Swayn Senior Fellow in Australian Design

National Museum of Australia
Closing Date
Sun, 30th January 2022
Position Type
Full Time
$104,371 - $112,024 pa (plus super)

The Job Opportunity

The National Museum of Australia in collaboration with the Swayn Gallery of Australian Design has an exciting opportunity for a professional to join our Curatorial Centre as the Swayn Senior Fellow in Australian Design.

The Museum and the Swayn Gallery of Australian Design share the common goal of promoting and advancing public interest and understanding of Australian Design and its history.  As a Senior Fellow, you will represent the Museum as an expert in Australian design.  You will provide intellectual, creative, and practical leadership to deliver on the Museum’s goal of being a leading national forum for discussions about Australian history, and a world leader in audience engagement.

You will have a well-developed knowledge of curatorial practice and Australian design, culture and history, and an ability to foster an appreciation of the influences and future trends in Australian Design.  While recognizing the breadth of interest in Australian design, the forward three years of activity will focus strongly on architecture and landscape architecture; industrial design; fashion, and new media.

Key outputs of the role will include further development of online resources and programs; exhibitions; a series of public events and lectures; and a research and publication program.  You will be responsible for establishing and managing relationships with key professional bodies and associations and joining practitioners and others in associated industries and enterprise to the work of the Museum.  You will also be responsible for drawing together grant applications to other bodies and forging new collaborations and partnerships.

The role will form part of a team of named curatorial Fellows, Senior Fellows, and Associates who are brought together to focus on areas of particular thematic interest to the Museum.  The Senior Fellow will also report to a Steering Group which has responsibility for monitoring and guiding the strategic direction of the Museum’s collaboration with the Swayn Gallery of Australian Design.  

This is a non-ongoing role, to be filled for a 3 year period.

What will the successful candidate bring to the role?

The successful candidate will bring a comprehensive knowledge of contemporary museum practices with specific understanding or experience in Australian design, curatorship and/or collections.  

The successful candidate will have extensive knowledge and experience in research, testing and exploring ideas pertinent to Australian design and design theory.

They will contribute intellectual, creative and practical skills to the Museum’s curatorial activities and have the ability to contribute to the vision and strategic framework for the Curatorial Centre.  They will have the ability to link the work of an Australian design stream to the broader program and ambitions of the Museum.  

They will enhance public access, knowledge and interest in Australian design through collections, ideas and programs. They will demonstrate an understanding of audience centric practices and represent the Museum as an expert in Australian design.

They will have demonstrated knowledge and experience in research, testing and exploring ideas with the ability to bring a unique combination of community engagement, culture, science and history to bear on the National Historical Collection and storytelling. They will have the skills and desire to engage in an active way with contemporary curatorial practice and collecting.

The incumbent will demonstrate flexibility, agility and resilience. They will have experience in developing successful programs and teams to achieve the desired high-level expectations. They will have program management skills, including planning and resource management experience. They will be able to build external partnerships and collaborate and negotiate with internal and external partners and stakeholders to achieve outcomes.

A comprehensive knowledge of contemporary museum practices, with specific understanding or experience in Australian design, curatorship and/or collections is critical.


To be eligible to apply for this vacancy, applicants must: 

- Be an Australian citizen; and
- Undergo a number of pre-employment checks, which includes a police records check.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those from culturally diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The National Museum of Australia is an equal employment opportunity workplace.

The National Museum of Australia is committed to ensuring a child-safe and child-friendly environment. All employees are expected to demonstrate a commitment to, and support for, these principles in theory and practice.

How to apply?

Applicants will need to submit a three-page application that demonstrates their ability to meet the qualities of the position.

Applications should also include a Curriculum Vitae and contact details for two referees.

Applications close at 11.30pm on Sunday, 30 January 2022.


For further information please contact Katherine McMahon, Assistant Director Discovery and Collections - katherine.mcmahon@nma.gov.au / 0437 190 243. PLEASE NOTE: The contact officer is not available for the period 25 December 2021 to 3 January 2022 inclusive.

If you are deaf, hearing or speech impaired, you can contact us through the National Relay Service, TTY call 133 677, Speak and Listen 1300 555 727.

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