Curator with The Media Majlis at Northwestern University in Qatar

Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), situated at Education City in Doha and a member of Qatar Foundation, is one of the twelve schools of Northwestern University, a leading non-profit research university founded in Evanston, Illinois, in 1851. Since 2008 NU-Q has offered Bachelor of Science degrees in Journalism and in Communication, as well as a certificate in Middle East Studies and a joint minor, with Georgetown University, in media and politics. In January 2017 Northwestern opened its new home in Doha, designed by the highly regarded architect Antoine Predock.

A focal point of this new building will be The Media Majlis, the first university museum in Qatar, and the first museum in the Arab world dedicated to the content of media, journalism and communication. Through active discussion and interrogation, the museum’s exhibitions will explore journalism, communication and media—pasts, presents and futures—with a global orientation that reflects the universal nature of media, overlaid with Qatar, Persian Gulf, and Middle East perspectives.

Historical perspectives will help visitors understand the media landscape but The Media Majlis will largely focus on present-day and future aspects and issues of journalism and communication, featuring interactive and digital components combined with physical objects, programing, and publications.  The Media Majlis is a bilingual museum, which will be open to the general public and dedicated to providing audiences with constructivist, visitor-centered exhibitions, programs and resources in a positive, dynamic, educational and interactive environment. The museum will use extensive technology resources, actively contribute to research and the museum profession, and take a future-orientated trajectory.

The internal ethos that drives The Media Majlis, its tone and mindset can be summed up in three words: Always Another Side.  This principle allows the museum to blow open subjects by exploring different disciplines and perspectives—enriching every story to offer a 360° perspective.  The Media Majlis never assumes a story is finished, and interweaves contributions from media, specialists and academia with those of students, professionals, and visitors, representing multiplicity and inviting lesser-heard voices to speak. This is an active space that brings people together, where exhibitions and programs challenge standard narratives with audiences. As an integral and integrated learning space within the university, The Media Majlis will make accessible and engaging experiences the priority, irrespective of audience.

As a future orientated museum The Media Majlis will feel different than other institutions in the region. Exploring the interplay between local, regional, and global perspectives means that the museum challenges standard narratives. It will pull audiences out of their ‘filtered bubble’ and offer polarities of opinion, broadening audiences’ diet of information. It draws back the curtain on media by exploring lesser-known angles alongside majority views.

Exhibitions aim to introduce and facilitate exploration of topics to better equip audiences to examine the world surrounding them, and engage with it. Audiences leave empowered and with a greater understanding and ability to themselves interrogate the media around them. Each exhibition will explore a narrow but deep, multi-faceted topic, be accompanied by publications, programming, courses, and online materials, amongst other engagements.

The Media Majlis staff is a small international team, supported by, and working in collaboration with, the staff and faculty of one of the world’s highest ranked universities.

Position:  Curator

The Media Majlis is looking to hire its lead Curator to create exhibitions with extensive technology and physical objects. The Curator will conceptualize and curate exhibitions which will challenge and engage audiences, and will push and question both subject matter, exhibitionary practices, and uses of digital media. The museum’s Curator will be a critical and senior member of a small international team. Due to the place of the museum within a university, extensive production, IT, digital media, and related aspects, facilities, and staffing are already in place to support the museum’s work.

The Curator needs to be highly creative, and interested in exploring new ways to discuss, share and extend audience engagement with non-traditional subjects. The Media Majlis creates ‘idea led’ exhibitions—by investigating a pertinent question, idea, occurrence, or story first, curators then use objects (physical and digital) to delve in and question the subject. Therefore, objects serve to illuminate, examine, illustrate, and contradict the exhibition narratives. The museum does not hold an accessioned collection so exhibitions may use digital and physical objects from across all collection taxonomies.

Candidates should have an entrepreneurial outlook, be interested in exploring what exhibitions can be, and enjoy being challenged. Ideally candidates should have experience in a new institution, and have experienced the development and opening of a museum before.

The Curator will work both independently and in collaboration with others, create and research ambitious exhibition ideas and content, collaborate with content specialists, create interpretive plans, write for multiple uses (in-gallery, online, publication), and work with digital production and technical staff and companies.  The Curator will work directly with NU-Q faculty and students, and communities, as well as national and international collaborators.

Curator will be expected to lead on the curation of some exhibitions, whilst others will be in collaboration with other Media Majlis curators, or with invited content specialists or visiting curators. Due to the exhibition calendar all curators will be expected to work on multiple projects at different stages of development at any given time, therefore this position requires proactive time management, and good forward planning skills.

Ideally the lead Curator will have some combination of museum, curation, and gaming experience, and have experienced working outside their own culture. This position is located in Doha, Qatar, where the Curator is required to reside, therefore knowledge and experience of Gulf culture, audiences and local museum practice is a distinct, though not required, advantage.  If unfamiliar with Gulf and regional museum research the Curator is expected to familiarize themselves with non-western and regional practice, and local audience research and social and cultural backgrounds.

This position reports to the museum’s director and will collaborate with the director on exhibition planning, strategic outlook, budget planning and collaborative projects with faculty and other entities. The Curator overseas and collaborates with an assistant/associate curator, and student researchers and Masters placement/internship students as required. Active participation in conferences, publications and public speaking is expected of this position, which will also include exhibition-related program participation, limited exhibition-related course teaching, and participation in university wide projects or committees. This is a full time position, may involve frequent travel, and is open for immediate hiring.

Position requirements:

  • 6+ years of museum curation, including exhibition creation in one or more of the following subject areas: media, journalism, television & radio, film and video, broadcast, communication, digital media, gaming/gamification, digital or video art, or closely related subject matter.
  • Master’s degree in curation, museum studies, digital curation, or similar; ideal candidate will also have Bachelors in media, journalism or communication, or Gulf or regional studies and culture.
  • Fluent in English, with written contributions to in-exhibition text, exhibition related publications, and online projects.
  • Exceptional team work and time management skills, experience with managing staff and/or interns.
  • High familiarity and comfort with new technology, and with gaming /gamification.
  • Experience with living and working outside of own culture, and working internationally.

Highly desirable:

  • Fluency in Arabic (written and spoken), or Urdu, Hindi, Tagalog, or French.
  • Direct background and experience in one or more areas of journalism, communication or media.

Northwestern offers a highly comprehensive compensation and benefits package.

Application via the Northwestern University Human Resources site: http://www.northwestern.edu/hr/careers/      Choose the ‘External Candidates’ option, and once myHR opens, choose Qatar from the Primary Location menu on the left to see all Qatar-based positions.