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1 March 2019


Opportunity Description

ABOUT THE JAVETT-UP The Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP) is a collaborative venture by the University of Pretoria and the Javett Foundation. The Javett-UP will be managed by the Arts Centre Foundation, an independent, non-profit trust, comprising representatives of the University and the Javett Foundation, and independent experts.

Set to open in 2019, the Javett-UP will comprise diverse spaces for permanent, temporary and touring exhibitions, and trans-disciplinary events and performances. These will all be located in an iconic building spanning Lynnwood Road, giving the Art Centre a footprint both on the Hatfield campus of the University of Pretoria and in the city itself, with easy access for the public. In addition to showcasing the Javett Foundation’s rich collections of twentieth century South African art, the Centre will provide a home for the gold treasures of Mapungubwe and works from the University’s collections. For the University, the Centre provides resources to strengthen teaching and learning, research and community engagement and outreach.


The purpose of the post of Director Designate is, together with the Founding Director, Christopher Till, to position the Javett-UP as the primary centre of art excellence on the African continent. The Director Designate will work under the guidance of, and collaboratively with, the Founding Director to implement the vision of, and provide leadership to, the Javett-UP.

This shared leadership model reflects the centrality of inclusion, diversity and sustainability to the Javett-UP. It is intended that the incumbent of this role will be named the Javett-UP Director on the retirement of the Founding Director, subject to ratification by the board at that stage. Future iterations of a shared leadership model may also be considered at that point, depending on the needs of the organisation.


In collaboration with the Founding Director, the Director Designate will be
responsible for:

  • Developing the strategic plan and programmatic vision for the Javett-UP that reflects a commitment to excellence and innovation in making the art of Africa accessible and relevant to a wide range of audiences;
  • Engaging with the architects, contractors, University authorities, in finalising the design and construction of the Art Centre, and planning and developing the launch of the Javett-UP;
  • Establishing curatorial and acquisition policies, and advising the Trustees on required professional practice;
  • Setting the master calendar for exhibitions, ensuring balance of schedule, scholarship, and value for audiences and stakeholders;
  • Overseeing the development of the Javett-UP identity and media plan, and engaging with the media in publicising and promoting the Centre;
  • Representing the Javett-UP, and speaking at functions, conferences, events and forums on behalf of the Arts Centre Foundation in developing the profile, identity and reputation of the Javett-UP in the public domain;
  • Performing such academic duties and functions as required by the University and agreed with the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities from time to time;
  • Reporting to the Javett-UP’s governing body, the board of the Arts Centre Foundation, and to the Dean of Humanities (or his delegate) in respect of academic duties.

The Director Designate will take primary responsibility for:

  • Developing the business plan and operational budget for the Javett-UP;
  • Overseeing the curation and development of non-touring exhibitions, in line with the curatorial strategy and exhibition schedule developed with the Founding Director;
  • Planning, developing and directing public programmes for school children, students, tourists, civil society organisations and other stakeholders within, and associated with, the Javett-UP;
  • Developing and maintaining effective working relationships with academic and administrative leadership throughout the University, initiating collaborative programmes with University departments, centres, institutes, as well as relevant educational, cultural and civil society organisations, and government departments within South Africa;
  • Identifying and engaging with international universities and research institutions to forge partnerships and foster knowledge exchange and production programmes;
  • Developing long-term plans for Javett-UP’s financial growth, overseeing annual fundraising by identifying development targets, funding source and potential donors, and cultivating and maintaining relationships;
  • Recruiting and supervising its staff base, establishing and monitoring staff accountabilities, performance and development goals;
  • Providing such further and related services as may be required from time to time by the Trustees, not inconsistent with the role as Director Designate.


  • Masters degree in visual arts or other relevant discipline;
  • At least 10 years of progressively responsible art gallery or museum management experience;
  • Demonstrable history of curating substantial exhibitions, both individually and collaboratively;
  • Successful track record in strategic planning, financial management, fundraising and proposal writing, and building collaborative relationships.

REQUIRED COMPETENCIES (skills, knowledge and behavioural attributes)

  • Significant knowledge of art of Africa, coupled with an active network of artists, scholars, and curators in the field;
  • Effectiveness as a compelling and motivating spokesperson and ambassador for a national organisation;
  • Experience and understanding of cultivating and maintaining partnerships, both within and beyond the arts;
  • Leadership capability, and a willingness to recognise the necessity for, and embrace the opportunities presented by a shared leadership model;
  • Sensitivity to cultural diversity;
  • Ability to resolve conflict;
  • Ability to perform in a real-time (high stress) environment;
  • Excellent computer skills;
  • Attention to detail and the ability to multi-task.


  • A PhD in a relevant field;
  • Experience working in a higher education environment.

The total remuneration package for this position is competitive and market-related, commensurate with experience.

How to Apply

In line with the mission of the Javett-UP, and its commitment to equality, diversity and employment equity, preference will be given to suitably qualified applicants from historically disadvantaged South African communities. Curators from other parts of Africa, or the African diaspora are also encouraged to apply, subject to requirements regarding work permits.

Please email applications to board@javettup.art, including the following:

  • A 1 – 2 page letter of motivation;
  • A comprehensive, up-to-date CV;
  • Names, e-mail addresses and telephone details of three referees whom we have permission to contact.


  • No application will be considered after the closing date, or if it does not comply with at least the minimum requirements.
  • All shortlisted candidates may be required to participate in relevant skills assessments as part of the selection process.
  • All shortlisted applicants will be interviewed both by 1) representatives of the Arts Centre Foundation, and 2) a university selection panel in view of requirement of academic involvement.
  • All applicants agree to undergo verification of personal and academic credentials.
  • The Javett-UP reserves the right not to fill advertised positions.
  • Should you not hear from the Javett-UP by end February 2019, please accept that your application has been unsuccessful.