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Foundation Manager, Alserkal Arts Foundation

Closing date
Job ID
Friday 31 May 2024
Alserkal Arts Foundation

About Alserkal

Alserkal is a socially responsible and forward-thinking cultural enterprise dedicated to developing sustainable models for homegrown initiatives with a commitment to nurturing alternative ideas and impactful research with regional relevance. Founded in 2007 by Emirati businessman and patron Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Alserkal is renowned for its ground-breaking artistic productions, experimental approach and for the creation of culturally meaningful spaces that inspire and shape communities. Alserkal has three primary areas of activity: cultivating a creative economy in Dubai and building a collaborative network of civic- cultural institutions through its renowned cultural district, Alserkal Avenue; providing advisory services to public and private sector entities; and, supporting public artist commissions, residencies, research grants and educational programmes through its non-profit, Alserkal Arts Foundation.

Alserkal has transformed the cultural landscape of Dubai and the UAE through the creation of a thriving, region-specific community of over 70 contemporary art galleries, visual and performing arts organisations, designers and entrepreneur-led businesses at Alserkal Avenue, providing an essential platform for the development of creative industries in the region.

Alserkal utilises its collective expertise in arts initiatives and cultural production, heritage creation, community building and engagement, as well as urbanism and planning for creative industries, to guide public and private sector entities in developing sustainable and responsive business models.

About Alserkal Arts Foundation

The Alserkal Arts Foundation supports socially engaged, multi- disciplinary practices and facilitates cross-cultural exchange through its four core initiatives: public art commissions, residencies, research grants and educational programmes.

Since our inception, Alserkal’s non-profit initiatives have grown at an organic pace, catering to homegrown audiences from the region and beyond. Over the past five years, we have set up a public art commissions programme, working with 20 artists to date, supporting practitioners whose projects are collaborative, participatory, and ephemeral. In 2017, Alserkal Residency was established for artistic experimentation and discursive exchange. By design, the Residency supports cultural practitioners in the process of experimentation and research, while also giving them the opportunity to engage with our context and networks. A research-driven platform that supports cultural practice, we help establish Dubai as a centre for cultural production in the region. To date, we have welcomed more than 23 residents across various disciplines, each carefully chosen by our Selection Committee.

Alserkal Arts Foundation was formally announced in March 2019, adding two additional pillars to its existing commitments: alternative learning programmes and research grants. We offer cultural practitioners–either based in Dubai, or whose practice critically investigates themes pertinent to the region's artistic community– opportunities for research, scholarship, and artistic production. From the very beginning, partnerships have been an important dimension of Alserkal’s non-profit activities, forming collaborations with the Samdani Art Foundation, Victoria & Albert Museum, Hayward Gallery and others. Partnerships, co-commissions and collaborative projects will continue to play a vital role within the Foundation’s mission.

Essential Functions & Objectives

This role is central to the management and smooth functioning of the Alserkal Arts Foundation (AAF) and all its activities. The Foundation Manager is a key role within the Foundation, dedicated to driving the Alserkal family’s vision, leading to long-term legacy-building, rigorous programming, a research grants scheme, colloquia, a dynamic art commissions programme that enhances the public realm, and a successful residency programme. All of which establish AAF as a centre for multi-disciplinary research and artistic experimentation in the region and beyond.

Working closely alongside the Director and Alserkal Management team, the Foundation Manager is expected to be a major contributor to the development and programme management of the Foundation.

Key Responsibilities:

Residency and Intercycle Programmes

AAF hosts two residency cycles per year, each with up to four residents. This role has key responsibility for being the host and manager for the residents, working closely with them on a day-to- day basis. From May to September, the Foundation’s study spaces are available to local researchers, who also co-develop relevant public programmes to support their projects.

- Managing the calls and selection process for the residencies, whether via nomination or open call, making sure we reach the necessary audiences

- Liaising with the Selection Committee and applicants during application and selection cycles, organising deliberation sessions with the Selection Committee, whether online or in-person

- Working closely with Foundation Director and residents to devise, produce and execute public programmingEngaging and working closely with the residents/researchers and their practices to ensure that they have a generative experience and feel supported

- Researching and arranging appropriate studio visits for each resident with local practitioners

- Making sure that the studios and villa are fit for purpose and well maintained

- Managing budgets and weekly and monthly reports as necessary, ensuring that the funds for research and programming are available and accounted for

- Organising travel and logistics as needed, including research and ideation for local excursions and fieldwork

- Maintain regular communications with residents, alumni, selection committee members and research award grantees, making sure that we stay connected with our key audiences and partners

- Content management and liaison on marketing and communications as required by the Director and the Programme Executive

Public Art Commissions and non-profit Exhibitions

The Foundation team delivers annual artist commissions across the Avenue or offsite in collaboration with partners. Exhibitions are generally held in Concrete in March and November of each year, but could also take place in other spaces.

