Conservator Wanted

Job description: Conservator (leading to the opportunity to become Head of Conservation)

Term: Full time permanent post

Main purpose of job: to conserve objects made of leather, fur-skins and parchment, including associated materials such as metals and textiles. To bring in new clients and projects, learn the skills inherent in the Leather Conservation Centre (LCC) and maintain relationships with stakeholders. The post is designed to lead towards assuming full responsibility from the present Head.

Key Responsibilities (in order of priority)

  • To conserve objects
  • To develop a business plan to promote the LCC that will bring in new clients whilst maintaining relationships with existing customers and stakeholders
  • To learn how to administer and run the LCC with a surplus.
  • To learn how to manage staff and contractors at the LCC
  • To contribute increasingly to outreach and teaching activities via presentations, courses and publications.
  • To advise colleagues and the public on the care of leather and related items.
  • To advance the science, craft and practise of leather conservation

What are the main work pressures and challenges?

  • Delivery of tasks/projects to required standards in the specified time.
  • Bringing in clients and learning how to satisfy expectations.
  • Operating successfully in a time of change (transition from present to future studio, and from one Head to the next).

Key dimensions: the post holder will initially have responsibility for

  • Practical project management
  • Developing an understanding of the role of Head of Conservation

Key dimensions if successful in transitioning to the role of Head

  • Management of 2+ staff members
    • Training conservators as required, checking work, documentation etc.
    • Training administration staff, having oversight of delegated tasks such as cash flow, invoices, bank account, salaries, annual accounts, social media etc.
  • The successful management of the business of the LCC
    • Undertake visits to potential clients, assess work required, undertake surveys as necessary, provide reports and documentation after treatment
    • Control of budgets
    • Comply with all relevant laws including employment laws, health and safety, data management etc.
    • Oversee the updating of the LCC’s web presence as necessary
  • Outreach leading the training of others in the conservation of leather and associated materials.

What changes are likely to occur in the next 2 years?                                                                             

  • The LCC will move from its present location to a new bespoke conservation studio in the historic cultural quarter of Northampton. The studio will be adjoining the International Leather Centre (ILC) and will be within easy walking distance of The University of Northampton’s new Waterside Campus. The studio will also be close to the new National Leather Collection based in the Grosvenor Centre.
  • The successful candidate will acquire the skills, knowledge and experience to manage the LCC and take over as Head.

Who are the stakeholders?

Our funding bodies.

Person specification

  • Education: recognised professional conservation qualification to degree level or equivalent.
  • Other qualifications: pass colour vision test. Have a clean driving license. No criminal convictions.
  • The successful candidate will be expected to successfully complete a probationary period of 1 year.
  • Accreditation: should be an ICON Accredited Conservator or working towards.
  • Specific technical/professional skills and experience: some years’ experience in the treatment of objects, ideally including various types of leather. An understanding of the mechanisms of decay in leather and related materials, of conservation theory and ethical decision-making is also required. Good IT skills (such as MS Word, Sage Act and Excel) would be advantageous.
  • Work experience: the ideal candidate would have a number of years’ post-training practical experience within a museum and/or private studio. S/he would have a track record in running projects successfully.
  • Specific managerial skills: some experience of people management would be useful, together with an understanding of the complexities required when dealing with clients and others. The ability to work under pressure to achieve deadlines, while supervising and responding to colleagues and others will be important.
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