Kluge-Ruhe Residential Fellowship: First Nations Curator

The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia seeks applications for a new program.

Ishmael Marika curating Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Bark Painting from Yirrkala at Kluge-Ruhe in 2018. Photo courtesy Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia.

About the Opportunity

In partnership with the Australia Council, Kluge-Ruhe is offering a residential fellowship in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.  The fellow will curate an exhibition of 60-70 limited edition prints by First Nations Australian artists drawn from the Basil Hall Collection at Kluge-Ruhe. Comprising more than 1500 workshop proofs donated by master printer Basil Hall, the collection encompasses artworks created between 2002 and 2022 by artists from diverse nations throughout Australia.

This fellowship is divided into two residential periods totalling six months with a holiday break in December-January. Research and development will take place over four months between mid-August and mid-December 2023. The fellow will return to Charlottesville for two months in February to March 2024 to oversee installation and implement programs associated with the exhibition.

This schedule aligns with the semesters at the University of Virginia, ensuring that the fellow has access to museum curators, staff, and academic partners throughout the residency. It also allows production time for didactics and the printed catalog prior to the exhibition opening. We are aware that the lead time for this inaugural curatorial fellowship is very short and we are working to lengthen the lead time for future iterations.

The residency will coincide with activities at Kluge-Ruhe including an artist residency (September 2023) and the opening of the major touring exhibition Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala in Charlottesville (February 2024). Each of these programs will provide opportunities for the fellow to engage with Indigenous Australian artists visiting the United States.

Kluge-Ruhe is holding a Q&A information session at 11am AEDT on Friday 21 March for people to learn more about the Fellowship. Potential applicants can click here to join this Zoom session.

Tasks will include research of objects, preparation of didactics, development of an original 1500-2000 word essay to be printed in an exhibition catalog, content development and implementation of public programs, including web-based programs, and gallery guide training.

The curator’s responsibilities will include the following:

Month 1: Conduct research, develop curatorial rationale and learning goals for the exhibition

Month 2: Create checklist and arrangement, select wall colors, draft texts and labels

Month 3: Draft essay, finalize texts and labels, plan public programs

Month 4: Finalize essay, write press release and media blurbs

Month 5: Supervise installation, train gallery guides

Month 6: Implement public programs

The fellow will work collaboratively with Kluge-Ruhe’s staff on all aspects of the exhibition and associated programs, contributing to and shaping practices that will accelerate First Nations leadership throughout the museum, a key initiative of Kluge-Ruhe’s Strategic Plan 2021-2026.

In addition, the fellow will consult with the Embassy of Australia’s curatorial team during a three-day visit to Washington D.C.

  • This opportunity is ideal for an established curator seeking professional growth through an international experience. Emerging and mid-career curators are welcome to apply. Kluge-Ruhe has a track record of successful curatorial residencies with curators such as Stephen Gilchrist (2011) and Kimberley Moulton (2015). The community of Indigenous artists and cultural practitioners associated with Kluge-Ruhe, and the members of our Advisory Council, led by a First Nations co-chair (based in Australia), will support this position. Together they will help to shape and expand Kluge-Ruhe’s offerings in a more integrated way – as members of our team.

    Kluge-Ruhe is holding a Q&A information session at 11am AEDT on Friday 21 March for people to learn more about the Fellowship. Potential applicants can click here to join this Zoom session.

    Kluge-Ruhe is committed to a culture of inclusion and respect that begins with those who were here first, and whose continued presence is important to our future. We partner with the Monacan Nation and First Nations communities throughout Virginia and nationally to amplify their voices. Please reach out to us with your access needs, including how we might accommodate your family or carer. Click here to learn more about Kluge-Ruhe.

  • APPLY ONLINE by submitting 1) a current resume or CV and 2) an Expression of Interest explaining your qualifications, what you can uniquely contribute to this project, and what you hope to get out of this opportunity.
  • Applications close Tuesday 4 April 2023 at 3pm AEDT.