HAMPSHIRE CULTURAL TRUST

…never a-wever…

ORIGINAL

Museum Development Officer
Hampshire Cultural Trust – Winchester
£25,600 a year – Part-time, Temporary
South East Museum Development has been awarded £2 million from Arts Council England as a Sector Support Organisation for 2018-2022. During this period, we will deliver development initiatives to drive excellence and create a resilient and sustainable museum sector in the South East.

Museum Development realises its vision for thriving museums by being a challenging, approachable and ambitious agent of change. Working in partnership with other providers, we raise standards across collections care, audience engagement, organisational development, diversity and learning in museums.

The South East Museum Development Programme is managed by a consortium of museums, consisting of Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton and Hove (the lead partner), Hampshire Cultural Trust, Oxfordshire County Museums Service and Chatham Historic Dockyard.

Based and hosted by Hampshire Cultural Trust (Chilcomb House), this role is part of a network of Museum Development Officers (MDOs) in the South East, providing professional sector development advice, information and support to approximately 80 Accredited museums, and a small number aspiring to Accreditation, within the Hampshire Solent region (Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton), to raise their standards of organisational health, collections management and user services, with a particular focus on strong governance, fundraising and innovative use of collections. The role ensures that museums have access to tailored advice and support and are able to benefit from the wide range of regional and national opportunities on offer, provide interventions to strengthen future sector sustainability and enable organisational development. The position is responsible for developing and maintaining effective relationships with museums and other stakeholders across the local, regional and national sector. You will work in collaboration with a second MDO (also hosted by Hampshire Cultural Trust) covering the Hampshire and Berkshire regions, as well as with MDO colleagues across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent. This post requires frequent travel within the sub region (Hampshire Solent) and the wider south east, with the possibility of some national travel for conferences and meetings. This is a fixed term position to 31 March 2021.

To excel in this role, you will want to use your knowledge and experience to help museums develop their skills and their offer to the public, and support them to be sustainable organisations. You will also have an understanding of the wider issues affecting the sector and strong relationship building skills – you have the knowledge and the personality to work with museums on a journey towards improvement and change. If you are a motivated, collaborative and organised professional please email your CV and a covering letter of no more than two pages summarising your suitability for this position.

https://www.indeed.co.uk/cmp/Hampshire-Cultural-Trust/jobs/Museum-Development-Officer-2798313d9c8c1031?q=Museum+Development+Officer&vjs=3

NOTES

“Language disguises the thought; so that from the external form of the clothes one cannot infer the form of the thought they clothe, because the external form of the clothes is constructed with quite another object than to let the form of the body be recognized.”

If ever a-wever a wiz there was, it was Wittgenstein. His Tractatus of 1921 is an early high water mark in the project of the literary theorists, that loose and fractious lineage which spent the last century re-making textual analysis into a toolset for revealing the workings of power and its covert or deniable agendas.

The popularization of those tools has had all kinds of consequences. Some, like the decline of casual racism in advertising, are unequivocally positive. Others, like the use of language in this week’s example, are pernicious.

What makes this job ad so obnoxious? Its concerns are laudable: ‘sustainability’, inclusion, outreach. Yet it’s plainly toxic, to the extent that everyone I showed it to groaned and rolled their eyes.

I’d argue that the root problem is self-consciousness. The writer has learned from the masters (I use the term advisedly) albeit at second or third hand. She has carefully laid out her organization’s credentials in such a way as to avoid accusations of writing out of a sense of entitlement. Her choices from the Public Sector Phrasebook — ‘driv[ing] excellence’, ‘rais[ing] standards’, ‘journey[ing]’ — are just as scrupulous and even more politically charged, since all of them take care to emphasize good intentions over concrete promises.

Few people would be capable of writing graceful prose under constraints of this kind. But, even allowing for the fact that she’s dancing in diving boots… heavens, this is turgid stuff! Exhibit A is the first sentence of para #4, an 82-word jawbreaker with syntax convoluted enough to bring to mind Henry James. (Incidentally, I think that’s an attributive clause before the main subject. If so, it really is very Jamesian, although I will confess to not being absolutely sure what’s going on.)

James was dealing with unfamiliar themes while negotiating a complex political landscape in uncertain economic circumstances, so it’s only fair to cut him some slack. But I don’t think such generosity should be extended to the ad writer.

BTW, if you don’t hold with all this high-falutin’ lit crit talk, let me draw your attention to the way that the ad makes the potential applicant slog through 200-odd words of guff before telling them what the role entails. Forget what Derrida might have said — that’s just plain disrespectful.

Our version focusses on the job and the applicant rather than the organization, an elementary courtesy which we’d recommend to any potential employer. Note also that we had to invent the all-important closing date, since none appears in the original.

OUR VERSION

Museum Development Officer
Hampshire Cultural Trust — Winchester
£25,600 a year — Part-time, Temporary

As a Museum Development Officer (MDO) with Hampshire Cultural Trust, you will play a key role in a network spanning Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton and providing advice, information and support to 80 different museums. Your remit will be to raise their standards of organisational health, collections management and user services, with a particular focus on strong governance, fundraising and the innovative use of their collections.

You will work in collaboration with a second MDO covering the Hampshire and Berkshire regions, as well as with MDO colleagues across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent.

Your job will entail:
* Intervening with museums on issues of sustainability and organisational development
* Ensuring that all museums in the network benefit from regional and national opportunities
* Developing effective relationships with museums and other stakeholders locally, regionally, and nationally

To excel in this role, you will need an understanding of the wider issues affecting the sector, besides the knowledge and personal qualities necessary to work with museums on a journey towards improvement and change.

This is a fixed term position to 31 March 2021. The post requires frequent travel within the Hampshire and Solent region and around the South-East, with the possibility of some national travel for conferences and meetings.

Please e-mail your CV and a covering letter of no more than two pages by [30 July 2018].

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