17 January 2022


Opportunity Description


The Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD) Research Centre is looking to appoint a Research Convener. The position will initially be a fixed-term appointment, with the possibility of this being converted to a contract position at a later stage.

VIAD is an established and internationally esteemed Research Centre focusing on and dedicated to deepening research around the overarching thematic of identity construction through forms of visual practice, visual culture, and visual representation, specifically in relation to African and Afrodiasporic histories, identities, and creative practices.

Job specification
The successful incumbent will be responsible for steering VIAD’S primary research direction as outlined above. Responsibilities include:

  • Working on all projects that fall under this research direction, in close collaboration with the VIAD Director and VIAD Research Manager. These are local and international projects, which include but are not limited to, platforms, events, academic publications, and exhibitions presented either online or physically, or a combination of both. Responsibilities in relation to projects are to:
  • Work with the VIAD Director and VIAD Research Manager to conceptualise the project’s theoretical underpinnings, key thematics, format, aims and objectives, and participants in line with the above strategic research direction.
  • Undertake research into theoretical, creative, and curatorial work related to specific projects.
  • Write up framework documents.
  • Draw up and monitor project budgets.
  • Debriefing and project analysis with the Director and VIAD team members.
  • Write project reports.
  • Source, initiate and develop new projects that are thematically aligned to the strategic research direction.
  • Deepen existing partnerships and actively seek new collaborative projects and project partners, specifically on the continent, and more generally in the global South.
  • Fundraise towards specific projects aligned to the strategic research direction.
  • Developing strong connections between VIAD and its Research Associates, Affiliate Researchers and Visiting Professors.
  • Assisting the Director in drafting relevant policy documents which will further the strategic, institutional, and financial aims of the Centre.
  • Identifying and attracting suitable VIAD Research Associates and Affiliates, Visiting Professors, PhD candidates and Post-doctoral Fellows to work in the Centre.
  • Possible supervision of MA, PhD students and Post-doctoral Fellows in FADA.
  • Mentoring Affiliate Researchers working on topics related to the incumbent’s areas of expertise.
  • Building communities of peer-reviewers for the purpose of meeting academic research standards.
  • Identifying and overseeing projects that contribute to research development and engagement in FADA.
  • Liaising with other UJ Faculties and Research Centres and Institutes, with a view to setting up linkages.
  • Networking with national and international Research Centres, Institutes, artists, curators, academics and industry stakeholders.
  • Commitment to publishing in journals, edited volumes and other textual or creative platforms.


  • Specialist knowledge of and expertise in contemporary African and Afrodiasporic forms of representation.
  • In-depth knowledge and critical awareness of current theoretical debates and literature on aspects of contemporary African and Afrodiasporic forms of representation.
  • Critical awareness of current creative and curatorial work being done locally and globally on aspects of contemporary African and Afrodiasporic forms of representation.
  • Strong leadership and organisational skills.
  • Understanding traditional academic research and practice-led research in relation to visual representation.
  • Sophisticated and proven academic writing and research skills.
  • Good or developing publication track record. Publications can include scholarly textual outputs, curated exhibitions, and creative work shown on solo/group exhibitions.
  • Exceptional communication and inter-personal skills (written and verbal).
  • Strong involvement in academic, curatorial and artistic communities related to the research direction.
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively, particularly in relation to changing circumstances.
  • Passionate, driven, dynamic and proactive.

Minimum requirements
• PhD in Visual Art or other related fields – completed or in late stages of study.
• Working knowledge of a Black South African vernacular language.
• Knowledge of Microsoft Office 365.
• Ability to work online and achieve targets via digital platforms.

To be negotiated on an individual basis in accordance with UJ salary scales as related to the candidates’ experience and qualifications. In conjunction with merit-based on qualifications, experience, and achievements, preference will be given to individuals from historically disadvantaged groups.

How to Apply

Please send a CV including names and contact details of three contactable referees together with a letter of motivation to:
VIAD Director, Prof Leora Farber and
VIAD Research Manager, Lois Anguria

Please use only the words VIAD Research Convener as your subject line.