Art Detective Officer

14 Apr 2018
17 May 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

Art UK Art Detective Officer

About Art UK

Art UK is a dynamic arts charity with a national and global reach. The charity’s mission is to open up art in public collections for enjoyment, learning and research. We do this through digitising artworks, telling the stories behind the art and creating exciting opportunities for public interaction with art both online and offline. Our work contributes to the promotion and sustainability of the UK cultural sector. Successful partnership and collaboration are hallmarks of our organisation.

The Art UK website gives all public collections across the UK a shared digital infrastructure to showcase their artworks to audiences at home and abroad. The site was launched in February 2016. On the Art UK website there are over 200,000 artworks from 3,200 collection venues across the UK. This is the work of approaching 40,000 artists. Collections are also able to upload pre-digitised watercolours and other works on paper.

Our next major project is the digitisation of the nation's sculpture collection both inside institutions and outdoors in the country’s streets and squares. This project has the Heritage Lottery Fund as its lead funder and will be completed in the summer of 2020. Over the next few years we will also be putting a significant focus on growing the learning resources on the Art UK platform and sharing these with a young audience. We will also be growing our commercial platform in order to generate revenue for participating collections and our charity. The charity is funded through a mixture of public funding (from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and the Scottish Government) and private sector funding from grant-giving trusts, corporates, individual donors, collection subscription income and commercial income. For more information on Art UK please go to

Role Description

Art Detective is an innovative online discussion forum, which won 'Best of the Web’ at the 2015 Museums and the Web conference for its pioneering use of crowdsourcing and excellent design. It connects public art collections across the UK with members of the public, to help fill in gaps in collection knowledge and answer questions about art in public ownership.

Anyone with specialist information can submit information or suggestions about artworks, and collections can submit their own questions to the public. All proposed discussions are reviewed by Art UK and the collections and many then become public discussions. A strong and wide-ranging community of Art Detectives, academics, local historians, genealogists, and many others, contribute their opinions, with evidence, to these public discussions. Discussions are guided and monitored by a team of subject specialist Group Leaders. So far, there have been over 300 public discussions, and nearly 200 discoveries of new and significant information.

The Art Detective Officer will review proposed discussions for Art Detective, liaise with collections, create and monitor the public discussions, and update artwork records in Art UK’s content management system, following communication with the collections.

The successful candidate will also help art collection staff navigate the site and encourage their active engagement. They will also gain experience in researching the nation’s art collection themselves and will work to promote the project to the widest possible audience.

Key Responsibilities

- Liaising with collection contacts to help them use Art Detective and increase collection participation

- Evaluating, responding to and resolving discussion proposals on Art Detective, with assistance from the Senior Project Editor

- Opening discussions up for public input where appropriate

- Reviewing artworks newly added to Art UK and identifying works that might be suitable for discussion

- Updating Art UK’s artwork database

- Writing up Art Detective discovery stories

- General administrational support where required, e.g. meeting minutes

Necessary Skills

- Essential: Degree in history or history of art

- Essential: Excellent attention to detail and accuracy

- Essential: Good time-management skills

- Essential: Quick to pick up new technology

- Essential: Strong verbal and written communications skills

- Desirable: Experience using databases or content management systems

- Desirable: Experience in online community management

- Desirable: Experience of working or volunteering in museums

Contract Terms and Benefits

- 12-month fixed term contract with likelihood of extension

- Full time

- Salary £24,500 per annum

- Three-month probationary period

- One-month termination clause

- Five weeks annual leave plus English Bank Holidays (pro rata)

- Based at the Art UK Head Office in central London


Please send CV and covering letter to Edward Stone by 9am on Wednesday 2nd May 2018. Interviews will be held in London on Monday 14th May, and the interview will include a short test. If you have not heard from us within two weeks of the closing date, please consider your application unsuccessful.

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