The Design Museum’s temporary exhibitions programme is the central focus of its activities. The exhibitions include monographs and thematic exhibitions on every aspect of contemporary design and architecture, ranging from the environment to football.
An exciting opportunity has arisen at the Design Museum for a self-motivated Interpretation Editor who is passionate and knowledgeable about communicating with audiences through exhibitions. This role will suit someone with a passion for language and for sharing ideas with a broad audience.
The Interpretation Editor will guide and manage the department’s interpretation processes and embed these processes into the exhibition schedule, as an active member of the curatorial team. They will work closely with the exhibition curators to support and guide the writing of exhibition text, to produce clear, accurate, accessible, and engaging copy for a wide range of audiences, tailored to the context. The role combines practical editorial skills with the ability to work within a team and take personal initiative to implement and regularly review the museum’s interpretation strategy. They will report to a Senior Curator.
The successful candidate will have proven editing experience from the museum and galleries sector, and a sound knowledge of audience research and exhibition making. They will understand the importance of effective interpretation in delivering successful exhibitions and a proven knowledge contemporary design and/or architecture.in contemporary design and/or architecture.
- Be responsible for the interpretation process for the museum programme, which includes four annual exhibitions, smaller atrium and balcony displays and some partnership projects.
- Review and edit all exhibition text to ensure it has a clear narrative, is accessible to the audience and is grammatically correct, and bring it to a high publishable standard.
- As an integral member of the team, manage the editing process and create a timeline for delivery in coordination with the exhibition curators and project managers, and ensure the sure the smooth and timely delivery of exhibition text.
- Consolidate the museum’s current interpretation practices, maintain the museum’s style guide, and regularly review the interpretation strategy for the curatorial department.
- Review and feed into all interpretation plans, develop a strong understanding of the Design Museum audiences and act as an audience champion in the interpretation development and process, to produce strong narrative-led and accessible interpretation.
- Advise the curators on the overall interpretation of exhibition ideas including audio and other digital content.
- Work with the museum’s Learning department to embed the interpretation strategy as museum-wide practice.
- Adapt exhibition text for other museum departments, such as for Press and Touring requirements.
Policy and process
- Support and guide the writing of curators’ exhibition texts to produce clear, accurate, accessible, and engaging copy for a wide range of audiences, tailored to the context.
- Mentor and coach [more junior] members of the team to develop their interpretation skills.
- Maintain guidance on the interpretation process and best practice, ensuring that this remains up-to-date and responsive. Develop appropriate channels for the communication of this guidance.
- Work with and support any volunteers to ensure their full integration into the curatorial team.
- A degree in design history, architecture history, art history or a related field.
- A proven knowledge of the English language.
- Extensive experience of writing and editing clear, accurate copy for the public.
- Proven experience of editing high profile exhibitions that have attracted broad audiences.
- Experience of delivering successful visitor engagement in the context of exhibitions and displays through the effective application of interpretation strategies.
- Ability to write engagingly and accurately and an adept communicator.
- Well-organised and able to plan effectively.
- Ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines and retain excellent attention to detail.
- Familiarity with exhibition making and narrative development.
- Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues and external editors.
- A commitment to the work of the Design Museum and its values: welcoming, collaborative, enterprising and forward-looking.
- Training in museum interpretation.
- Experience of developing an interpretation strategy.
- Knowledge of design history.
- Knowledge of design software such as InDesign.
Terms and conditions
Salary: up to £15,250 per annum (based on full time equivalent of £30,500 per annum), dependent on experience
Holidays: 25 days pro rata + Christmas eve (museum closed)
Hours: 18.5 hours/2.5 days per week
Location: the museum is trialling a part-remote working arrangement, where staff work 60% of their role at the museum and 40% remote
Closing date: 27 November 2022, midnight
Interviews: w/c 5 December 2022
For all the latest job vacancies at the Design Museum, please visit our Careers page to apply via our online portal. During the application process you will be asked to download an application form. The completed application form must be reuploaded onto your application. Please note we are not able to accept other forms of application for our job roles.
Design Museum Staff Benefits
Employees are entitled to 25 days holiday, rising to 26 days after two years’ service and 27 days after five years’ service, plus 8 days Bank Holiday and Christmas Eve (museum closed), pro-rata for part-time employees. Other benefits include access to a defined contribution pension scheme, an employee assistance programme, season ticket loan, cycle to work scheme, free entry for friends and family to the museum, a variety of staff discounts including the museum shop and free entry to a wide number of galleries and museums in London.
All eligible staff will have access to the Design Museum Defined Contribution Pension Scheme. An employees pay a minimum amount of 4% of their pensionable salary every month. On top of this payments are made into the employee’s pension by the museum of 4% of the employee’s pensionable salary. Total paid into an employee’s museum pension = 8%.
Hours of Work
Full-time employees are required to work no less than 37.5 hours per week and the standard working day is 9.30am – 6.00pm which includes a daily 1-hour break (30 minutes paid and 30 minutes unpaid). Hours for part-time employees are pro-rated accordingly.
Diversity and Inclusion
The museum pro-actively seeks to collaborate with institutional partners, individuals, and networks to realise its commitment to build a culturally diverse workforce. We positively encourage applications from underrepresented groups and consider candidates who are suitably qualified and eligible regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy and maternity.
About the Design Museum
The Design Museum is located in London and is the world’s leading museum devoted to architecture and design, It makes the impact of design visible and is the only place in the UK where the design industry, education and the public can come together to change the way people think about themselves and the future.
Since it opened its doors in 1989 the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. It is a registered charity that has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over seven million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects including Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ive, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray and Dieter Rams.
On 24 November 2016, The Design Museum relocated to Kensington, west London. Leading architectural designer John Pawson converted the interior of a 1960s modernist building to create a new home for the Design Museum giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions and significantly extend its learning programme.
Since July 2020 and throughout the pandemic, the museum has received funding from the National Lottery, Arts Council England, and the government, through the Cultural Recovery Fund.
Our vision, purpose, mission, and values
Our vision is a world where everyone values design
The purpose of the Design Museum is to make the impact of design visible
- To build public awareness of design by connecting design with people’s lives and passions
- To reflect the designer’s role at the forefront of social, technological, and environmental change
- To serve the design community. Design is a practice, a diverse discipline, infinitely rich in approaches and characters. It is a young discipline, whose role in the world is evolving. Our unique approach to working with designers is to invite them to ‘think in public’
The museum’s core values are collaborative, welcoming, enterprising, and forward looking.
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