Director, Art Collections

Job Details


Job Title: Director, Art Collections

Employment Type: Ongoing

Classification: Parliamentary Executive Level 2

Closing Date: 11:30pm AEDT, 29 February 2024 

Contact: Dr Dianne Heriot, 02 6277 5068,


The Opportunity


The Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) is recruiting for a Parliamentary Executive Level 2 Director, Art Collections within Design Integrity and Special Collections.


DPS is responsible for a wide range of services and facilities, working closely with the Department of the Senate, the Department of the House of Representatives and the Parliamentary Budget Office to support the operations of the Parliament and its Committees. 


As an integral and essential part of the design and construction of Parliament House, a unique Art/Craft Program was planned, executed and installed throughout the building and surrounding precinct prior to its opening in May 1988. A distinguished and diverse Art Advisory Committee of curators, scholars, artists, and craftspeople appointed by the Parliament House Construction Authority worked closely with the building’s architects and the Authority’s curator for more than five years in the creation of the program.


The Art/Craft Program was comprised of two major elements: a series of commissioned works of art and craft for specific locations, and the acquisition of works of art and contemporary craft to establish a rotational collection. 


The commissions consisted of 70 significant works which were designed and fabricated by Australian artists and craftspeople for designated locations at Parliament House, all of which were closely integrated within its architectural, interior, and landscape design.  The Program’s Rotational Collection was formed through the selection and acquisition of 3000 paintings, works on paper, sculptures, and works in media such as ceramics, glass, and timber for temporary installation in specific zones in the circulation areas of the building and in Senators’ and Members’ offices. 


During the 32 years since the opening of Parliament House in 1988, acquisitions within the Rotating Collection have continued and it now includes over 3500 works. 


All of the commissioned and acquired works were commissioned or selected for the purpose of interlacing meaning and content within Parliament House, reflecting diverse aspects of contemporary Australian identity and culture as part of the building’s required symbolism.  The preservation and ongoing interpretation of the original purposes of this integrated Art/Craft Program in Parliament House are essential elements of the responsibilities of the Director, Art Collections within the Office of the Secretary.


DPS is also responsible for maintaining two other significant national collections within Parliament House, the approved locations for which were also integrated within the detailed plans for the presence of art and craft in the building:

  • The Historic Memorials Collection (official portraits of the Head of State, Governors-General, Prime Ministers and Presiding Officers), and other significant parliamentarians or events
  • The Official Gifts Collection, comprising gifts from other nations, Australian States and Territories, and national and international organisations.


The Director, Art Collections is a critical position within DPS with responsibility for the care and maintenance of the commissioned and acquired rotational works within the building’s art/craft program, and for the ongoing development and management of the Historic Memorials and Official Gifts Collections.

Who we are looking for


Our ideal candidate will: 


  • Demonstrate experience and expertise in relation to the management, maintenance, and development of collections and commissioned works, including their conservation.
  • Knowledge of art history and of contemporary Australian art and craft, including Indigenous art.
  • The demonstrated capacity to gain an understanding and appreciation of the close relationships between art and architecture at Parliament House, and the unique opportunities and constraints for the presentation of art within the building and its landscape.
  • Strong analytical skills.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent inter-personal, liaison and negotiation skills.
  • Personal attributes of initiative, creativity, tact and sound judgement.
  • The ability to work as a team member in a fast-paced environment juggling multiple and often conflicting priorities.
  • Knowledge of the role, symbolism, and operations of parliament or the ability to acquire such knowledge quickly.


Job Specific Requirements

•  The successful applicant will be required to obtain and maintain a Negative Vetting 1 (Confidential/Highly Protected/Secret) security clearance.

At DPS, we acknowledge the value diversity brings. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace that ensures all our people can contribute to our shared purpose. We welcome applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, mature age people, people from diverse backgrounds and people with disability.


