Black Visual Arts Researcher (BMRC)

Updated: about 2 hours ago
Location: Chicago, ILLINOIS
Job Type: FullTime


Library IT & DS - BMRC

About the Department

As a center of intense intellectual inquiry, the University of Chicago Library aspires to be the most dynamic research and learning environment in the world, supporting the University’s commitment to research and teaching and to using its intellectual resources to help solve the world’s problems. Even as we continue to focus on building and preserving our renowned collections, the Library is assuming new roles that are vital to research, innovation, and learning at the University. In the process, we are leveraging the deep expertise of Library staff, developing services that support new avenues of research, and expanding access to and preservation of scholarly resources in ways that advance the goals of the University community and the needs of the next generation of scholars.

Job Summary

This is a two-year position. During their first year, the researcher will survey Black visual art related archival collections at BMRC member institutions in Chicago, then build scholarly archival digital resources based on the information gathered during the survey. They will work in consultation with archivists, academics, and curators to scope and guide their work. The resources produced are intended to facilitate discovery and increase awareness of the collections. They will be made available through the BMRC Archives Portal, a freely accessible, web-based platform that allows the public to access descriptive information on archival records related to Black Chicago held in BMRC member institution collections that is integrated into the BMRC website.
During their second year, the researcher will work on an independent research project which could result in a publication, artwork, exhibit, or other product. The two-year period will culminate in a public presentation or program highlighting the researcher’s work. Throughout the two years, the researcher will do outreach, by planning and implementing two professional-development opportunities (one per year) for artists and scholars (e.g., workshop, speaker, and other programming) encouraging use of the collections surveyed.


  • Carries out a strategic and extensive survey of Black visual art related archival collections at BMRC member institutions, carefully documenting the information gathered.

  • Based upon the information gathered during the survey, produces academic and archival quality descriptive resources on the Black visual art collections to facilitate access.  

  • Works with BMRC staff to properly input the data collected and resources created into the BMRC Archives Portal a freely accessible, web-based platform that allows the public to access descriptive information on archival records related to Black Chicago held in BMRC member institution collections. The Portal increases intellectual access to heretofore underutilized collections about Black Chicago.

  • Creates and delivers and/or coordinates two professional development opportunities for artists/curators to engage with BMRC member archival collections (for example, workshops, speaker series, site visits).

  • Plans and executes an independent Black visual arts-based project that culminates in a publication, artwork, or exhibit of the researcher’s choice. (Planning can begin in Year 1, but final project not due until Year 2.

  • Organizes and holds event presenting their independent project to the public.

  • Attends meetings, training sessions, or other BMRC member-related functions as relevant.

  • Interacts with faculty, researchers and staff for committee work or information.

  • Analyzes program budgets and uses a moderate/high level of authority to recommend or makes budgetary recommendations.

  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through < 2 years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • Master’s degree in library or information science (with an Archives focus).

  • Master’s or PhD degree in Fine Arts, African American Studies, Library and Information Science, Art History, or a related field of study with a specialization in African Americans or African Diaspora (ABD acceptable).


  • Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 1-2 years of experience in an archives, library, other cultural heritage setting, or educational institution with an active interest in Black arts and/or Black archives.

  • 1-2 years of experience with digital collections and resource development, virtual and in-person programming, and/or conducting research using primary sources.

Preferred Competencies

  • Demonstrated sound judgment and effective decision-making skills.

  • Critical thinking and analytical skills with a demonstrated ability to address a wide rand of complex serial related problems.

  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to manage complex tasks and projects.

  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely both verbally and in written documents.

  • Ability to direct and instruct others in both new and established routines and procedures.

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to interact with clarity, tact and courtesy with Library staff, vendors, and others.

  • Ability to multitask and handle frequent interruptions.

  • Ability to work independently, sustain close attention to detail over long stretches of time, interpret and explain complex instructions, act in accordance with departmental priorities, and exercise discretion in the execution of all duties.

  • Flexibility and adaptability in managing tasks to meet changes in procedures, processes, and technology.

  • Capacity to manage and work in a hybrid work environment.

  • Ability to adapt to the changing needs and priorities of the Department.

Working Conditions

  • Ability to sit for 4 hours or more and use computers extensively for 4 hours or more.

  • Ability to see, including color, depth perception, or clarity; must be able to visually focus on print and electronic material for long periods.

  • Ability to make repetitive wrist, hand, or finger movements.

  • Effective audio-visual discrimination and perception.

  • Ability to operate equipment necessary to perform a job.

  • Ability to Use Standard Workstation Equipment.

  • Ability to Use Standard Office Equipment.

Application Documents

  • Resume (required)

  • Cover letter (preferred)

When applying, the document(s) MUST  be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Administration & Management

Role Impact

Individual Contributor

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.


Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.


We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.


All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history.  A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment.  Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.


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