Call for applications: Research Curator – Videogames, V&A Museum – deadline 1 September 2015

Deadline: September 1, 2015

Job Title: Research Curator – Videogames
Division: Collections Department/Section: Design, Architecture & Digital Pay band: 5
Contract: Fixed term to August 2017
Reporting to: Senior Curator / Keeper Design, Architecture & Digital


The V&A is working toward a major exhibition on contemporary videogame design. Opening in summer 2017, the exhibition will be the first to position videogames as a serious and considered design discipline and to locate the medium in its social, cultural and political contexts.

The show will provide an in-depth look at the complex design processes behind the creation of contemporary videogames ranging from multi-million dollar AAA titles, large contemporary releases through to smaller independent games. Areas of focus within the exhibition include the new generation of highly-authored games, the work of critics provoking new ethical debate within the field, the new wave of developers tackling subjects including gender, inequality, violence and race not seen before in videogames design, the rise of eSports and the fast-changing contemporary modding scene.

Moving beyond presenting videogames as finished things to play, the exhibition will include large-scale multimedia displays and immersive installations alongside object-based displays. Interactive exhibits will give visitors chance to engage with the unique interactive aspects of games, while others will offer insight into the design process, community and culture of videogames. There will also be a scholarly catalogue, an international conference and other events accompanying the exhibition.

Purpose of job

We are seeking a practically minded and highly motivated curator with proven research experience and a track record in delivering creative projects to assist in the delivery of the already developed exhibition concept. The successful candidate will support all research associated with the project, maintain a network of contacts, and in general support the creative vision set out by the Curator to ensure a world-class result is delivered.

The Research Curator will be based in the V&A’s Design, Architecture and Digital Department, which will act as a hub for the exhibition as the project develops and the job will involve a close relationship with the curatorial department responsible for the exhibition.

The Research Curator will be responsible for carrying out a range of curatorial tasks related to the exhibition, including building and maintaining good relations with game studios and developers, lenders and other stakeholders, researching objects and maintaining object lists, helping to develop display methods for the exhibition, writing labels, and providing support in the creation and delivery of the accompanying events. The Research Curator will also assist the Curator to develop and deliver the accompanying publication.

Main tasks

– To undertake a wide range of research tasks for the Exhibition as directed by the Curator. This will include research on subject areas, collections, studios, archives and objects relevant to the exhibition, often working independently to drive forward exhibition research.
– Contribute to further development of the structure, themes and content of the exhibition, developing specific research subjects as required.
– Assist with research and understanding of technical expertise and requirements needed to create imaginative and ambitious display strategies to show videogames in design development and as mass- spectator sport.
– Assist with the process of object selection; develop and maintain excellent relationships with project stakeholders, including game studios and developers. Identify public and private collections as necessary and, as appropriate, advise on the location of key exhibits, secure in-principle permission to borrow objects, and prepare loan request letters.
– With the Curator, encourage debate on the exhibition subject both within and outside the Museum.
– With the Curator, periodically report progress to the Exhibitions Steering Group and present to the Board of Trustees as required.
– Create and maintain the exhibition database (in consultation with the Exhibitions Manager); liaise with V&A Collections and lenders on behalf of the Lead Curator.
– Assist the Exhibition Curator to deliver an accompanying publication: compile bibliographies, illustration lists, object checklists, timelines, captions, any relevant end matter. Assist with proof reading and indexing.
– Undertake picture and licensing research for the Exhibition. Create and maintain an Excel spreadsheet for tracking permissions and copyrights as needed for contextual images and AV material selected for the exhibition, working closely with the Rights Clearance Manager.
– Create and update entries and object movements on the V&A’s Collections Management System (CMS) database.
– Assist the Curator with aspects of briefing and provision of information to the graphic and exhibition designers.
– Assist the Curator and Exhibition Manager with the development of partnerships and ventures both within the V&A and with other external organisations where necessary, including academic partners, architects, designers and/or artists.
– To assist with securing venues for the exhibition tour and involvement, as required, with confirmed tour venues.
– Assist the Curator to write and edit exhibition texts, object labels and other forms of interpretation. Proof read and correct exhibition text when typeset by graphic designer.
– Liaise with relevant sections of the V&A on behalf of the Exhibition Curator as and, when necessary, with Learning, Development, Marketing, Press, Digital Media, Events, Commercial and Digital Development and Publications departments. Attend Project Team Meetings and contribute to Curatorial reviews of the development of the exhibition.
– Work collaboratively within the DAD team.
– Work collaboratively with the V&A’s Development team to raise sponsorship for the exhibition and commissions.
– Work collaboratively with the V&A’s Exhibitions department on content, design, budget and programme.
– Conduct guided tours and give talks for VIPs including any sponsors and V&A Museum supporters, including but not exclusively at Sponsors’ Events; V&A Member’s Events; V&A Staff Events; Late View Events and V&A Patrons’ events. Occasional lecturing in relation to the exhibition.
– Supervise volunteers working on the project, if required.
– Be committed to health and safety and ensure familiarity with all of the Museum’s health and safety policies and procedures.
– Be security conscious, ensure familiarity and co-operation with all museum security procedures and ensure you wear a security pass at all times when on museum premises.
– Promote equality and diversity in all aspects of your work by developing and maintaining positive working relationships, ensuring that colleagues are treated fairly and with respect/dignity and actively contributing to developments that support the Museum’s strategy for widening access, inclusion and diversity.
– Carry out ad hoc duties as requested by appropriate managers within your department.