- Research and planning, identifying curators, artists, and projects of interest as part of the curatorial team, playing an important role in developing the Foundation’s exhibitions and commissioning strategy and planning

- Forecasting and management of budgets, payments and weekly / monthly reports as required for all exhibitions and commissions that the Foundation is engaged in

- Leading on planning and delivery of installation and deinstallation, working closely with freelancers, external contractors and personnel as needed

- Procuring and liaising with shipping companies and art handlers to arrange for the shipping and logistics for all exhibitions, including customs paperwork

- Liaison and coordination of loan contract and logistics with lenders, partners, external curators or artists, condition reporting and ensuring that display meets necessary conservation standards, bringing in specialists if needed

- Supervision and management of staff and facilities during exhibition (recruiting and training volunteers, guides/docents, etc.)

- Organise tours and outreach as necessary, making sure that protocol is followed when required

Research Grants

The research grants programme provides research funding to interdisciplinary scholars, artists, writers and creative practitioners.

- Work in partnership with Director to develop, plan and implement the grants programme.

- Assisting with logistics of the grants programme, including travel and hospitality

- Forecasting and managing budgets and payments in relation to the grants

- Creating and managing a reporting structure for grant activities

- Maintaining regular contact with grant awardees to ensure that their projects remain on track

- Working with Foundation Director to ensure that the grantees remain engaged with the Foundation and that their research is shared with our audiences as appropriate

- Develop relevant programming with the grant awardees – this could include texts, talks, online programmes or more ambitious seminars and symposia

- Maintaining regular contact with the Selection committee members and organise online sessions with them and the grantees to present research progress reports.

Events and educational programming

A combination of shorter accessible events and workshops and ambitious and research-led colloquia, to bring engaged and diverse audiences to the foundation around the year

- Research, ideate and execute events alongside the Foundation team and external partners

- Management of speakers, contracts and any travel or accessibility requirements

- Planning, briefing and regular liaison with Marketing, Operations, Finance, Events, Facilities and Community relations teams to ensure the smooth delivery of all programmes

- Hosting and management on the day of the event, making sure that all housekeeping requirements, refreshments, catering are well executed

- Offline and online programming for the foundation, making sure that all events are streamed or recorded as appropriate

- Making sure that communications for the event – posters, emails, social media – are on brand and reach target audiences

Networking and Outreach

As a key representative of the Foundation, your role will include continual research and activity to grow our audiences and our partners and alliances.

- Under close supervision of the Director, you will be expected to proactively research, network and attend key events to represent the organization

- Strive to build connections with key partners, and you will support the Foundation Director in cultivating and building these relationships.

- Strong relationships with and knowledge of local and regional institutions is a plus.

- Supervision of the team to ensure that we are connecting with students, graduate, undergraduate and higher secondary


This role requires the management of junior team members, on a day-to-day basis as well as from a development and mentorship perspective.

- Conducting reviews of direct reports in a timely manner

- Resource allocations and development of workflows, processes and management reporting that is clear, concise and reflective of successes and learnings

- Work closely with the management team to build outstrategy and develop action plans based on agreed strategies and tactics

Required skills + experience

- Strong leadership skills to be able to manage a team

- Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively as part of a team

- Ability to develop positive, cooperative relationships across functional boundaries

- Excellent communication and presentation skills with the ability to effectively convey complex ideas

- Self-motivated and versatile with the ability to work within a constantly changing environment

- Sound project management skills with the ability to manage multiple projects at once while ensuring the highest quality execution possible within deadlines

- Confident and outgoing, used to networking and substantial experience in outward-facing roles

- Innovative and proactive in approach, always looking to improve Alserkal’s offering

- Well informed about the art world and willing to travel abroad

- Degree in Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences with a strong interest in arts and cultural production

- Excellent organisational and administrative skills

- Excellent budget-keeping and reporting skills

- Excellent writing and communication skills

- Work experience in the GCC or wider region desirable

- English necessary, Arabic/Hindi/Urdu desirable

Position type and expected hours of work

This is a full-time position. Days and hours of work are Monday through Friday, from 10am to 6pm. Weekend hours and/or overtime might be required during intense periods and/or during special projects and events. A Time in Lieu policy is in place to recover the additional hours required.

This job description summarises the main key responsibilities of your role but there may be other reasonable requests made and other responsibilities included from time to time.


Those interested can write to with the following subject line:
Foundation Manager - <Name>