16 June 2011

Vacancy: Tropenmuseum Director

The Royal Tropical Institute (Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen or KIT) is an independent centre for knowledge and expertise in the field of international and inter-cultural cooperation housed in a magnificent historic edifice. KIT’s mission is to further sustainable development, eradication of poverty, preservation and exchange between cultures and to raise interest and support for these aims in the Netherlands. KIT has five main sections: Information & Library Services, Development Policy & Practice, Biomedical Research, Tropentheater and Tropenmuseum, and three staff departments: Personnel, Information & Organisation, Finance & Control and Communication, Hospitality & Facilities. KIT employs around 360 staff in all.
The Tropenmuseum invites applicants for the position of
TROPENMUSEUM DIRECTOR (full-time - 38 hours a week) to start 1 January 2012.
The Tropenmuseum enjoys a reputation at home and abroad as an ethnographic museum. Using its collection and expertise, the museum promotes knowledge and exchange between cultures. The museum possesses an extremely rich collection of objects and photos. Attracting around 200,000 visitors annually, it is one of the country’s leading museums.
The Tropenmuseum presents, researches and promotes knowledge and exchange between cultures. It employs all the tools available to museums: exhibitions, publications, educational and other activities; it provides an empathetic experience to a wide and varied audience. The museum offers an innovative choice of themes and presentation methods, emphasising appreciation for cultural diversity, taking an active part internationally in culture and development, and playing an important role in education.
Through its financial connection to the Ministry of Development Aid, the museum is closely involved in international cooperation and exchange of expertise.
Key themes at the Tropenmuseum are:
•            Culture and development;
•            Cultural exchange and identity;
•            Colonialism and decolonisation;
•            Contemporary art and visual culture.
In recent years, the museum has totally revised its permanent presentation. This is an ongoing process. Plans for the coming years also emphasise realising new sources of income, strengthening ties with targeted groups in society and promoting long-term, mutual international contacts.
In a time of financial stringency, the new director is tasked with maintaining the museum’s innovative mission based on the latest expertise, public focus and sound financial management.
The museum has around 60 staff members in permanent employment. They are supported by a range of flex employees and freelancers. The museum comprises five departments; Administration, Collection, Public & Presentation, Museum Business and Tropenmuseum Junior. The heads of the departments and the director form the management team. The Tropenmuseum Director reports and is, as a part of KIT’s staff, responsible to KIT’s Supervisory Board.
Function Description:
Tropenmuseum Director
·       Is responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of a long-term vision for the Tropenmuseum, as well as policy and management of the museum within KIT;
·       Is involved in organising funding for the Tropenmuseum within KIT and stimulating substantial additional sources of income;
·       Ensures the Tropenmuseum’s position at home and abroad in terms of content, artistic quality and communication and is involved in acquisition and evaluation of (new) projects;
·       Leads the department management team, and indirectly also the Tropenmuseum staff;
·       Promotes collaboration between the Tropenmuseum and other KIT departments, for example in (inter-cultural) super-departmental projects.
Function Qualifications:
The new director’s curriculum vitae and motivation show that the applicant has attained:
•            Academic levels of work and thinking;
•            Evident relevant experience in a museum environment, preferably internationally oriented;
•            Vision, capacity for strategic thinking;
•            Experience in building and maintaining contacts in public and private life;
•            A motivational, stimulating and coaching leadership style;
•            Well-developed communicative skills, verbal and written;
•            Organisational sensitivity.
To fulfil the position successfully, the director must also have the following qualities.
·       Cultural enterprise: you have a vision for the future of the museum. You think in innovative terms and are sensitive to developments that may influence museum policy. You position the Tropenmuseum as an attractive partner for collaborative projects. You are able to realise additional funding and to persuade financial partners to make long-term commitments to the museum. You ensure financial continuity through collaborative projects at home and abroad. You acquired this expertise preferably through your commercial experience and/or through your experience in realising sponsorships at home and abroad. You focus on working efficiently.
·       Administrative sensitivity: in contacts with both administrative bodies and line departments you combine vision, resolve and persuasive power with understanding and respect for diversity and a belief in collaboration. You have a clear grasp of political and administrative mechanisms and know how to obtain advantage. You recognise the risk of political damage in time and assess successfully the possible effects that your own policy and/or proposals have on other organisations or departments. You see how an organisation’s policy areas interconnect. You can connect the day-to-day running of the museum to future developments, put these into perspective and can establish support for the Tropenmuseum. In this you take account of the interests of those concerned both in and outside the museum and manage to maintain a balance.
·       Decisive leader: you take a clear standpoint in situations, however vague, and you opt for a direction. You make choices, even if some factors are insufficiently clear and seem likely to remain so. You calculate risk consciously.
·       People manager: you know how to deploy your staff’s qualities effectively and can realise the Tropenmuseum’s objectives with respect and sensitivity towards people. You are a motivated, inspirational and coaching leader. You have a natural interest in the professional and personal development of your staff.
·       Networker: you have a wide, useful network (international, Dutch, museums, funds, government, EU). You make and maintain contacts with persons and organisations that are important to the Tropenmuseum. You deploy these in various areas to obtain support and cooperation, for collaborative projects and as critical sparring partners.
For more information about this vacancy please contact Mr J. Donner, Chairman of the KIT Supervisory Board, phone +31 (0)20 5688652. For additional information please visit our websites: www.tropenmuseum.nl and www.kit.nl.
Information about the Tropenmuseum and KIT relating to this vacancy (such as KIT’s annual report and Tropenmuseum’s business plan) is available on request. To receive documentation by mail please add a request on the application form.
Applications should be submitted before 30 June 2011. Please use the online application form accessible via our website: http://www.kit.nl/65152
The application process may involve a selection assessment. Application panels with varying members will conduct at least two rounds of interviews. The aim is to fill the vacancy as of 1 January 2012.

