Smart Museum: Chicago Ceramics Research Associate

Opportunity Description:


Reporting to the Curator of Public Art at the Smart Museum of Art, the Smart Undergraduate Research Associate will provide academic research and curatorial support for a future exhibition and book project Chicago Ceramics scheduled for 2024. 

Gaining in-depth experience of the early exhibition process, the Smart Undergraduate Research Associate for Chicago Ceramics duties will include, conducting research on Chicago artists working in the field of ceramics, liaising with multiple museum departments, among others. This position will also provide curatorial support for the museum’s permanent collection and additional exhibitions as assigned. 

Learning outcomes: knowledge or skills gained from the research experience: This project requires research into primary sources – there are no books about the history of ceramics in Chicago. The URA will need to consult materials in the collection of the Chicago Historical Society and Art Institute of Chicago. The URA will find communities of ceramicists across Chicago and begin to form relationships with stakeholders.

This opportunity will begin in Fall 2020 with the potential for a continuation during Winter and Spring 2021; undergraduate researchers should anticipate giving approximately 10 hours/week of time to this opportunity; given the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is anticipated that most of the associate’s work will be done remotely (if things change and in-person/on-site work is required during the associate’s tenure, this will be discussed and worked out with the student based on their location, availability, and comfort with such work)

Additional notes: All Smart Undergraduate Research Associates will be expected to participate in the 2021 University of Chicago Undergraduate Research Symposium during the Spring Quarter and the annual research scholars curriculum organized by the College Center for Research & Fellowships. The selected student will receive more information from the College about these expectations separately.

Primary Responsibilities: 

Principle responsibilities include working closely with the Curator of Public Art and exhibitions team to conduct artist research, liaise with multiple museum departments, among others.

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: 

Strong communication skills, research skills, and attention to detail are required.

Additional eligibility: Open to all majors and sub-disciplines; open to all undergraduate students with a preference for 1st year students (ideally so that the student will still be here for the exhibition in 2024)


Preferred Skills: 

Demonstrated interest in the field of ceramics

Application Process: 

Email the following in *one* pdf. document to aaronwilder@uchicago.edu with the subject “Chicago Ceramics URA Application”: 

  • 350-word statement of interest in the research opportunity (this is not a cover letter but should detail why you are interested in the research experience, what particular research skills you may bring, what you hope to learn and how this may impact your future studies and/or research in the field);
  • Current curriculum vitae (academically focused resume) with the names and contact details of two references; and,
  • A copy of your unofficial transcript.

Application Deadline: 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Application Requirements: 

  • Submit CV
  • 350 Word Statement of Interest
  • Names of Two References
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • For more information on this opportunity, please contact:
    aaronwilder@uchicago.edu