Smart Museum: Media Aesthetics Research Associate (2 positions)

Opportunity Description:

The Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry at the Smart Museum of Art seeks two undergraduates to support an upcoming exhibition, Smart to the Core: Media Aesthetics. This project is the second in a series of exhibitions designed by the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry to expand object-centered teaching across all fields and disciplines in the University of Chicago’s celebrated College Core. Bringing together paintings, photographs, prints, and new media, this conceptually-driven exhibition will speak to the historicity of Western civilization’s relationship with media and examine notions of the gaze and gendered modes of seeing, mimesis and indexicality, the politics of aesthetic reception, and racialized representations of beauty in visual culture. 


Working closely with the Director of the Feitler Center and the Assistant Curator for Academic Initiatives, the Associates (2 positions) will provide key support in ongoing research and coordination efforts for the exhibition.


Opportunity term/commitment: These two opportunities will be full-time positions in Summer 2021; undergraduate researchers should anticipate giving approximately 30-40 hours/week of time to this opportunity for 10 weeks; given the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is anticipated that the associate’s work may be done remotely (if in-person/on-site work is required during the intern’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 2022 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: 

Primary responsibilities include conducting research on artworks and artists; managing exhibition checklists, timelines, and floorplans; assisting with exhibition didactics; preparing educational materials; compiling and maintaining files for the project; liaising with multiple museum departments; assisting with ideas for programming; other duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: 

Undergraduate student interested in Art, Art History, Museums, and Exhibitions. Applicant must be a University of Chicago 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year undergraduate student at the time of application (not eligible for students graduating June 2021). Open to all majors and sub-disciplines.

Preferred Skills: 

Excellent research, writing, editing and communication skills, close attention to detail, and a high degree of organization.

Required Courses (Optional): 

Successful completion of the Humanities “Media Aesthetics” sequence (at least “Image”; preferably all three quarters).

Recommended Training (Optional): 

Art History 101, “Introduction to Art”

Knowledge or skills gained from the experience: 

In-depth knowledge of the exhibition process and the inner-workings of a university art museum. Application of research skills to a public museum context. Application of theoretical texts from this course to a relatable format with broader public appeal.

Application Process: 

Email the following in *one* pdf. document to with the subject “Media Aesthetics 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 and work-related skills you may bring, what you hope to learn and how this may impact your future studies, profession, and/or research in the field);
  • Current curriculum vitae or resume with the names and contact details of two references; and, 
  • A copy of your unofficial transcript.

Application Deadline: 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Application Requirements: 

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

    Aaron Wilder
    Faculty Title: 
    Academic Engagement Coordinator
    Smart Museum of Art