Fellowship: Thomson Curatorial Fellowship in European Art, Art Gallery of Ontario, deadline 5 November 2021 *updated

The Art Gallery of Ontario welcomes applications for the Thomson Curatorial Fellowship in European Art, a two-year position beginning in 2022.

About the Art Gallery of Ontario:

At the AGO, we are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace dedicated to hiring individuals who reflect the communities we serve. We welcome and encourage all interested candidates to apply for this new and exciting opportunity, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups in the museum field, including candidates who are BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, women, and people with disabilities. If you require accommodations at any point in the hiring process, please let us know and we will be happy to provide them.

As one of North America’s leading art museums, the AGO welcomes close to 1 million visitors annually and is deeply committed to making art and lifelong learning accessible to everyone. Our ambitious vision is to lead global conversations from Toronto through extraordinary collections, exhibitions and programs, and by reflecting the people who live here.

The European Art department believes that historical art can help us to connect with the past and with one another. Through the tools at our disposal—exhibitions, installations, research, and acquisitions—we envision that the European Art collection at the AGO will become a vital resource for studying the past as an essential means of living an informed present. We invite applicants who are inspired by this purpose to join us on our journey.

About the fellowship:

The Thomson Curatorial Fellowship in European Art is a two-year position that trains a doctoral candidate or recent doctorate to become a future curator of European art. Working closely with curators and collaborating with colleagues across the museum, the Fellow’s work will include the following key responsibilities:

  • The Fellow will develop an exhibition drawn from the Thomson Collection of European Art that aligns their interests with the department’s priorities. They will guide this project from conception through installation, which will include selecting objects, developing a narrative, writing interpretive text, exhibition design, and installation.
  • The Fellow will have substantial time dedicated to pursuing independent research on an aspect of the Thomson Collection leading to a conference presentation and/or publication. Support resources include access to the AGO Library & Archives, Toronto’s university libraries, and collaboration with AGO Conservation staff.
  • To promote and share knowledge about the Thomson Collection of European Art, the Fellow will participate in public programming and outreach through in-person and virtual programs, the AGO newsletter, and other programs in collaboration with curators and the Education & Programming department.
  • Through participation in day to day activities of the European Art department and the museum, the Fellow will gain exposure to the broad spectrum of activities involved in curatorial work.

About the Thomson Collection of European Art:

The Thomson Collection of European Art is one of the world’s finest collections of medieval, renaissance, and baroque sculpture, painting, and decorative arts. Numbering over 900 objects, the collection ranges from the late 10th century to the 19th century and across media, with particular strength in ivory, boxwood, and metalwork. To browse the collection, visit https://ago.ca/collection/thomson.

Specific areas of interest may include:

  • Gothic ivories (also includes some Carolingian and Byzantine examples)
  • Limoges and Byzantine enamels
  • Medieval manuscripts
  • German and Flemish Baroque ivory and boxwood carvings
  • Scientific and navigational instruments
  • Portrait miniatures

Historic European frames: In 2022 the AGO will have an expert in Frames Conservation in residence to work with the AGO’s collection of 1,500 historic European frames. If in-depth research on the history of frames and a possible exhibition project related to this collection is of interest, please discuss your interest in your application.

Revelant Skills:

  • PhD or ABD (all requirements toward the completion of a PhD with the exception of dissertation submission) in art history or a related humanities field
  • Expertise in an area directly related to the Thomson Collection of European Art
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills; experience in writing for multiple purposes and broad audiences
  • Demonstrated experience in speaking and writing about art to specialized audiences as well as broader public audiences
  • Minimum 1 year of related art museum experience
  • Well-developed organizational, interpersonal and public relations skills
  • English language proficiency required


  • The Fellow will receive a CAD $50,000 stipend per year for the 2-year placement, along with a CAD $5,000 allowance for research travel and professional development. If applicable, a moving stipend will also be provided.
  • Health insurance benefits including extended health, prescriptions, dental, and vision will be provided.

Application materials:

  • Two-page cover letter: Please describe your interest in a curatorial career in general, this position in particular, and how your experience to date will support you in the role of the Fellow; Please also include a description of a potential research project to pursue during the Fellowship related to a particular area of the Thomson Collection of European art. This may be drawn from the list above or a different area of interest that aligns with the Thomson Collection of European art.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Copy of a published paper or recent writing sample
  • Two confidential letters of recommendation

Please apply through the online-portal:

Application Deadline: 11/05/2021

This fellowship will take place on-site at the AGO with an expected start date beginning in January 2022.

The Art Gallery of Ontario is located at: 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 1G4


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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