Job opportunity: Head of World Collections, Cambridge University Libraries, deadline: 31 January 2022

A unique position has arisen to develop strategy, curate and lead the service offering for research collections at Cambridge University Libraries (CUL).

CUL is now recruiting to the new role of Head of World Collections to lead the curation and strategic development of a key area of its collections and activities. Reporting within the Research Collections Directorate, and leading a dedicated team, the Head of World Collections will drive the development of collecting strategy in their area, and ensure the provision of excellent and highly-focussed services to our users. They will work closely with library, archive and academic staff to create a coherent approach that reflects education and research needs, with the aim of diversifying our collections and curatorial practices. The Head of World Collections will also oversee the expert curatorial input into funding bids for collaborative research projects arising from the collections. There is an expectation that this will include research and documentation into collection provenance and the opportunity to increase engagement with representative communities, locally, nationally and globally. The post-holder will be expected to review the current resource for world collections, identify gaps in provision, challenge obsolete practices and approaches, redirect activity and introduce new functions as required. 

The Head of World Collections will be an experienced and dynamic collection, change, and people manager, with responsibility for forming and developing a new departmental structure and culture. They will be expected to have a curatorial and linguistic specialism in one of the collection areas covered by the World Collections function.

Cambridge University Libraries is one of the world’s foremost university and research libraries. With approximately 8 million volumes, 120,000 e-journal titles, and over 50 linear km of Special Collections, it is a major scholarly resource, both for the University of Cambridge, and for researchers nationally and internationally. 

A network of over 30 libraries, with the historic University Library at its heart, CUL serves resident members of the University, a local, national and international public, and a global scholarly audience. A UK legal deposit library for over 300 years, and a National Research Library, the University Library is also an Accredited Archive. Its Special Collections have been Designated by Arts Council England, as ‘one of the world’s great collections of global documentary cultural heritage’. CUL’s holdings cover every conceivable area of human endeavour, written across three thousand years, and in over two thousand languages, and they include manuscripts, maps, music, rare printed material, thousands of personal and institutional archives, as well as very substantial digital holdings.

Apply for this position here. The deadline for completed applications is 23.59 GMT, 31 January 2022.


Published by Dr Julia Faiers

Julia Faiers received her PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2021. She wrote her thesis on the art patronage of Louis d’Amboise, bishop of Albi from 1474 to 1503, under the supervision of Professor Kathryn Rudy. Her postdoctoral research includes the nineteenth-century reception of medieval art and architecture, and late-medieval female art patronage in France. Julia gained a First Class Honours degree in art history at the University of St Andrews (1995). She won a British Academy Award to study for her MA in German Expressionism at The Courtauld under the supervision of Dr Shulamith Behr (1997), and spent almost twenty years working as a journalist before returning to academia in 2016.

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