Vacancy: Programmes Manager

Programmes Manager: Job Description and Person Specification

Closing date for applications: 31 March 2021


The Bag Factory is a non-profit contemporary visual art organisation in Newtown, Johannesburg. With a pioneering 30-year history of providing a supportive infrastructure for artists, the Bag Factory is unique in combining art making with cultural debate and art exhibitions, thereby creating a fertile international environment for experimentation, innovation, and cultural dialogue between creatives in South Africa and the rest of the world. We are affiliated with the international Triangle Network.

We provide studio space to a cross-generational community of Johannesburg based artists and we host an internationally renowned artist and curatorial residency programme. We support the development of emerging artists through various programmes including the Cassirer Welz Award, David Koloane Award, Young Womxn Studio Bursary, and professional skills workshops. We present regular exhibitions in our gallery, showcasing great art by emerging artists to the wider public. All our programmes are accompanied by a public programme that encourages greater understanding of contemporary visual art and stimulates interaction between artists and the local community. The ultimate overall aim continues to be that the process leads to the creation of new, high quality and innovative programmes that engage and grow audiences.

In 2020, the Bag Factory secured its future by purchasing the building it has called home for three decades. The organisation is now embarking on a capital campaign to ensure the sustainability of the organisation by improving its building and programme facilities. This is a unique opportunity to join the Bag Factory team during a time of transition and to be a key player in shaping the future of the Bag Factory’s physical space and creative programmes.

For more information visit our website:


Purpose of the job

Working closely with Bag Factory artists, staff and the community, the Programmes Manager is responsible for overseeing the delivery of creative programming at the Bag Factory while also supporting the Director in realising the organisation’s renewed vision for a sustainable future.

The post holder will need to have a flexible approach to work and strong organisational skills with a track record of working closely with visual artists to deliver innovative and inspirational programmes which engage diverse audiences. You will have proven relevant arts project management and administrative experience, preferably gained within a visual arts organisation of equivalent complexity to the Bag Factory. Curatorial experience and knowledge are required to support the delivery of the Bag Factory’s creative programming.

Reports to the Director

Responsible for: Freelance Project Assistants / Interns

Programme Development

  • The programme of exhibitions, projects and artists is in place for this year, but we need someone with attention to detail and the ambition to bring it to life
  • You will work with the Director to develop and create exciting, inspiring visual art programmes for next year and beyond
  • Work with the Director to identify and apply for programme funding that will support the Bag Factory’s programming aims and objectives
  • Support the Director with researching potential funding sources, developing fundraising strategies and delivering fundraising events for the sustainability of the Bag Factory

Programmes Management

  • Deliver all activities on time, within agreed budgets, and to a high standard
  • Accurately manage and report on associated programme funding
  • Undertake duties with an awareness of the need to promote cost effective and efficient management
  • Prepare written reports on the implementation of programmes and their successful execution
  • Monitor the application process, selection and participation of artists in the Bag Factory’s various programmes; communicate with applicants and keep a record of applications
  • Provide administrative support to international visiting artists, assisting with travel arrangements, visa applications, developing itineraries and facilitating their residencies while at the Bag Factory
  • Coordinate operations and technical production of exhibitions taking place in the Bag Factory gallery space and off-site
  • Serve as “Acting Director” when necessary


  • Oversee day-to-day operations of the Bag Factory, including communication with artists, contractors, and visitors
  • Ensure all front of house areas are presentable and welcoming
  • Liaise with gallery visitors and guests
  • Actively seek to implement the Bag Factory’s Equal opportunities policies, financial procedures and health and safety policies
  • Contribute to and participate in a collaborative working environment, including weekly team discussions and other conversations

This Job Description is a guide to the nature of the work required. It is not wholly comprehensive or restrictive.

Programmes Manager Person Specification


  • BA Hons/MA degree in a contemporary art-related field (Art History, Visual Studies, Curatorial Studies, Museum Studies, Fine Art etc)
  • Minimum 3 years’ experience working for arts and cultural organisations, preferably visual arts, and be capable of working alongside artists and curators
  • Excellent project planning skills and effective, efficient time management and organisational skills
  • Demonstrable curatorial experience as well as research, writing, editing, and publishing skills
  • Experience in exhibition conceptualisation and implementation
  • Demonstrable experience with fundraising and proposal writing
  • Demonstrable experience managing and reporting on project budgets
  • Proficiency and experience in appropriate computer packages, i.e. MS Packages, Excel, and Design programmes


  • Experience of managing staff
  • Exceptional knowledge of the local and national contemporary visual art landscape
  • Interest in contemporary art practice, and curatorial practices, with a strong interest in international artists and debates, particularly outside Western parameters

Terms and conditions

  • 12-month fixed term contract, starting 1 May 2021
  • Hours of work: 9.00am – 5pm
  • 3 days a week
  • Remuneration: R 13,500 per month (cost to company)
  • The role will require full time commitment (5 days a week, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm for 4 months from 1 August to 30 November 2021, with an adjusted salary to reflect this)
  • The period of notice is two months in writing
  • Probation period: 6 months

How to Apply

Only applications submitted using the online form will be accepted.

You will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • Single PDF file no bigger than 1MB: One-page motivation letter & CV, including references (max. 2-3 pages)
  • Copy of your ID or valid South African work permit

Incomplete applications or applications submitted via email will not be considered.

Closing date for applications: 31 March 2021

Regrettably due to the high number of applications we receive, we will only be able to respond to those shortlisted for interview. If you have not heard from us within two weeks of the closing date please assume that your application has been unsuccessful.

We reserve the right not to fill this position.