Duty Statement

Classification: Parliamentary Executive Level 2    
Branch: Design Integrity & Art Collection Branch   
Art Collections    
Immediate supervisor:
Head of Design Integrity & Collections


Under limited/general direction undertake duties in accordance with the agreed standards for the Parliamentary Executive Level 2 classification. The duties will include, but are not limited to, the following:


  1. Lead and direct the Art Collections Section;
  2. Manage the Parliament House Art Collection and delivery of art services for the Parliament;
  3. Provide policy, administrative / technical advice on all aspects of custody, preservation, conservation, control, and development of the collections;
  4. Prepare research papers, submissions and plans on art collection policy, administrative or technical issues;
  5. Manage service delivery or corporate support functions, including provision of artwork in parliamentarians’ suites, temporary exhibition programs, and reproduction and loan requests from external organisations;
  6. Engage with capital works project managers and manage project support to capital works to ensure the collection asset is appropriately managed and risks are mitigated;
  7. Provide secretariat support to the Historic Memorials Committee and Art Advisory Committee; and
  8. Represent the Section within DPS, and in dealing with other parliamentary departments, contractors and other stakeholders.  

Employees of DPS are required to be able, and to be seen to be able, to provide professional advice and services to all Senators and Members without favour or prejudice.


Selection Criteria


  1. Evidence of a keen interest and capacity to come to an understanding of the complex interrelationships and original planning for art and craft in relation to the symbolism and architecture of Parliament House, and to formulate ongoing programs and management regimes which maintain and develop those interrelationships. 
  2. Demonstrated capacity to make major contributions to policy formulation, devise innovative solutions to challenges and resolve complex issues.
  3. Ability to provide leadership in implementing and promoting a climate of change and continuous improvement to enable the continued provision of high quality services to clients, care to the collection and support to projects.
  4. Significant knowledge and/or experience of complex procurement.
  5. Highly developed skills in written, oral and interpersonal communication.
  6. Evidence of the capacity to develop and maintain strong and effective stakeholder networks across Parliament House and other external forums.
  7. Eligibility, qualifications and/or other requirements:

•    Practical knowledge of Australian social, political and art history; copyright and moral rights legislation and practices; the site-specific commissioning of works by artists and craftspeople integrated into the design of public buildings; and collection storage standards.

•    Practical experience in:
o    managing contemporary Australian art collections, collection conservation, and exhibitions; 
o    Formulating targeted management practices for both rotating collections and permanent commissioned art integrated within public buildings; 
o    utilising electronic databases and collection management tools. 

How to apply


Please upload your response to the selection criteria, noting that each criteria has a word limit of 350 words.


Our purpose and values


We proudly provide innovative, unified, and client-focused services to the Australian Parliament and parliamentarians. We are a values driven department, placing our values at the heart of everything we do; from our service offerings and decision making to our interactions with stakeholders and each other.  


Our people are employed in a broad and unique range of professional, customer service and trade-based roles, all joined by a shared purpose: to make an enduring contribution to Australia’s parliamentary democracy. We have an inclusive workplace that reflects the diversity of the community we serve. While we come from all walks of life, we share a commitment to care for and protect our iconic workplace. 


Every year, almost one million people visit Australian Parliament House to experience the parliamentary process, the building’s architecture, nationally significant art collections, events, tours, and food and dining experiences – all made possible by our people, who are active participants in an environment where no two days are the same.


What we can offer


Join our community based on innovative, unified, and client-focused services, where your skills and development will be nurtured. You will also enjoy:  


•    access to flexible work arrangements 
•    ongoing opportunities to learn and develop new capabilities 
•    a competitive remuneration package
•    free secure underground parking
•    free gym membership and access to recreational facilities
•    on-site childcare, banking services, post office, value-for-money dining options and more.




An attractive salary, which could be negotiated with the successful candidate, is on offer.



Conditions of Employment


Employment opportunities at Department of Parliamentary Services are subject to a range of conditions prescribed in the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 which include:


•    Australian citizenship – to be eligible for employment with DPS, applicants must be an Australian Citizen. 


•    Security clearance and character clearance – the preferred applicant will be required to obtain and maintain a security clearance at the level specified, as well as complete and be deemed suitable through a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check. 


•    Health assessment – a pre-employment health assessment will be required where there are physical or medical requirements for the role.