CLIR/DLF Fellow for Digital Curation and Scholarship in African American Studies

at The Philadelphia Museum of Art (view profile)
Location Philadelphia, PA
Date Posted November 20, 2019
Category Academic
Job Type Temporary/Term-Limited
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Twitter Handle @philamuseum


Position:                      CLIR/DLF Fellow for Digital Curation and Scholarship in African American Studies
Reports to:                  Arcadia Director of the Library and Archives

Classification:              Full-time, Grant-funded (July 2020)

How You Will Contribute

The Fellow for Digital Curation and Scholarship in African American Studies will help leverage the data and research about the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s African American art collection to expand how the museum presents and thinks about its holdings. They will also extend the museum’s connections with the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University by collaborating with Temple Libraries’ digital humanities research center, the Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio.

This fellow will develop and surface new understandings of the museum’s African American art collections by helping us reinterpret, exhibit, share, and connect our collections with the public. This work will occur through multiple strategic initiatives and collaborations inside the museum in which the fellow will help bridge the work of the Art Information Commons, African American Art Working Group, American Art department, and the Contemporary Caucus. Working with the staff of Temple’s Scholars Studio, the fellow will learn from the Studio’s innovative work in digital art history and cultural heritage curation, while contributing to the Studio’s ongoing collaboration with the Blockson Collection. Through this collaboration between the museum and Temple University, a public research university in North Philadelphia, the fellow will work to develop digital humanities projects that unite the data and collections held at each respective institution. They will directly impact the ability of these institutions to make the African diaspora more easily accessible in Philadelphia and beyond.

In addition, the fellow will leverage Philadelphia’s wealth of library and archival resources, from the member libraries of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) to the wide array of museums in the region to integrate the collections of the museum and Temple into the Philadelphia cultural heritage community and beyond. These include institutions with close ties to the Blockson, like the African American Museum in Philadelphia, local meetups of scholars, program directors, and community members doing work with and for Black people in which the Blockson and Digital Scholarship Librarian participate, and work with specific faculty members in Temple's Africology department as they look to establish a digital methods course. PACSCL and its member organizations champion projects such as “Chronicling Resistance, Enabling Resistance” and “In Her Own Right: A Century of Women’s Activism 1820-1920”.

This position reports to the Arcadia Director of the Library and Archives at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The fellow’s time will be structured to work two days a week at the museum and two days a week at Temple. The fellow will receive one day a week for their own research and professional development. Goals will be regularly communicated between the fellow and team members to ensure the success of the fellowship and all those involved in the work.

Specifically, you will…

  • Evaluate, document, and help curate the museum’s data, data sources, and research of its African American art, artists, collections, and holdings.
  • Collaborate and contribute to the work of cross-departmental curatorial committees at the museum: the African American Working Group, Art Information Commons (AIC), Contemporary Caucus, American Art department.
  • Participate as a key stakeholder of the AIC to help identify and establish data governance, metadata creation, and cataloging workflows.
  • Learn and develop skills and methods for metadata curation and cultural analytics at the Scholars Studio of Temple University, including the use of photogrammetry and machine learning for enhancing museum and archival digital collections.
  • Apply new methodologies and curation skills to each institution’s respective project
  • Evaluate, test, and develop project(s) to integrate the museum and Blockson collections.
  • Collaborate with Temple and the museum communities to establish parameters and an understanding of the level of effort and ongoing sustainability needed to continue this partnership.

Your diverse background includes…

  • PhD (completed within the past five years before beginning fellowship) in any discipline, with relevant expertise in African American and African Studies.
  • Working knowledge of art history.
  • Basic understanding of data management and curation.
  • Basic project management and organization skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with a focus on active listening and rapport-building.

Ideally your experience will also include…

  • Work experience and familiarity with museums and/or museum libraries.
  • Familiarity with museum content management systems, such as TMS.
  • Familiarity with digital humanities methodologies and/or cultural analytics.

Salary and Professional Development Support…

  • This is a two-year position. The salary for this position is $67,500, as established by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), and is eligible for benefits equivalent to a full-time permanent museum employee.
  • Full immersion in each respective institution and department, including regular check-ins with supervisors, access to and support from the Art Information Commons and African American Working Group teams at the museum, and the Scholar’s Studio and the Blockson collection teams at Temple.
  • Support for travel, conference attendance, and public presentations.
  • Opportunities to speak internally at the museum and at Temple libraries.

Museum Overview

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A world-renowned collection. A landmark building. A place that welcomes everyone. Our values define who we are. They drive the way we do things and the decisions we make. We are open – we welcome everyone, opening eyes and minds to the expressive power of the arts. We are connected – we sustain and strengthen the communities we serve, bringing together diverse audiences. We are vital – we bring the arts to life, engaging visitors from Philadelphia and around the world. We are provocative – we believe that the arts can change the way we understand ourselves and how we see the world. We expect every employee, department, and division to work collaboratively with all others, inspired by a shared purpose. We respect each other as individuals and colleagues. We encourage innovation and support one another’s efforts, recognizing that innovation involves risk. We are an equal opportunity employer that actively seeks to employ a diverse group of people who embody our values.

Temple University Overview

The Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio recently opened in the fall of 2019 in the new Charles Library building on Temple’s main campus. The Scholars Studio serves to expand the mission and reach of the Digital Scholarship Center, which was created five years ago in Paley Library as a research incubator for innovative methods integrating humanistic approaches with emerging technologies. The Scholars Studio includes a large Makerspace, an Immersive Visualization Studio, and a Computer Lab with software and hardware designed for digital scholarship. Temple University is a vibrant, urban research university with over 1,700 full-time faculty and a student body of 36,000 that is among the most diverse in the nation. For more information about Temple and Philadelphia, visit