Job Opportunity!

August 25 2016

Image of Job Opportunity!

Picture: Tate

There are three new jobs open at Tate - one of which is as Assistant Curator, Modern British Art. To qualify, you'll need:

[...] a degree or post-graduate degree in art history or a related field, along with a broad knowledge of twentieth-century art, and demonstrable relevant work experience working with displays, exhibitions or a permanent collection. You will also need specialist knowledge of at least some aspect of the area that the post covers: Modern British Art. 

The salary, however, is £24,360, for a full-time position. AHN has huffed and puffed about low curatorial salaries before (e.g here). But it's especially curious to see such low salaries being offered at Tate, one of the world's leading and best funded museums. Only a few weeks ago they opened a new £260m extension at Tate Modern. If it was possible to raise such sums for a building, why not a fraction of that to pay people properly?

Over on Hyperallergic, Benjamin Sutton has done some further number crunching, and points out that:

[...] with starting annual salaries of £24,360 [...] the average monthly rent in London, £1,561 (~$2,065), will gobble up all but £5,628 (~$7,450) — or 23% — of that.

Though Tate’s entry-level assistant curator salary works out to £13 (~$17.20) per hour before taxes, comfortably over the London Living Wage of £9.40 (~$12.44) per hour, it amounts to just half of the average London salary of £48,023 (~$63,500). 

And don't forget the cost of those degree-level qualifications you'll need to apply - the average student debt in the UK is £44,000. For a PhD it's way more.  

The Tate's job website says:

Our jobs are like our galleries, open to all.

But the reality is that the low pay offered, twinned with the expensive skill requirements, means only the better off can afford to apply - and this can hardly lead to the diverse workforce Tate aspires to achieve.

Meanwhile, Tate in Liverpool is looking for artists for a 'Socially Engaged Commission'. The artist will need to:

[...] research and deliver a new commission in Spring, 2017. The commission process will include a research period with the opportunity to develop a new work at Tate Liverpool, in collaboration with local communities and a network of established partners in the North of England and beyond. [...]

Artists should have experience of working in the field of collaborative socially engaged practice, understand the ethical issues involved, be relevant to local conditions and engage a broad audience.

You get £40,000 for that. 

Update - here's an advert on Codart for a Junior Curator at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, so in terms of experience and seniority a broadly comparable job as that advertised at Tate. You need to have a degree, though no mention is made of post-graduate degrees. The salary depends on experience but is a minimum of €34,344 a year, with a maximum of €44,928.

Quite a difference - and I bet Amsterdam's a cheaper place to live than London.

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