Conservation Scientist

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West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
Job location: 
Hong Kong
Contract type: 
Application deadline: 
Friday, 5 February, 2021 - 00:00

M+ is a museum dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and Hong Kong visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, we are building one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world, with a bold ambition to establish ourselves as one of the world’s leading cultural institutions. Our aim is to create a new kind of museum that reflects our unique time and place, a museum that builds on Hong Kong’s historic balance of the local and international to define a distinctive and innovative voice for Asia’s twenty-first century.

Conservation Scientist (Ref: R1568)

(Candidates with lesser experience may be considered for the position of Associate Conservation Scientist.)

Reporting to the Head, Conservation & Research, the successful candidate will work in the Analytical Science Lab in the Conservation Department and will be responsible for developing and implementing a conservation science program in support of research and understanding of the growing M+ Collections and their sustainable use, valuation and preservation. The individual will join a team that includes conservators specialised in paintings, objects, paper, photography, installation art, and digital art and preventive conservation. The candidate will be expected to possess research/analysis experience applicable to a wide range of artists’ and conservation materials both organic and inorganic; to be a strong team-player enjoying working in a collaborative manner; and, to have demonstrated ability to show initiative and resourcefulness in handling difficult and unusual analytical problems.

Working in close collaboration with M+ Senior Conservator/Head of Conservation & Research, your essential functions will be as described below:

You will be responsible for:

• providing input to set the analytical laboratory as part of the Conservation and Storage Facility (CSF) in the M+ building. This would include selecting and providing necessary input to purchasing adequate scientific equipment for the analytical laboratory and for non-destructive analysis in museum gallery;
• determining policies, standards and procedures for the safe scientific analysis of the collection and implementation of institution sustainability while working in collaboration with the preventive conservator;
• developing conservation research projects specifically relating to the M+ collections, among which conducting non-destructive analysis on collection items or acquisition candidates if required;
• working in collaboration with conservators and curators in the examination and analysis of a broad range of artists’ and conservation materials and degradation products, both organic and inorganic;
• supporting the development and administration of the budget of the analytical laboratory;
• managing the maintenance of the instrumentation in the laboratory such as but not limited to microscopes, micro-FTIR spectrometer, micro-Raman spectrometer, XRF spectrometer, Vis-NIR FORS, aging chamber and analytical balances in coordination with relevant service providers;
• maintain appropriate X-ray license registration, monitor use of the equipment and manage related workflows in conjunction with the Authority Health and Safety officer;
• working in close collaboration with the preventive conservator with regards to collection display and storage needs including but not limited to supporting environmental and material composition analysis;
• coordinating cooperative technical studies of M+ collection items, conservation materials or techniques with relevant counterparts, academic colleagues and other museum scientists, and collaborating in the writing of papers for publication in art historical, conservation, or scientific journals;
• communicating effectively the work of conservation science to both professional colleagues and non-technical audiences through tours, lectures, web content, and video;
• instructing and supervising fellows, Interns, and students in the understanding and performance of materials analysis;
• participating in exhibition development and museum education initiatives;
• forging collaboration with the scientific community regionally and globally. Staying abreast of developments in the application of scientific techniques to the analysis of artist’ materials through journal research and attendance at conferences and seminars; and
• supporting any ad hoc projects or assignments when required.

You should:
• possess a Ph.D. in chemistry or other physical science or equivalent combination of diploma with proven experience. Conservator with a Master degree in conservation from a recognised college / university and with a proven experience in conservation science will also be considered.
• have a minimum of 5 years of experience in a museum conservation science laboratory is required;
• have the experience in operating and maintaining scientific instrumentation, including but not limited to X-ray fluorescence spectrometers both stationary and handheld, Micro-Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, Micro-Raman spectrometer, Microscopes and Analytical balances, etc. Experience in sourcing scientific instruments and knowledge of radiation safety would be preferred;
• have working knowledge of analytical techniques used in conservation field, such as but not limited to scanning electron microscopy/ energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), X-ray diffraction (XRD), gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC);
• knowledge of artists’ materials and techniques relating to contemporary art, including paintings, 3-D artworks, works on paper and photography and specifically about artist’ materials used in Asia would be a plus;
• have ability to collaborate effectively with conservators, curators, collections management staff, museum educators, academic scientists, and scientists from other museums and institutions and to effectively communicate the work of conservation science to non-technical audiences;
• have solid planning and organisational skills and experience in developing and administering sizable budgets. Experience in grant writing and management would be a plus;
• possess a proven record of peer-reviewed research and publications;
• have cross-cultural knowledge of art and art history is appreciated along with an interest in contemporary visual culture; and
• have strong oral, written and interpersonal communication skills in English, knowledge of Cantonese or Putonghua is an advantage.

For interested parties, please submit your application with detailed CV on or before 8 February 2021. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible. The review of applications will continue until post is filled.

Data collected will only be used for job application processing. Your data may be accessed by our appointed recruitment consultants who have agreed to keep confidence of all personal data in not less than the standards applicable to us. Applicants not being invited for interview within 4 weeks from the submission date may assume their applications unsuccessful.

All related information will be kept up to 24 months and all personal data will be destroyed afterwards.

For more information, please visit or contact:
Linda Hung /+852 22005481