This full-time, fixed term post (24 months) is based in the Department of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum. The Research Assistant will work primarily on the exhibition, ‘The Colour Revolution: Turner to Whistler’ (provisional title), reporting to the exhibition co-curators Matthew Winterbottom, Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, and Dr Charlotte Ribeyrol.
The exhibition will be a high-impact outcome of the Chromotope Research Project, a five-year research project funded by a major European Research Council grant. Chromotope is a collaboration with Sorbonne Université, Oxford University English Faculty and the Ashmolean Museum.
Scheduled to open in July 2022, the exhibition will challenge widely-held perceptions that the Victorian age was dark and gloomy. It will explore John Ruskin’s crucial role in shaping modern debates about colour, and the challenges posed to his writings by Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution. It will examine interest in the revived colours of the past, the colours of South and East Asia and technological and scientific innovations such as coal-tar dyes and chromolithography. A major academic conference exploring these themes will also take place at the time of the exhibition in Oxford.
The duties of the Research Assistant will include activities relating to researching, cataloguing, interpreting and documenting the exhibition objects; research and teaching support; and Public Engagement with Research activities. The Research Assistant will liaise with colleagues across the Museum, including those in Conservation, Exhibitions, Design, Learning, Registrars, and Public Engagement, ensuring that all aspects of the exhibition project are taken forward efficiently and effectively.
You will be an early or mid-career researcher who already holds a PhD/DPhil or equivalent in History of Art, History or English. You will have specialist knowledge of an aspect of British 19th century art or design and a good general knowledge of 19th century British art and/or design. You will have some experience of object-centred research and museum scholarship. You will be aware of issues around collections care and conservation. You will have excellent organizational and communication skills, proficiency in in at least one other relevant European language (e.g. French or German) and the ability to manage varying demands efficiently. You will have excellent IT skills with the capacity to use the MuseumPlus collections database.
The Department of Western Art holds internationally eminent collections of European fine and decorative arts from the late Middle Ages to the present day. The Western Art collections are held in twenty-three permanent Museum galleries, in the Print Room (open to the public) and in reserve collections. They are the subject of teaching and research by Ashmolean curators and by academics in Oxford and in other institutions nationally and internationally. The collections and gallery displays are enriched by loans of works of art and by acquisitions. Public engagement with the collections physically and digitally is central to our curatorial work.
All applications must be made online using the Oxford University E-Recruitment system. You will be required to upload a CV and a Supporting Statement as part of your application.
Interviews are expected to take place on 30 July 2020 and you must be available on the interview date. Please note in normal circumstances only interview travel expenses within the UK will be reimbursed. Interviews may be arranged by Skype.