Horniman Museum Exhibition: Bali - Dancing for the Gods

Saturday, 16 April 2011 - Sunday, 8 January 2012

This exhibition explores the culture of Bali and in particular the way moral values and a respect for the environment are passed from one generation to the next through the stories and dance of Balinese Hinduism.

In 1961, the Horniman Museum received a gift of historic film and photographs belonging to Beryl de Zoete, who was co-author, with Walter Spies, of the classic work Dance & Drama in Bali. Their visual exploration of the performing arts of Bali provides a unique insight into the life and religion of the Balinese people in the 1930s.

In the exhibition, film and photographs from the archive provide the backdrop for a journey through the cultural heart of Bali, showing both change and continuity in the life of this jewel in the Indonesian ocean.

Highlight objects include a full gamelan orchestra, lavishly decorated with gilded carvings of flora and fauna, and a spectacular life-sized funeral bull. Dance costumes, masks, puppets, sculptures and textiles show the religious context of performance in Bali.

Exhibition admission charges

  • Including Gift Aid donation*: £5.50 adults   /   £3.50 concessions  
  • Standard admission: £5.00 adults   /   £3.00* concessions  
  • Free for under-16s
  • Season tickets also available. 

Conference: Figures & Fictions: The Ethics and Poetics of Photographic Depictions of People

24 & 25 June 2011 
Hochauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre for the Arts, V&A

Figures & Fictions focuses on the representation of people. This conference, will address the way contemporary and recent South African photography stages, complicates and contests identity in a huge variety of practices. Papers will examine the ethnographic past as well as historic documentary practices and portraiture, to explore the various ways in which humans have been depicted in this region. Contemporary photographers will discuss their work in relation to this photographic past. Critics, artists and historians will engage in debate about the politics, ethics and artistic strategies of picturing people in South Africa.

In collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art, University College London.

Speakers include Achille Mbembe, Elizabeth Edwards, Tamar Garb and artist Jo Ractliffe.

The conference is part of the events programme accompanying the Figures & Fictions exhibition at the V&A, which is being curated by Tamar Garb,
Durning Lawrence Professor in the History of Art at UCL.