experience, ideally within a visual arts organisation, with progressive responsibility, 5 years’ leadership experience, and a proven track record of realising high-profile, complex exhibitions, programmes and publications.
  • Experience in developing and managing proposals / plans and budgets,
  • Experience with engaging with and reporting to boards, funders, and other high-profile stakeholders.

Specialised Knowledge and Competencies 

  • Significant knowledge of South African and African visual culture and arts, within the context of global developments and trends;
  • Current knowledge of ethical standards and legal requirements related to collections and exhibitions;
  • Deep interest in and experience with visitor engagement – actively seeks information to understand and anticipate visitor expectations and needs, uses data to consider and inform how actions or plans will affect customers; responds quickly to meet customer needs and resolve problems.
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to engage with diverse audiences and stakeholders in a professional and engaging manner, in small and large groups, in writing and with interpersonal communication skills
    Proficiency in more than one South African language preferred.

Key Personal Attributes

  • Innovation: a dynamic approach to problem-solving that generates new solutions and applies existing knowledge in new ways; should constantly be seeking ways to improve the Javett-UP’s practices, processes and offerings.
  • Initiative: the vision and ability to lead change at the Javett-UP; taking prompt action to accomplish objectives; being proactive to achieve goals beyond what is required.
  • Adaptability: ability to work flexible hours including evenings, weekends, and occasional travel; maintain effectiveness when experiencing major changes in work tasks or the work environment; adjust effectively to work within new work structures, processes, requirements, or cultures.

Key Relationships

  • Reports to the CEO of the Javett-UP, and works consultatively and cooperatively with the executive team;
  • Participates actively in the art committee and other relevant governance committees of the Board of Trustees and UP, including Javett-UP Interfaculty Advisory Group (JIAG);
  • Works collaboratively with various departments and institutions within the University of Pretoria.

Please Note: All shortlisted candidates may be required to participate in relevant skills assessments as part of the selection process.

Applicants are requested to submit applications to with the Subject Line: Application for Curatorial Director Vacancy

In applying for this post, please attach:

  • Brief expression of interest letter;
  • A comprehensive CV;
  • Certified copies of qualifications;
  • Names, e-mail addresses and telephone details of three referees whom we have permission to contact.

CLOSING DATE: 10am Monday 25 March 2024
No application will be considered after the closing date, or if it does not comply with at least the minimum requirements.


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