JOB: Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Art Business (Sotheby’s Institute of Art)

Sotheby's Institute of Art - TIAMSA The International Art Market Studies Association

Contract: Permanent role. Full−time position, part−time will be considered

Salary: Commensurate with experience and qualifications

Reports to: Programme Director, MA in Art Business

About us

Sotheby’s auction house was founded in 1744 when Samuel Baker, an entrepreneur, occasional publisher, and successful businessman held his first auction. Today at Sotheby’s Institute, we are experts in exploring the complex and ever−fascinating relationship between the cultural and financial value of art, with a spirit of inquiry and scholarship as well as business acumen and innovation.

Established in 1969, Sotheby’s Institute of Art is now among the world’s leading specialist higher education institutions, offering programmes for professionals, pre−college audiences and postgraduate students seeking careers in art business and an understanding of the global art economy. Our offerings cover everything from art history to key business skills from our campuses located in the world’s art capitals of London and New York, as well as online.

Courses at Sotheby’s Institute are structured with the guiding principle that education is gained in the classroom, but equally important is hands−on experience and situational context. Institute faculty are experts and leaders in their fields, bringing a wealth of practical knowledge from their professional experiences as well as a solid academic grounding to all students.

In London the Institute is situated in Bedford Square, the best−preserved Georgian square in London with a private central garden. The London Institute is part of the ‘larger academy’ of Bedford Square, with the University of London and the British Museum in the neighbouring square. Sotheby’s auction house, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Royal Academy of Arts are a few minutes’ walk away. The Institute is also close to Mayfair, the traditional centre of the London art market, where many dealers and galleries are located.

The role

The MA in Art Business (MAAB) is the oldest programme of its kind and has been running for over 25 years. It is validated by the University of Manchester, a Russell Group university. As

a result of long experience, it is now world−renowned for the study of art business and the international art market. At the same time it remains a highly vocational course, with a focus on understanding business networks and professional practices, and encountering the art world in situ and in person. Students from MAAB progress to employment in a broad variety of jobs in art businesses, both public and private sector. Many of our alumni now hold senior leadership positions in auctions houses, galleries, art fairs and many other art world entities. We are fortunate to have a powerful and active alumni network.

The postholder will be a key member of the team which leads the teaching and development of the MA in Art Business. The Institute views the Lectureship as an integral position in the development of an emerging academic discipline in which Sotheby’s Institute of Art London has been at the forefront. The successful applicant may have, or be in the course of acquiring, a PhD in an area related to one of more units of the programme.

Alternatively, they may be educated to Master’s level and have extensive relevant teaching and professional experience. They will facilitate the future development of at least one of the core MAAB units and elective units through a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary practices, research and pedagogy in the field. Core programme units include: Art Futures; Professional Practice; International Art World: Markets, Ethics and Laws; and Art Business, Management and Finance. MAAB−based elective units include: Cross−Collecting; Art and Patronage Today; Ethics, Laws and the Art Trade; Art World Logistics and Operations; Digital Technology; Sustainable Art Business.

The successful candidate will be expected to demonstrate academic flexibility and teamwork, as well as a strong commitment to the learning experience and pastoral care of students. This role reports directly to the Programme Director.

The role is full−time; however, consideration will be given to part−time working.

Key responsibilities

  • To contribute to at least one of the 30−credit programme units, and assist on others
  • To lead at least one of the 15−credit electives. These unit−based duties include lecturing, leading seminars, including those on gallery visits and field trips, and the assessment of assignments
  • To act as a seminar leader on Art Futures and to contribute to this core course
  • To attend and assist in the tutoring of all study trips, including extended visits to European locations
  • To review and update on an annual basis, in consultation with the Programme Director, the syllabus of the respective units
  • To assist in the selection and deployment of high quality and appropriate guest lecturers, in consultation with the Unit Leader and/or Programme Director; to contribute to the unit rationale and content
  • To supervise and assess student Masters dissertations
  • To act as a Personal Tutor (in both academic and pastoral roles) for a number of students, and assist and encourage their academic and personal development throughout the academic year; to offer support to other MAAB students
  • To accompany and play an active role, together with other academic and administrative staff, on national and international study trips with the students
  • To participate in the clear and efficient running of the MAAB programme, as part of the academic faculty and in tandem with the programme coordinators
  • To conduct interviews with prospective students, and to assess their suitability for the programme, in consultation with the Programme Director
  • To maintain a broad knowledge of developments and research in Art Business to ensure that teaching is up−to−date and of a consistently high standard
  • To contribute to the research culture of the Institute, both in teaching methodology and subject specialization, through participation in, but not limited to, staff seminars, committees, focus groups
  • To attend Institute committees as requested
  • To be involved in the University of Manchester validation processes, and work with the External Examiner in terms of maintaining the quality of the programme
  • To maintain amicable and creative links with Sotheby’s Auction House and other main players in the art world

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, Experience and Qualifications

Essential criteria

  • The successful applicant may have, or be in the course of acquiring, a PhD in an area related to one of more units of the programme. Alternatively, they may be educated to Master’s level and have extensive relevant teaching and professional experience.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills
  • Higher education teaching experience and a student−centered approach
  • An ability to work within a small committed academic and administrative team
  • A good general knowledge of art history and an understanding of the art world and its major players, together with the political and social contexts of art business; an insight into the curatorial contexts and modes of material exchange involved in art business

Desirable criteria

  • An understanding of basic mathematical principles, spreadsheet formulae, and data analysis
  • Experience of teaching postgraduate and international students
  • Completion of a training course on teaching and learning in higher education
  • Art world working experience, and/or an understanding of the terminology and methodologies of art history/criticism
  • Digital literacy and experience of teaching online

Application process

Please submit your CV and a covering letter demonstrating how you meet the person specification for this position to: The closing date for applications is 18 May 2024.

Applicants who are interested in discussing the role informally before submitting an application may contact the Programme Director, Dr. David Bellingham on, or the Deputy Programme Director, Dr Melanie Fasche, on

Sotheby’s Institute of Art is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and we welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds as we have under−representation that we are working to address.

Benefits of working for Sotheby’s Institute include:

  • 25 days annual leave plus up to 5 days additional discretionary leave during the Christmas period
  • Option to purchase an additional 5 days annual leave on a salary sacrifice basis
  • Life insurance
  • 24/7 access to an Employee Assistance Programme
  • Discount for gym membership
  • Volunteering days