CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Haitian Visual Arts

at Grinnell College Libraries
Location Grinnell, IA
Date Posted December 2, 2019
Category Academic
Job Type Temporary/Term-Limited
Apply Here
Twitter Handle @GrinnellCollege


CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Haitian Visual Arts


The Grinnell College Libraries ( invites applications for a two-year CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation for African American and African Studies. The fellow will play a central role in coordinating the work of the Haitian Art: A Digital Crossroads project (HADC). The HADC aims to make the Haitian art collection of the Waterloo Center for the Arts (WCA,, the largest publicly held collection of Haitian art in the world, digitally accessible as a preparatory study for the creation of a digital hub for a network of online resources in Haitian and Caribbean studies. Building upon the strong partnership between Grinnell College and the WCA and foundational work accomplished during a recent NEH grant, the fellow will plan, manage, and implement the digitization and digital curation of the extensive Haitian art collection housed at the WCA. While this collection itself will be a remarkable digital resource, the larger goal of the project will be to design the initial digital repository and create an extensible metadata structure that also prepares the collection to interface effectively with broader networks of Haitian and Caribbean digital resources.

In the first year, the fellow will collaborate closely with colleagues in the libraries, curators and registrars from both the WCA and the Grinnell College Museum of Art (, and art historians and interdisciplinary scholars interested in Haitian art. This will be an opportunity to become conversant with the collection and its current digitization processes, metadata standards, and digital image platforms. As well, the fellow will use this time to learn about the important cultural, historical, and artistic contexts for Haitian art and begin to develop relationships with the leading centers and museums that would be potential contributors to the larger digital network this project aspires to build in future phases.

As art works are digitized for eventual inclusion in the repository, the fellow will work with their library, museum, and disciplinary colleagues to establish best practices, harvest and enrich metadata, and determine the optimal platform for hosting the museum collections and collaborating with key external sites. In the second year, the fellow will launch the digital collection, continue managing digitization efforts, ensure that our digital objects and metadata interact as expected with the databases and collections that are most central to Haitian and Caribbean art, and develop positive working relationships with scholars and organizations interested in Haitian art.

The fellow will be expected to devote 25% of the fellowship to independent or collaborative research activities that advance the fellow’s personal research. We would encourage the fellow to dedicate protected time weekly to keep their research agenda moving forward, and to take additional time for conferences, travel, and concentrated work at arranged times. The fellow would have an on-campus faculty mentor; support both individually and as part of an early career cohort with ongoing professional development opportunities around research, teaching, and writing.

The fellow will also be encouraged and supported to join collaborative work in other digital scholarship contexts on campus should it be relevant to their interests, e.g. mentoring undergraduate digital scholarship; providing workshop or classroom instruction on digital tools; participating in open source software development for library applications.


Grinnell College (Grinnell, Iowa) is a highly selective residential liberal arts college with approximately 1,700 students and 180 faculty.  Our student body reflects one of our core values, diversity: about 20% of students are international, and 24% domestic students of color. Serving the common good and fostering social justice, another of our core values, have been integral to the college since its founding in 1846; today, multiple programs and initiatives encourage students to practice self-governance, learn from and engage with the world beyond the campus, and effect positive social change. Grinnell’s rare combination of need-blind admissions and full financial aid (meeting 100% of students’ demonstrated need) exemplifies how the college strives to uphold its values.

The Grinnell College Libraries are a nationally recognized leader among academic libraries. We work collaboratively with other institutions to share resources, expand access to our collections, and preserve the scholarly and cultural record in its many languages and formats, both physical and digital.

The Grinnell College Museum of Art boasts a permanent collection of more than 6,000 objects. It presents exhibitions of regional, national, and international art and offers a variety of research and learning opportunities.

Additional information about the college, our students and faculty, the libraries, the museum, and the Grinnell community is available on our website,

The Waterloo Center for the Arts (Waterloo, Iowa) is home to the largest publicly held collection of Haitian art in the world. It hosts more than 1,800 Haitian artworks, from paintings and sculptures to drums and sequined flags. Additional information about the collection is available at galleries.

Support, Mentoring, and Professional Development:

The fellow will have a large support network drawn from staff across the Grinnell College Libraries and Museum of Art, the Digital Liberal Arts Collaborative (DLAC), the Data Analysis and Social Inquiry Lab (DASIL), and faculty with interests in Art History, Haiti, and the digital humanities writ large. As a term-faculty member at Grinnell, the fellow would also have an on-campus faculty mentor; support both individually and as part of an early career faculty cohort; could join co-writing groups; participate in co- writing groups, faculty learning and discussion lunches, faculty meetings, and guest visits.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Act as a project manager with responsibilities for the planning, design and implementation of the digitization project with our partner, the Waterloo Center for the Arts
  • Directly supervise a small team of student staff who will be involved in digitization, image processing, and metadata management for the online collection of Haitian art
  • Serve as the primary liaison between the Grinnell College Libraries and the Waterloo Center for the Arts
  • Represent the project effectively when consulting with external organizations, scholars, and granting agencies
  • Evaluate potential platforms for the digital collection and make recommendations to the Grinnell College Libraries and Waterloo Center for the Arts regarding a preferred platform
  • In collaboration with their colleagues, develop policies, workflows, standards, and best practices to make the collection as interoperable as possible with related online sites
  • Maintain data for statistical reporting, workflow analysis, and assessment
  • Participate as an active collaborator on any associated grants (e.g., the NEH Planning grant)
  • In collaboration with library, museum, and disciplinary colleagues, prepare and disseminate whitepaper documentation for digitization of Haitian art objects, metadata standards for cross-platform exchange of Haitian art visual resources, and implementation of these in a collaborative, multi-institutional

Required Qualifications:

  • PhD earned in a related area within the past five years of beginning the fellowship
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to fostering collaborations across disciplinary boundaries, between academic and community organizations, and/or between international scholars or organizations
  • Comfortable learning new technologies, digital methodologies, and relevant data standards
  • Demonstrated ability to undertake self-directed initiatives and to work collaboratively on projects
  • Willingness to travel internationally, as necessary, to consult with key partners and organizations and participate in relevant conferences and planning meetings

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with digital image databases
  • Familiarity with metadata standards and digitization practices
  • Baseline understanding of copyright, particularly as it applies to use and re- use of digital images
  • Project management experience
  • Ability to effectively train and supervise student staff, providing them a supportive and rewarding work environment
  • Interest or background in Haitian Studies, art history, Caribbean Studies, African and African Diaspora Studies, Postcolonial Studies, or related fields
  • Baseline understanding of digital preservation and/or research data management
  • Experiences in a digital working environment, such as a library, digital lab, or center
  • Programming/coding skills or proficiency in software used for image processing, web development, or data cleaning and manipulation

Salary and Benefits:

This is a benefits-eligible, two-year term appointment with an annual salary of $67,500. The fellow will have 20 days of vacation, 10 days of sick leave, 8 holidays, and a winter break around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays (varies a bit each year).

CLIR provides $10,000/year to support participation in specific professional development activities and conferences; Grinnell will provide $2,500/year in professional development funds, up to $3,000 in relocation costs for a fellow who must relocate to accept our employment offer, and additionally support travel to present about this project.