Location: Durham City / Bishop Auckland
Faculty/Division: Arts & Humanities
Department: Any in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities
Grade: Grade 10
Position Type: Full Time
Contract Type: Permanent
Closing Date: 31 January 2017
We are seeking an outstanding academic leader and scholar in Spanish and/or Latin American Visual Art to be the driving creator of the Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art, a new collaborative initiative between Durham University and Auckland Castle Trust (https://www.dur.ac.uk/zurbaran). The Director will be an internationally recognised authority in her/his field who will act as an intellectual entrepreneur, developing academic contacts both inside Durham University, and nationally and internationally.
Durham University formally established the Centre in October 2016. It owes its inception to County Durham’s remarkable collections in Spanish art dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries, on the one hand, and Durham University’s established strengths in Spanish and Latin American Studies, on the other. The Centre will build on existing work to foster excellent research in Spanish and Latin American art, from the European Middle Ages and Pre-Colonial Americas to contemporary film and photography. Members of the Centre will collaborate with museums and galleries, providing its researchers with a unique opportunity to work with curatorial staff on joint research and engagement projects. It is expected that Durham University’s undergraduate and postgraduate student communities will have the chance to work with the Centre.
The Centre will be an embedded part of Durham University located in Bishop Auckland, where the Director will be primarily based. This represents an exciting opportunity to further the ambitions of both partner organisations to become the leading home for the study, enjoyment and appreciation of Spanish and Latin American art.
The twin catalysts for this initiative are Auckland Castle Trust’s major arts and heritage-led regeneration project in Bishop Auckland and Durham University’s strategic investment in founding the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture (CVAC) in 2014. A key pillar of the Auckland Castle project is the creation of a suite of galleries to house permanent and temporary displays of Spanish art.
Durham University’s commitment to visual culture was cemented in 2013–14 by the establishment of two chairs in visual culture, situated in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures (MLaC) and the Department of History. These appointments have provided dynamic leadership for CVAC, which co-ordinates visual culture research across the University’s three Faculties. CVAC unites some fifty members of academic and curatorial staff who are engaged in research on a variety of visual forms, objects and practices. It is home to a new taught MA in Visual Arts and Culture and to the Leverhulme Doctoral Training Centre in Visual Culture, established in 2015 with a £1million grant from the Trust. In its postgraduate provision and its current research initiatives, the Centre encourages collaboration between academic staff and those who care for and display the University’s museum and archival collections. This intimate relationship between scholarship and collection is mutually enriching for both parties. It allows curatorial staff to deliver teaching on a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes (over 1,000 hours in 2014–15), while also enabling teaching staff to become involved in the practice of curating exhibitions. This is one of Durham University’s unique features, and it enables not only visual culture but also other related areas, such as archaeology and anthropology, to thrive. Researchers from a number of different departments (including Anthropology, Archaeology, English, Geography, History, MLaC, Music and Theology) are currently exploring topics in visual cultures across a broad chronological span, and in a range of different forms, from the fine arts through to theatre, cinema, music and photography.
Auckland Castle is one of the most important working episcopal palaces in Europe, the seat of the Prince Bishops of Durham since the twelfth century. For more than 250 years, Auckland Castle has been home to the internationally significant cycle of masterpieces from the Spanish Golden Age, ‘Jacob and his Twelve Sons’ by Francisco de Zurbarán. These paintings hang in the specially-constructed Long Dining Room and, as such, form part of the extraordinary and high-quality collections of Spanish art in County Durham, which holds the largest concentration of Spanish art in the UK outside London. In addition to Auckland Castle, significant holdings form part of the collections of the Bowes Museum (which has more than 100 artworks), Durham University, Durham Cathedral, Raby Castle and Ushaw College.
