Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Job Posting: Director, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

I don't post many of these, mostly because I don't actively look for them, but I am always happy to share job postings for folklore related jobs to give SurLaLune readers an idea of possible career tracks in the folklore field. So many of you are students wanting to know if you can pursue this field and continue to like eating. It's always fun to meet those of you in person who tell me that SurLaLune was one of your gateways into entering this field of study. At 14 years old this year, SurLaLune has helped inspire a few of you to follow your dreams. Thank you!

Right now there is a job posting for the position of Director at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The full job listing and application is a PDF which will eventually disappear off the internet so here is most of it:

Director, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

Announcement # EX-13-01

The incumbent of this position serves as Director, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH), appointed by the Secretary of the Smithsonian and under the supervision of the Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture. The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is responsible for planning, developing, and managing programs, cultural heritage policy, and training initiatives that have as their major objectives the research, documentation, presentation, and sustainability of living traditional and grassroots folk cultures of the United States and of other countries.

As Director, the incumbent is responsible for the administrative direction and management of all Center program activities including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, exhibitions, symposia, scholarly research, cultural heritage policy, educational projects, professional training, and all media (including websites, social media, apps, video and film documentaries, etc.), as well as the participation of other Smithsonian museums and programs in appropriate national celebration events and National Mall events. The Director represents, at national and international levels, Smithsonian concerns relating to the understanding of the cultural representation of living heritage, as well as public sector folklore, and policies related to them.

The Director oversees approximately 40 scholarly, technical and administrative staff members, as well as scores of scholars and technicians working on a contractual or short-term basis, hundreds of interns and volunteers, and is responsible for the well-being of hundreds of Festival participants and Folkways artists annually.

The Center enjoys financial support from federal appropriations and Smithsonian Trust funds. However, significant funding must be raised from a variety of sources including national governments, foundations, corporations, and individuals to support the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival and other programs. Effective revenue generation is also critical. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings relies on the generation of millions of dollars of earned income. Festival food and beverage concessions and its internally operated marketplace bring in essential additional revenues.


1. The Director is responsible for developing and revising the Center’s vision and strategic plan and formulating the Center’s goals and objectives in consultation with staff, advisory council and board, and other stakeholders, and in concert with the Smithsonian Strategic Plan and the Institution’s leadership.


2. The Director is responsible for the overall programmatic and administrative management of all Center program activities, which include the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Ralph Rinzler Archives, collections, exhibitions, scholarly research, all media and educational outreach, and cultural heritage policy projects as well as national celebration events and those involving collaborations with other Smithsonian museums and programs, while delegating certain of these areas to key subordinates. The Director issues and oversees operating policies, priorities, and procedures for Center program planning and development consistent with Smithsonian guidelines and regulations. The Director makes major policy and program decisions, including matters of budget, staffing, program planning, and priority.

3. The Director is responsible for monitoring, integrating, and coordinating the efforts of scholars and researchers involved with CFCH programs. The Director provides leadership and guidance, working with stakeholders, in defining the goals, objectives and priorities for scholarly research and for collections as well as for their presentation and use in a broad range of programs and products. The Director ensures that CFCH research and resultant programs are scholarly, ethical in light of disciplinary and human subjects research guidelines, participatory with communities and artists, and respectful and sensitive to the beliefs and traditions of the participants. Director ensures that collections—whether documentary or artifactual, are acquired and cared for in a manner consistent with Smithsonian policies and guidelines.

4. The Director prepares, oversees and implements Federal and Trust budgets that realize CFCH goals, and operates within those budgets. The Director oversees the preparation and submission of CFCH Federal budget requests to the Smithsonian for consideration by the Office of Management and Budget and by Congress, and the preparation and submission of the Smithsonian Trust fund budget. The Director allocates budgets within Smithsonian guidelines and directives.

5. The Director oversees, encourages, and pursues gift, grant, and contract activity for the CFCH ensuring resources secured are adequate to meet the Center’s goals. The Director prepares National Campaign and development plans for securing funds from individuals; foundations; corporations; foreign governments; state, federal, and international agencies; and/or appropriate partnerships in the pursuit of CFCH objectives. The Director meets with potential funders, sponsors, and partners, making presentations, securing funds, and managing donor relations.

6. The Director oversees, encourages, and pursues nonprofit business activity for the CFCH, working closely with the Director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Festival concessions, shops, and other such operations to assure the financial success of these activities., The Director works with Smithsonian Enterprises and other partners, as appropriate, and in accord with Smithsonian policies and guidelines.


7. The Director provides leadership for all staff, associates, fellows, interns, and volunteers of the CFCH, directly supervises senior staff members, and coordinates supervision of all staff members in a broad range of program activities. The Director encourages thoughtful, creative, innovative, ethical, and participatory performance through the organization. The Director issues CFCH policy guidelines and instructions consistent with Smithsonian guidelines and regulations and models those guidelines to assure the continued high quality of staff work performance. The Director assures that subordinate supervisors are effective in carrying out their responsibilities, and approves performance standards for key subordinates and periodically reviews their work performance. The Director reviews and approves recommendations on personnel matters relating to reassignment, promotion, performance appraisal, and disciplinary actions. The Director takes a proactive role in setting standards for and encouraging workplace civility among Center staff.