Essential requirements

– A graduate degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. practice, history or criticism) or evidence of equivalent expertise.
– Demonstrable expertise and contacts in videogame, interactive and digital design.
– An understanding of the basic technical dimensions of digital design, and evidence of a commitment to developing further expertise.
– Good knowledge of the relationship between videogame design and the wider design world and an understanding of likely future trends.
– Curatorial skills and experience, including knowledge of the needs of different audiences and a commitment to providing for these through publications, lectures, gallery talks and the creation of new displays and of material for the web. Some knowledge of the process of collecting objects for an institution.
– Solid experience of curating exhibitions for a public institution, including digital exhibitions.
– Experience managing high level contacts and collaborators within digital design.
– Demonstrable ability to speak on this subject area on behalf of the Museum, to represent the Museum nationally and internationally.
– Research experience, in particular, a commitment to subject-based research and the ability to co-ordinate and record multiple research strands.
– Good communications skills and ability to work collaboratively. Good writing skills, sound knowledge of grammar and syntax, the ability to write for a wide range of audiences and take their needs seriously.
– Evidence of practical and organisational skills. Meticulousness; a keen attention to detail in all aspects of work, particularly record keeping.
– Flexibility and ability to work under pressure.
– Demonstrable computer skills (Excel, Photoshop, Powerpoint, etc) an ability to manage information in traditional and digital forms systematically and accurately.

Desirable requirements

– Ph.D. or equivalent level of research or practice expertise.
– International reputation in an area of digital design.
– Good working knowledge of an additional modern language.



Net working hours (i.e. excluding meal breaks) are 36 per week.

The salary will be within V&A pay band 5 (£25,763 rising to £30,965 per annum). Future pay progression will be in accordance with the V&A’s Pay Agreement(s). Normal level transfer and promotion rules will apply for internal candidates.

Annual Leave

28 days plus 8 days public holidays

Pension benefits

The Civil Service offers a choice of either an occupational pension or stakeholder pension, giving you the flexibility to choose a scheme that suits you best.

The ‘Partnership’ pension account is a stakeholder money purchase pension with an employer contribution based on age. Further details are available upon request or appointment.

Other benefits

Free entrance to all the major museums in London as well as many others. An interest free season ticket or bicycle loan is available after three months.

Subject to the society’s terms and conditions, V&A staff are entitled to membership of the Benenden Healthcare Society. Further information is available from HR or via their web-site on www.benenden-

To apply

To apply online, please go to the V&A’s website at

If you have any queries regarding the recruitment process, you can email us – or telephone us on 020 7942 2937.

Closing date for receipt of applications is midday on Tuesday 1 September 2015

Interviews to be held on Friday 18 September 2015