Senior Specialist for Connection and Participation
JOB TITLE: Senior Specialist for Connection and Participation
DEPARTMENT: The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
REPORTS TO: Executive Director, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (Center) seeks a Senior Specialist for Connection and Participation to advance the Center’s ongoing efforts to enhance the region’s civic life by fostering a vibrant and inclusive cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. Based in our Grants Programs and under the guidance of the Executive Director, this newly created position has grown out of the Center’s deepening commitment to DEAI, amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to emphasizing multiple perspectives, inclusive practices, and community relevance as part of programmatic excellence.
The Senior Specialist works in close collaboration with other team members across the organization to creatively integrate and center the values of connection, inclusiveness, participation, and engagement through all aspects of our grantmaking work. The Senior Specialist researches and connects with artists, curators, scholars, and other practitioners across the fields of art, community organizing, and public engagement in order to stay up-to-date on ways of working/being that center equity, inclusion, and belonging. They employ this knowledge in their work to contribute to the Center’s grantmaking processes and capacity-building, sharing their findings with Center colleagues, grantees and Pew Fellows, and other relevant Center constituencies to inform and influence the shaping of existing practices, processes, policies, and programs. The Senior Specialist also works as relevant with the Center’s grants management team on grants administration and the communications team on content development.
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, part of its Philadelphia Program, and serves as Pew’s primary source of cultural funding. Our strategic agenda is determined for us by Pew’s board of directors. The Center is administered by the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. The University is the Center’s legal employer.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities:
Candidates for this position should be deep lovers of art, culture, and community. They must have a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access with high emotional intelligence and cultural awareness. They are intellectually curious; rigorous in their work practices but always generous of spirit, patient, persistent, and personable with experience working and connecting with a variety of different kinds of people. They are organized and self-motivated, capable of working alone but also capable of working collegially as part of a team.
This new position has been designed to play a principal role at the Center with respect to fostering and activating community connection, participation, and engagement, which are important aspects of the projects the Center supports.
- As a subject matter expert with extensive experience with, and knowledge of, audience and community engagement strategies and social practice/participatory art and their evaluation, being a thought-leader who brings this lens to bear meaningfully on our collective work, including but not limited to, the Center’s annual application guidelines and grant adjudication processes, applicant and project cultivation, funded-project development, and capacity building.
- Partner with the Center’s Performance and Exhibitions & Public Interpretation Program Directors to support and monitor grantee activities and project development through individual meetings/consultations, site visits and other interactions, offering feedback and direction on public engagement.
- Work with the Pew Fellowships Director to engage with the Pew Fellows-in-Residence to connect them meaningfully to the Philadelphia community, and with other Pew Fellows as relevant.
- Collaboratively create capacity building programs and resources that promote learning, exchange, and relationship building through activities such as convenings, publications, and talks.
- Participate in periodic communications editorial meetings and contribute to the development of material that serves the Center’s goals as a hub for knowledge-sharing on issues critical to artistic practice.
- With guidance from the Executive Director, you will support and amplify the work of the Center by acting as its representative at public events and participating in talks, panels, publications, meetings, and other forums, as appropriate.
- Participate in and recommend activities that might guide the evolution of your own and our collective work at the Center.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by the incumbent; they do not purport to describe all functions. Incumbent may be assigned other duties, and the essential functions may change from time to time as necessary.
A Bachelor’s degree or higher in curatorial work/arts management/administration plus a minimum of 5-7 years of equivalent work experience, or graduate degree or higher in curatorial work/arts management/administration plus a minimum of 3-5 years of equivalent work experience.
Successful candidates will need a broad and deep knowledge—and love for—arts and culture within a national and international context. They must have significant experience in successfully developing, ideating, and/or managing participatory and audience engagement strategies, with the ability to create capacity building resources for Center grantees in this area. Prior experience in grant-making is preferred.
Competencies, Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:
- Strong organizational skills and an aptitude for program development and administration as well as the ability to meet deadlines, handle and prioritize multiple tasks while maintaining attention to detail.
- Ability to think critically, consciously assessing degrees of importance and urgency. Ability to toggle between aspects of the job, playing the right role at the right time in the right way. Ability to know when to ask questions and when to take initiative.
- Strong field network/access to networks of people who can be potential resources for the Center’s work. Ability to exercise discernment in matters such as quality of information sources, determinants of “leading edge” practice, where to go for great expertise, etc.
- Ability to function well and with enthusiasm as part of a team. Ability to gain from and provide inspiration to colleagues at the Center. Ability to apply one’s innate curiosity, articulate ideas, to remain open-minded in dialog, to find common ground and to remain realistic about what can reasonably be established. Ability to grasp what others should be able to understand based on the Center’s relationships, situations, and past communication. Ability to think expansively and make insightful connections involving multiple disciplines and others’ previously expressed ideas. Ability to think inside and outside of one’s primary disciplinary background.
- Ability to work closely with senior leaders in a collaborative environment, and to oversee work of consultants, contractors, temporary staff.
- Effective interpersonal skills to successfully interact with a variety of people, including the cultural community, consultants, grantees, applicants, colleagues at The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the general public with diverse cultures and backgrounds, as called upon. You need to be appropriately thoughtful, respectful, and effective when expressing feedback. A sense of humility and humor are also recommended.
- Ability to work strategically within existing and evolving organizational parameters as framed for us by our funder, The Pew Charitable Trusts. Ability to quickly learn and adapt to the Center’s culture while simultaneously teaching, negotiating, and performing in the job. Ability to adapt to and fully assimilate our Funder’s organizational culture and understand how to support its agenda.
- Ability to exercise a high level of discretion and confidentiality in interactions with both internal and external people concerning all work-related information, and with understanding of the Center’s unique relationship to The Pew Charitable Trusts. Can be entrusted to represent the Center based on alignment and understanding of values, professional judgment, points of view, and relationship to Pew.
- Excellent writing and communication skills.
- Professional working proficiency in technology and computer literacy; Microsoft Office Suite; Adobe Acrobat.
- Ability to periodically attend meetings and events which are after standard business hours or on weekends, as a Center representative. Ability to occasionally travel out of the Philadelphia region and the country for multiple days on a periodic basis, as work demands.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all the job responsibilities, duties, skill, or working conditions. In addition, this document does not create an employment contract, implied or otherwise, other than an "at will" relationship.
About The University:
University of the Arts’ mission is simple: to advance human creativity. Established in 1876, UArts believes creativity is the most essential skill for success in today’s society and has educated generations of groundbreaking artists, performers, designers and creative leaders for more than 141 years. After being granted university status in 1987, University of the Arts became the largest institution of its kind in the nation, offering programs in design, fine arts, media arts, crafts, music, dance, theater and writing. It now features 30 undergraduate arts majors, 15 graduate programs and the nation’s first PhD program in Creativity. UArts is also home to innovative centers across disciplines, including the Center for Immersive Media, Lightbox Film Center, Philadelphia Art Alliance and Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery. Learn more about UArts.
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