8. The Director is responsible for the achievement of a diverse staff and for assuring the representation of multiple perspectives in Center programs and activities. The Director encourages the training, recruitment, and career development of members of minority groups, women, and individuals with disabilities.

9 The Director represents the Smithsonian at high level disciplinary and policy meetings and conferences with international organizations, foreign governments, federal agencies, educational institutions, research centers, professional organizations, etc. to promote and foster the Institution’s folklife programs and issues of cultural policy, and to develop and coordinate programs of mutual interest for the research, documentation, representation, and sustainability of traditional and grassroots folklife and cultural heritage. The Director represents the CFCH as primary spokesperson to the media, Congress, and the public. The Director works closely with counterparts in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the American Folklore Society, and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, and other federal, state, local agencies and organizations on the development of cooperative programs for the advance of the Nations’ interest in folklife, and works with agencies such as the U.S. Department of State, and intergovernmental organizations such as UNESCO on issues of the representation and conservation of living cultural heritage.

10. The Director serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary and the Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture on matters relating to the folklife programs of the Institution, and as the lead in the management of cooperative programs with other Smithsonian museums, research centers, and programs, particularly, but not exclusively, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Museum of African Art, the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Anacostia Community Museum, the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Asian Pacific American Program and the Consortia for Understanding the American Experience and World Cultures.


11. The Director serves as ex-officio member of the CFCH Advisory Council, working closely with the Chair to organize annual meetings, and with the Council members on issues relevant to the Center and in concert with the Council’s bylaws. The Director also serves as ex-officio member of the Folkways Advisory Board and participates in its meetings and deliberations. The Director participates with other Smithsonian advisory bodies including the Smithsonian National Board, and, as appropriate, the Board of Regents.

12. As a scholar and/or practitioner, the Director makes original contributions to the theory and practice of folklore and/or cultural heritage and allied fields. The Director publishes books, articles, or chapters on the folklife and cultural heritage of particular communities, on theory, policy, or on the practice of public work. The Director participates in scholarly and professional conferences and seminars and gives expert guidance and advice to colleagues in the cultural fields.

13. Depending upon the organization of CFCH, the Director of CFCH may occasionally serve concurrently as the Director of Smithsonian Folkways or the Director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival or another division of the Center, responsible for the functioning of that division, and may be assisted by a principal deputy, associate, or assistant director for operational and various managerial functions.


The following criteria will be used to determine the highest qualified candidates:

Knowledge of folklore and/or ethnomusicology/ethnology/oral history/cultural heritage as evidenced by an advanced degree and/or a body of work that includes public programming or policy formulation/assessment, or scholarly achievement emphasizing living cultural heritage.

Leadership/management experience at a level that sets the goals and objectives for a scholarly or educational or service organization and includes the responsibility for management of the fiscal and human resources in a complex organization.

Successful track record of raising funds from individuals, foundations, corporations, and governmental organizations (domestically and/or internationally) through gifts, grants, and contracts.

Demonstrated successful track record of nonprofit business entrepreneurship generating significant revenues or entrepreneurial leveraging of substantive partnerships in the service of organizational mission.

Knowledge of world and/or American styles, systems, or traditions of cultural expression, as well as experience in representing exemplary cultural forms and practitioners in an important public and educational context and in an increasingly global, digital age.


Experience with domestic and international cultural programs and the communication and social skills to represent the organization to senior management, government officials, international dignitaries and collaborating organizations.


This is a Smithsonian Trust position. This is NOT a Federal Civil Service position. Smithsonian Trust positions are paid with revenues generated by our business enterprises and other non-government funding sources. Trust employees are “private sector” employees and are eligible to enroll in their own comprehensive benefit program including a lucrative, fully vested, retirement program with TIAA- CREF ( www.si.edu/benefits). A Federal employee who accepts a Trust position must resign from Federal service. Federal retirement payments are not affected by Trust employment.

The Smithsonian offers a competitive starting salary commensurate with experience.


We are only accepting E-Mail applications for this position. Please E-mail your resume or C.V. to Executiveresources@si.edu. Place EX-13-01 in the subject line. We will accept resumes until the closing date November 9, 2012

Applicant Survey Form (Attached) All candidates, except Smithsonian Institution employees, are requested to complete and submit the enclosed Applicant Survey Form with the application. This form will be used to determine the demographics of applicants who apply for vacancies at the Smithsonian Institution, and will not affect consideration for this position. The applicant survey form may be obtained on our website at www.si.edu/ohr.

Relocation expenses may be paid at the discretion of the Smithsonian

The individual selected for this position is subject to a full-field background investigation and will be required to file a confidential statement of employment and financial interests.

The Smithsonian Institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We believe that a workforce comprising a variety of educational, cultural and experiential backgrounds support and enhance our daily work life and contribute to the richness of our exhibitions and programs. See Smithsonian EEO program information: www.si.edu/oeema

The Smithsonian provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for the application/hiring process, please call (202) 633-6370 (voice) or (202) 633-6409 (TTY).


For questions, nominations or other inquiries concerning this announcement contact

Tom Lawrence

Smithsonian Institution

Office of Human Resources

Executive Resources Office

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