Job: Conservator, Photographs and Paper / V&A

The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance. We enrich people’s lives by promoting the practice of design and increasing knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the designed world. The Conservation Department has a worldwide reputation for the excellence of its practical work, for innovative ideas, for pioneering the scientific and ethical approach to conservation, and for sharing this expertise. The Department contributes to the care and preservation of the V&A’s collections, prepares them for display and investigates their materials and technology.

Purpose of job

The V&A has been collecting photographs since 1856 and it was one of the first museums to present

photography exhibitions. Since then the collection has grown to be one of the largest and most important in

the world, comprising around 500,000 images. The V&A is now honoured to be adding the Royal Photographic

Society (RPS) collection to its holdings, which contains around 270,000 photographs, an extensive library, and

6,000 cameras and pieces of equipment associated with leading artists and photographic pioneers.

To maximise the impact of the expanded collection, the V&A is developing a new Photography Centre

which will allow the Museum to display a far greater number and range of photographs, negatives, camera

technology, books and archival items alongside its headline photography exhibitions and displays. The

Photography Centre will also facilitate exciting activities, learning events and broader opportunities for visitors

and resident practitioners to engage with photography.

The Conservator of Photographs and Paper will be based in the Paper, Book and Paintings Section of the

Conservation Department. The main focus of the work will be the assessment, examination and conservation

of a wide range of photographic objects but the post-holder will also be expected to contribute to the

preparation of other paper-based objects including, for example, prints, drawings, watercolours, Indian

miniatures, wallpapers and posters.

The post-holder will work initially on photographs for display in the Photography Centre – due to open in 2018.

Thereafter work will focus mainly on projects relating to the Museum’s Public Programme of displays,

exhibitions, and loans as well as the core collection.

Main tasks

1. Carry out practical conservation including mounting of photographs, works of art on paper and other

photographic material.

2. Assessment of objects to determine their condition and to produce treatment estimates.

3. Give advice to curatorial colleagues, other institutions and the public on conservation-related matters.

4. Document the conservation assessment, treatment and technical examination of objects and produce

condition reports for travel for objects using Departmental systems.

5. Supervise students and interns where appropriate.

6. Carry out ad hoc duties and assist in day-to-day organisation and housekeeping in the studio.

7. Contribute to – and maintain an up-to-date knowledge of – developments in the field of photographs


8. Be committed to health and safety and ensure familiarity with all of the Museum’s health and safety

policies and procedures.

9. Be security conscious, ensure familiarity and co-operation with all museum security procedures and

ensure you wear a security pass at all times when on museum premises.

10. Promote equality and diversity in all aspects of your work by developing and maintaining positive

working relationships, ensuring that colleagues are treated fairly and with respect/dignity and actively

contributing to developments that support the museum’s strategy for widening access, inclusion and


11. Carry out ad hoc duties as requested by appropriate managers within your department.


Essential requirements

1. A recognised qualification in the Conservation of Photographs and/or Paper and relevant post graduate

experience of at least 2 years.

2. A good knowledge and understanding of the materials and techniques of photographs and works of art

on paper.

3. The ability to manage work by organising tasks in an efficient and effective way – with minimal

supervision – to produce work to appropriate standards whilst working to tight deadlines.

4. Good interpersonal and communication skills including the ability to give clear advice on conservation

issues and to work as part of a team.

5. Good end-user IT skills including image processing and collection management database software.

Desirable requirements

1. Knowledge of the V&A’s collections.

2. Knowledge of the Museum’s strategic objectives.



Net working hours (i.e. excluding meal breaks) are 36 per week.

The salary for this role will be £26,542 – £31,901 per annum. Salaries are reviewed on an annual basis.

Annual leave:

28 days plus 8 days public holidays

Pension benefits:

You will be auto enrolled into the Museum’s Group Personal Pension Scheme and have the opportunity on

completion of Probation to an enhanced pension provision, including an employer contribution of 10%.

Other benefits:

Non-contributory life assurance policy (to value of 4 x annual salary)

An interest free season ticket or bicycle loan is available after three months.

Free entrance to all the major museums and exhibitions in London as well as many others.

Subsidised staff restaurant

Discounts on purchases in V&A shops

Childcare Voucher Scheme

Application process:

Please apply online via the V&A’s website at

If you have any queries regarding the recruitment process, you can email us – or telephone us on

020 7942 2937.

You will be expected to bring a portfolio with 2 – 3 examples of your work to the interview.

Closing date for receipt of applications is Midnight Sunday 23rd April 2017

Interviews to be held on Thursday 4th May 2017.

Interview expenses will not be paid unless there is a prior agreement.