Job Opportunity – Curatorial Assistant

Job Title:                     Curatorial Assistant, Amber 

Reports To:     Creative Director

Direct Reports:           Volunteers

This is a Fixed-Term post for 12 months. You will work full-time for a salary of £28,500. We welcome flexible working arrangements, but due to the nature of the schedule of work, we will require a few days a week on-site at 5-9 Side, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3JE.

Interiors, 1981 ©Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, AmberSide Collection

Job Overview: 

Are you an experienced Curatorial Assistant ready to take on a dynamic and diverse role? Join our small but dedicated team at Side Gallery and play a crucial part in helping us achieve our goals. This is an exciting opportunity to expand your skill set as you’ll be working closely with our Operations Manager and Creative Director to ensure a seamless running of the venue, while also creating an immersive experience for our visitors.

We’re seeking a self-starter and team player with a can-do attitude, someone who is truly passionate about documentary photography. If you have exceptional organisational and communication skills, combined with outstanding customer service abilities, we want to hear from you! Your contribution will be instrumental in driving audience engagement and contributing to the continued growth and success of Side Gallery. Join us now and be a key player in Side’s future!

About us:

Amber Film & Photography Collective CIC and Side Gallery have a rich and intertwined history rooted in the vibrant arts and culture scene of the Northeast. The collective and gallery were established in the late 1960s and early 1970s by a group of visionary photographers and filmmakers driven by a shared passion for documentary storytelling and cultural preservation.

Through film and photography, Amber aimed to document the intangible aspects of life often overlooked or forgotten, giving voice to diverse communities, and preserving their identity, values, and stories. Side Gallery and Cinema emerged in 1977 as an extension of Amber’s vision, providing a dedicated space for showcasing documentary photography and film as an influential medium for artistic expression, social documentation, and critical dialogue. Side Gallery quickly became a prominent player in the arts scene, known for its thought-provoking exhibitions,  presenting a diverse range of contemporary and historical photography by some of the world’s leading documentarians and emerging talent, creating a comprehensive perspective on various themes and narratives. 

1. Visual Storytelling: We are committed to the art of documentary storytelling through film and photography. 

2. Cultural Preservation: The AmberSide Collection is a “living archive,” ensuring that cultural heritage and intangible aspects of life are preserved for future generations. Our exhibitions and collection provide a platform for communities to share their voices and preserve their identity and values.

3. Social Commentary and Dialogue: We use the accessible medium of film & photography to engage in critical social commentary and dialogue. Our exhibitions and events encourage reflection, debate, and understanding of various social, cultural, and political issues, contributing to broader societal conversations.

4. Inclusivity and Representation: We strive to be an inclusive space, representing diverse perspectives and voices. We actively seek to promote diversity in both our collection and exhibition programme, ensuring that underrepresented communities are given visibility and recognition.

5. Education and Inspiration: Through educational programmes, mentorship initiatives, and community outreach, we aim to inspire and empower the next generation of documentarians and visual artists. We seek to foster creativity and critical thinking among individuals, encouraging them to engage with art and culture meaningfully.

Key Responsibilities:

Curatorial Assistance:

  • Assisting the Curator: Collaborate closely with the gallery’s curator to support the development, planning, and execution of exhibitions.
  • Artwork Handling: Safely handle and transport artwork, ensuring its proper installation, display, and storage under the curator’s guidance.
  • Research: Conduct exhibition research and contribute to creating exhibition material, including photographer biographies and other contextual information.
  • Documentation: Maintain accurate records of artwork inventory, loan agreements, and exhibition-related documentation.
  • Exhibition Preparation: Assist in the preparation and organisation of exhibitions, including label production, signage, and display arrangements.

Front-of-House Duties: (funding dependent) 

  • Visitor Services: Provide visitors with a warm and welcoming environment, offering assistance and information about current and upcoming exhibitions.
  • Ticketing and Sales: Manage ticketing and sales operations, including admission fees and merchandise sales.
  • Guided Tours: Conduct guided tours for visitors, engaging them with the artwork and providing insights into the artists’ backgrounds and creative processes.
  • Answering Inquiries: Respond to inquiries via phone, email, or in-person, providing information about exhibitions, events, and general gallery queries.
  • Crowd Management: Ensure a pleasant gallery experience for all visitors by monitoring visitor flow, maintaining order, and enforcing gallery rules when necessary.

Social Media Updates and Marketing:

  • Social Media Management: Regularly update the gallery’s social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) with engaging content, including exhibition highlights, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and artist spotlights.
  • Content Creation: Develop creative and visually appealing posts, videos, and stories to promote exhibitions, events, and educational programmes.
  • Audience Engagement: Interact with the online community, respond to comments, and foster meaningful connections with current and potential visitors.
  • Digital Campaigns: Assist in the planning and execution of digital marketing campaigns to promote exhibitions and events, helping to expand the gallery’s online reach.

Audience Development:

  • Community Outreach: Collaborate with local organisations, schools, and community groups to promote gallery events and educational programmes.
  • Educational Initiatives: Contribute to developing educational content and resources to engage diverse audiences, including students and families.
  • Visitor Feedback: Gather and analyse visitor feedback to identify areas for improvement and ensure the gallery remains responsive to audience interests.

Events and Programme:

  • Event Support: Assist in the organisation and execution of gallery events, such as artist talks, workshops, and openings.
  • Educational Programmes: Support educational initiatives, working with schools and community groups to facilitate guided visits and workshops.

Gallery Maintenance:

  • Housekeeping: Ensure the gallery space is well-maintained, including regular cleaning, proper lighting, and upkeep of displays.
  • Security: Work with the gallery team to ensure print security and the gallery premises during operating hours.

Key Relationships:

Internal:                        Creative Director, Finance & Operations Manager, Managing Director

External:                        Volunteers

Qualifications and Skills:

Minimum 5 GCSE’s Grade C/4 or above.

Experience in a gallery, museum or other cultural institution setting.

Strong organisational skills with attention to detail to assist in curatorial tasks and exhibition preparation.

Experience in social media management, audience engagement, and marketing strategies is desirable.

Flexibility to work occasional evenings and weekends during special events and exhibition openings.


A genuine interest in documentary photography and a basic understanding of photographic history and contemporary documentary practice.

Ability to work to prioritise and work to tight deadlines.

Creative flair for social media updates, marketing, and audience development.

Ability to multitask and remain composed during busy periods, providing outstanding customer service.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Performance Review:

Performance will be assessed annually through a formal performance review process. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions will also be conducted to ensure ongoing professional development.

Career Development Opportunities:

Opportunities for career growth within the organisation include potential advancement to higher leadership roles or specialised positions within the curatorial and creative fields.

Application Process:

Interested candidates should submit their resume and a detailed cover letter addressing their suitability for the position to Laura Laffler at referencing Curatorial Assistant in the subject line. 

Deadline for Application:

Please submit your application by 5pm on July 15st, 2024.

Equal Opportunity Employer:

Amber Film and Photography Collective CIC is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion.

Note to Applicants:

Applicants can expect the hiring process to include multiple interview rounds and potential assessments. The expected timeline for the hiring process will be communicated to shortlisted candidates.

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