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Collections Technician

College of Arts and Law, Estates, Art History

Birmingham, United Kingdom


  • Posted on: 03rd Nov 2021
  • Salary: £23,699 to £25,485 with potential progression once in post to £29,471 (pro rata for part time)
  • REF: 30831
  • Closes: 17th November 2021
  • Contract Type: Permanent
  • Hours: Part Time

Job summary

Working to the highest professional sector standards, the post holder moves, packs, installs and lights works of art, ranging from large oil canvases to small coins, mounts; glazes and frames objects, and acts as a courier for the Barber’s own works, in the UK and abroad, when required. The post holder is responsible for managing and maintaining the Barber’s art stores and technical workshops, monitoring and reporting on environmental conditions in all areas where the collections are present, adhering to Health and Safety policies and safe working practices at all times.
Line-managed by the Exhibitions and Loans Manager, this is a singleton role in a small collections team, who works closely with all the curators as well as providing technical support to the wider Barber team.

Main Duties

Management, delivery and documentation of Collection care

• To assist with the preventative conservation of the collections and maintenance of displays by carrying out daily checks of all galleries and storage areas, and, in liaison with the Assistant Curator, ensuring that the presentation of the galleries is always in immaculate order for visitors to enjoy.
• To liaise with the Visitor Services Team in the operation of the painting alarm system in the galleries.
• To liaise with the Visitor Services Manager and the University Estates department/ contractors in ensuring the maintenance and effectiveness of the air-conditioning system in the galleries and stores.
• To work with the Assistant Curator to ensure cases, glazing and frames on display are kept clean and dust free and to work with the Collections team on periodic gallery cleans.
• To monitor, collate and file weekly environmental readings from the main gallery, coin gallery, print rooms and temporary exhibition gallery, reporting unacceptable levels to Head of Collections, Visitor Services Manager and Exhibitions and Loans Manager.
• To manage the gallery lighting system, ensuring works of art are lit within appropriate range and replacing bulbs as required.
• To manage the integrated pest control system.
• To manage the Barber’s reserve gallery, other object stores and technical workshops, maintaining a tidy and clean environment, ensuring appropriate storage and maintenance of tools and equipment, keeping relevant inventories updated, and ensuring working practices are always in compliance with University Health and Safety regulations.
• To assist free-lance conservators when required.
• To assist curators as required when professional colleagues require access to the collection.
• To provide method statements and risk assessments for individual art-handling projects.
• To assist with Disaster Planning and emergency preparedness, and to assist the Emergency Recovery Manager with salvage operations.
• To assist the Assistant Curator in updating location indexes, entering data onto the electronic catalogue (Mimsy XG) and updating the system as required.

Planning and delivery of exhibitions and displays

• Under the direction of the Head of Collections, and working closely with the Assistant Curator, to be responsible for the movement, storage, hanging and lighting of works of art from the collection for permanent displays, temporary exhibitions and special projects.
• Supervised by and working closely with the Exhibitions and Loans Manager, to lead on all practical elements involving object display in loan exhibitions: (un)packing objects, (de)installing works of art, preparing objects for display (including the mounting and framing of works on paper), lighting, making good, and ensuring a high-quality finish to all display elements of the exhibition.
• To work with the Exhibitions and Loans Manager in planning installation of all loans to Government Indemnity standards and lender and courier requirements.
• To identify when additional technician support is required and to work with the Exhibitions and Loans Manager to arrange appropriate support.
• To attend regular exhibition planning and team meetings, making a positive contribution.
• To be responsible for the preparation and display of art works produced from special projects run by the Learning and Engagement team. Work with the Learning and Engagement team to arrange short term displays.
• To use Imaging and 3D software application (SketchUp) to produce exhibition layout plans
• Design and build exhibition display furniture, adhering to lender and Government Indemnity requirements.
• To work with the Coin Curator to realise the physical display of annual coin exhibitions.
• To work with the Head of Collections, Assistant Curator and Collection Interns to realise the display of regular print bay exhibitions.
• To ensure appropriate storage of empty crates and packing materials.
• To be responsible for maintaining, ordering and storing appropriate supplies of hanging fittings, conservation and technical equipment, and packing materials, and anticipating requirements for the above, within agreed budgets. Recording and monitoring all expenditure in line with UoB financial systems and procedures.

Loans out

• To act as sole courier, accompanying works of art at all points (in transit and (de)installation), as required, both nationally and internationally.
• To be responsible for the mounting and framing of works on paper for display and for loans out.
• To check against condition reports upon return of works from loan out.
• To prepare works for loan out by adding fittings and packing appropriately for transit in travel frames and/ or crates.


• To comply with the University’s data protection and IT security regulations at all times.
• To comply with Health and Safety legislation and ensure appropriate working practices at all times.
• To supervise the work of casual technical staff, interns, students, volunteers and other staff assisting with technical work or using the workshops, as appropriate.
• To be a positive advocate for the Barber Institute, welcoming and working with all colleagues, artists, couriers, contractors, students and other stakeholders.
• To contribute to the teaching program of the Department of Art History.

Person Specification

• High level of literacy/numeracy – GCSE English and Maths or equivalent.
• Considerable experience of the handling, preparation, display and care of works of art gained in a museum or gallery environment.
• Considerable experience of mounting and framing works on paper to professional standards, evidence of general technical proficiency.
• Demonstrable understanding of the security and environmental issues relevant to a museum or gallery displaying fragile and irreplaceable works of art.
• Demonstrable understanding of the conservation issues surrounding art handling, including environment control systems and an awareness of and interest in developing sector standards
• Demonstrable evidence of a commitment to providing a high level of customer care when dealing with colleagues, external partners, couriers, etc.
• Demonstrable interest in the visual arts.
• Positive and pragmatic approach to problem solving, identifying problems likely to arise, taking a pro-active and calm approach to challenges, and presenting solutions.
• Attention to detail and accuracy in all work.
• Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to build effective relationships with colleagues, other institutions, guest curators, artists etc.
• Thorough knowledge of relevant Health and Safety legislation and safe working practices, particularly as regards art handling.
• Ability to use judgement to organise and prioritise own workload, to work under pressure to fixed deadlines, and a flexible and positive attitude to working in a small team.
• Proficient with Microsoft Office packages (Outlook, Word and Excel) and SketchUp.
• Willingness to undertake further training relevant to post-specific responsibilities.
• Willingness to work out of hours when acting as a courier
• Full UK Driving License

Informal enquiries can be made to Vicky Skelding-Bloor; V.A.Skelding-Bloor@bham.ac.uk

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We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.

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