Jonathan Ruffer, an investor and philanthropist, set up Auckland Castle Trust in 2012 to secure the future of the Zurbaráns in Bishop Auckland. This was a symbolic act, which prevented the sale of the paintings abroad. Auckland Castle Trust is using these paintings and the Castle as the centre-piece of an innovative art, culture and heritage-led regeneration initiative in one of the North-East’s poorest and most disadvantaged communities.
This project has seen the Trust develop ambitious plans for a Spanish Art Gallery. Located in the centre of Bishop Auckland, the Gallery’s permanent and temporary exhibition spaces will showcase Spanish and Latin American art from local collections and from leading national and international partners. To date, the Trust is negotiating partnerships with an impressive array of institutions, including in the UK, the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Bowes Museum, and Glasgow Life; in Spain, the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, and the Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica; and in the US, the Meadows Museum, Dallas, the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, and the Frick Collection, New York.
Relationships and Contacts
The Director will work closely with the Centre Administrator, as well as Centre staff, affiliates and postgraduates. S/he will also work with the Director of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture and with the University’s Director of Cultural Engagement. The role will also involve close collaboration with key staff at Auckland Castle Trust, including the Senior Curator for Spanish Art and his team and the Curatorial Director. The working relationship will be formalised in a management memorandum that will include the establishment of a Joint Management Board. The Director will lead on the drafting and agreement of the memorandum. The Director of the Zurbarán Centre will be located in an appropriate academic department of Durham University and will be line-managed by the Head of Department.
The successful applicant will be a researcher of international distinction with a record of successful academic leadership. S/he will have an international reputation based on a profile of world-leading publications in one or more sub-disciplines of Spanish and/or Latin American visual art. S/he will have a broad view of current scholarship in the field, and an interest in the relationships between different scholarly approaches to the subject. S/he will be expected to provide dynamic and proactive leadership, developing and enriching the research culture of her/his department, the Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art, and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. S/he will also strengthen existing relationships between Durham University and Auckland Castle Trust, and develop connections between the Centre and a range of international partners from the university and cultural sectors. The postholder will have a track record of postgraduate supervision and a commitment to excellence in teaching, contributing constructively to the ongoing development of undergraduate and postgraduate curricula.
The post is available from 1 September 2017.
- PhD in a relevant subject area
- An outstanding or developing record of academic leadership.
- An outstanding, sustained record of research in the field of Spanish and/or Latin American visual art/visual culture, including publication at international/world-leading levels of recognition.
- Engagement with cultural institutions and other non-HE partners in the generation and application of research.
- An excellent record of research grant application and income generation.
- A strong external profile (e.g. editorial roles, membership of editorial boards, provision of expert advice, membership of policy-making bodies or review panels, advisory boards or funding councils).
- Clear plans for future grant applications and research collaboration both within a field and across the University.
- A demonstrable record of high achievement in teaching.
- Evidenced commitment to the mentoring and guiding of early career academic staff.
- Ability to attract postgraduate students and secure their funding.
- A strong track record of successful postgraduate supervision.
- A record of leadership in teaching and course management.
- A record of securing philanthropic income to support academic initiatives.
Skills / Competencies:
- The vision and ability to shape the future of the Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art within Durham and beyond, as well as the future of a home department.
- Excellent leadership skills, coupled with the drive and ability to make a significant contribution to the department, the Centre, and the University.
- The ability to develop and sustain collaborative networks within and beyond the University.
- Evidenced ability to plan, lead and deliver collaborative projects across disciplinary boundaries.
- Outstanding interpersonal and communication skills.
- A demonstrable commitment to collegial working practices and to working with non-HEI partners.
Durham University is one of the UK’s leading Universities with a strong commitment to the highest international levels of excellence in research and education. There is an expectation that the person appointed will take personal responsibility for developing their role, and show excellence in leadership in working with students, academic colleagues and professional support staff.
As a senior member of staff, the successful candidate will be expected to demonstrate leadership externally in promoting the interests of the University.
As part of the application process please provide the names and contact details (preferably email) of at least 3 referees who could be contacted prior to interview.
Interview Date: April 2017 (TBC)