2018 ‘Age of Jazz’ Exhibition – Call for Proposals


Winter Exhibition Programme at Two Temple Place

2018 – ‘Age of Jazz’ Exhibition presented with NADFAS


The Bulldog Trust and NADFAS are collaborating to present an exhibition at the trust’s home, Two Temple Place, from January-April 2018. The exhibition, focusing on the Age of Jazz, will be the seventh iteration of the successful Winter Exhibition Programme at Two Temple Place and will meet the three aims of this programme:

  • to showcase and raise awareness of museum and gallery collections around the UK
  • to promote curatorial excellence by offering an up-and-coming curator a chance for a high profile solo show under the guidance of the Programme Advisor, Martin Caiger-Smith (Head of MA Programme ‘Curating the Art Museum’, Courtauld Institute of Art)
  • to enable the public to enjoy the magnificent late Victorian house, Two Temple Place – free of charge

In addition the exhibition will mark simultaneously three events: centenary of the end of World War 1; centenary of the arrival of the first Jazz musicians from the US in the UK; the 50th anniversary of NADFAS – the national charity to promote the education of the arts. NADFAS would like to present this exhibition to celebrate the arts as a vehicle for inclusion, culture change and community action.

Thematically it is intended that the exhibition will focus on the Age of Jazz: After WW1 Britain opened up culturally to new influences from around the world: in need of a new, post-war cultural identity, the British public was exposed – practically overnight – to new forms of foreign, modernist artistic expression such as Art Deco and German film as well as influences from Asia and Africa. Jazz was one of these new, exotic and modernist art forms that arrived from the US a few months after WW1 ended, and with its pace, syncopation and vibrancy became one of the most distinctive cultural legacies of the period – a legacy that continues to evolve today. As WW2 started, Jazz and its off-shoot Swing, alongside so much of the country’s artistic output, began to play a different role in the nation’s life.

The Curator will be required to develop a concept to tell all, or part of, the story of how Jazz – and everything related to jazz – touched the lives of people across the nation between 1918-1939: helped by emerging technologies in broadcasting and recording, Jazz soon became a cultural phenomenon that – like so many art forms before and after – polarised the public. For some, the hot music played by black musicians heralded the end of western civilization, for others it introduced the lightness and vigour that many longed for.

The partners are looking to produce an exhibition that will appeal to a broad range of audiences, inspiring and informing both long—time devotees of Jazz and those new to the subject. In particular the collaborating partners are interested in the idea of the exhibition functioning as a case study of how the arts have the power to transform lives and change society.

The exhibition should tell this story through objects, drawing on material held in regional collections across the UK and London, including the National Jazz Archive, National Media Museum and some private collections. Paintings, drawings, posters, blueprints, ephemeral print, dress, craft and decorative design, sculpture, instruments, film, social history objects, music, books, archival material, photography and oral history material may all be included.

Two Temple Place itself is an extraordinary architectural gem. It was built as an office for William Waldorf Astor in the late 19th century and is a unique venue in central London. Exhibitions are intended to raise awareness of both the specific works on display and the partner institutions from around the country. The spaces have been fully adapted to accommodate exhibitions with top grade lighting and hanging systems, security and environmental controls, and conform fully to the terms of the Government Indemnity Scheme. For the curator, devising a show for the ornate and intricately decorated space is a huge challenge that calls for imagination and ingenuity. Successful exhibitions bring together works in ways that respond to and complement the building’s unique décor, often to stunning effect.

Education and Events programmes, designed by the collaborating partners, will run alongside the exhibition to complement and illuminate exhibition content, attract a broad range of visitors and extend the reach of the exhibition across the UK and Europe.

We are looking for a curator who can write a creative and ambitious brief, research appropriate collections across the UK and select objects for inclusion, prepare exhibition materials and plan the exhibition space at Two Temple Place. This will all be done alongside the experienced exhibition team at Two Temple Place and with the support of the Programme Advisor, Martin Caiger-Smith. Extensive curatorial experience is not required but the candidate must have knowledge of the subject matter and the desire to excite and inform new audiences through the exhibition narrative.

A curatorial fee for the project will be offered.

How to Apply:

Please send Florian Schweizer, Chief Executive, NADFAS. fschweizer@nadfas.org.uk :

  • a CV detailing relevant experience
  • a short supporting statement explaining interest in the opportunity
  • a top-line overview of the proposed exhibition narrative

The deadline for submissions is 16 December 2016.

For any questions please call Hannah Jordan, Programme Manager, The Bulldog Trust, 2 Temple Place, London WC2R 3BD on 020 7836 3715 or email hannah@bulldogtrust.org.

The Winter Exhibition Programme at Two Temple Place is supported using public funding by Arts Council England. For more details on the Winter Exhibition Programme at Two Temple Place see www.twotempleplace.org/exhibitions.  For more details on NADFAS see www.nadfas.org.uk.


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