Senior Curator, First Nations


The curatorial team is central to the delivery of the NPG’s artistic program and the development of its permanent collection.  Reporting to the Director, Curatorial & Collection, the Senior Curator, First Nations will play a critical role in the strategic direction of the organisation, specifically around the meaningful centring of First Nations perspectives, interpretations and cultural frameworks in both the artistic program and collection development.

They will curate exhibitions, focusing on but not limited to First Nations content, across the Gallery’s programming sites, including onsite, touring and online; implement and extend the Gallery’s collection development goals through acquisitions and commissions; and engage and grow audiences through innovative interpretation strategies.

As a senior member of the Curatorial & Collection team, the Senior Curator, First Nations will work collaboratively across the Gallery and liaise with and build strong relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, communities, and other key stakeholders, locally, across Australia and internationally. This is a leadership role and may involve line management of colleagues within the curatorial team.

The Senior Curator must possess a deep knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, history and culture, and expertise in both curating exhibitions and collection building. The role requires the candidate to possess excellent written and spoken communication skills, keen spatial awareness and an aptitude for devising exhibition layouts, and highly developed research skills. The Senior Curator should be directly engaged with current discourse relating to curatorial work and artistic practice, foregrounding ideas of truth telling, care and polyvocal storytelling. They should be alert to the potential of portraiture to challenge the way we think and bring an inquisitive, analytical, and thoughtful attitude to the role.

Please noteThe filling of this vacancy is intended to constitute an affirmative measure under Section 26 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016. This vacancy is open only to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants.

Specific Tasks

As a senior member of the Curatorial and Collection team:

1.       Curate innovative exhibitions and collection displays of the highest quality and contribute to the development and implementation of the Gallery’s onsite, touring and online exhibition program.

2.       Actively lead and contribute to the National Portrait Gallery’s collection development and commission program by researching and identifying potential works of art for the collection and establishing networks with artists, galleries and other stakeholders; and through the preparation of acquisition proposals for submission to the Board.

3.       Lead the development and management of accurate and engaging interpretative content related to the exhibition program and collection, including but not limited to labels, online material, exhibition texts, catalogues, in gallery audio offerings, and social media content.

4.       Credibly represent and contribute to the enhancement of the NPG’s profile by contributing to the broader discourse about portraiture both internally and externally through research, writing and presentations at conferences, symposia and other public speaking events as well as engage with the media as required.

5.       Oversee and lead the layout and physical installation of exhibition projects, working closely with the exhibition designer to devise ambitious and innovative displays.

6.       Line manage as required and mentor junior curatorial team members.

7.       Oversee the accurate and detailed documentation of the collection via the Gallery’s collection database.

8.       Work independently and as an active member of multi-disciplinary teams.

9.       Actively participate in the Gallery’s philanthropic activities by participating in events and related engagements.

10.   Develop and maintain professional networks that support the Gallery and its programs.

Applicant information

In no more than two A4 pages, please tell us how your skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications make you the best person for this job.

Email your application, a current CV and the application coversheet to [email protected] by the deadline listed below.


If you need more information, please get in touch with Isobel Parker Philip on 02 6102 7048 or by email [email protected]


Applications close midnight Sunday 21 April 2024.

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