Friday, May 18, 2012

But I didn’t shoot the deputy

The CEO of the Super City’s Regional Facilities Auckland (aka RFA) has announced the new structure for the Auckland Art Gallery (you can read the full version here). This time it looks like they're in for the long game after some push-back on the initial proposal that was leaked to the NZ Herald

The current Auckland Art Gallery director Chris Saines will head up the new structure as director but a new post of Deputy Director is the one to watch. Although reporting to Saines, this role is the administrative lynchpin controlling pretty much the entire operations of the Gallery. If someone without significant art institutional experience - i.e. someone from a marketing, management, events background or from the RFA itself - is appointed to the role, it’s pretty much good night nurse. 

The curators sit out on their own reporting through the new Principal Curator to the Director. Out there too is one of those classic SPNS (Single Person No Staff) jobs Special Exhibitions that has probably been set up for Louise Pether. 

Reporting direct to the head honcho is usually the way to go in organisations but in this case everyone else (design, marketing, exhibition display, education, conservation) reports to the powerful new deputy director. In fact less than ten people report through to the director and nearly 50 to the deputy director along with another 60 guards and guides. And while the deputy director also reports up to the director, this role has been allocated ‘defined delegated responsibility’ which in management speak usually means – don’t mess with me. 

Musical chairs-wise, it looks as though the current four senior managers (operations, services, programmes and development) will be redeployed to three roles (services, learning and special exhibitions) so wait for the music to stop on that one. 

The Auckland Art Gallery is now seen as an integral part of Regional Facilities Auckland and there are strong signals in the briefing about cross-organisational functions. The RFA’s Centre for Performing Arts, Auckland Conventions and marketing, all now have a major foot in the gallery door and will be called on to organise events, marketing and public performing arts programmes (“protocols have been drafted” – oh, oh).

Three new jobs are to be filled via advertising rather than transferring current managers. Deputy Director, Head of Collection Services and Principal Curator. The backgrounds of the first two will tell the tale. Is it to be art or entertainment? OTY Auckland. 

Image: an octopus