Material Institute

Material Institute
//Fashion and Textiles Program Director

Hours: Full time, 40 hours / week, 12 month employee
Probation Period: 3 months
Accountable to: Teaching Team, MI Program Directors, Assemble Studio during the probation
Salary: Commensurate with experience; comprehensive benefits package included
Anticipated Start: Summer 2021

Role Description

Material Institute (MI) seeks a full time Program Director of the Fashion and Textiles program to lead and manage its ambitious educational curriculum, its diverse and international teachers and the administration of its resources. We are a growing organization and currently have a small, very hands-on staff and are looking to add another enthusiastic team member. MI is committed to ongoing work as an anti-racist, multicultural institution with a collaborative team structure. The Director will work collaboratively within the Program team, deploying specialist expertise to develop pedagogy in innovative and critical directions – ensuring the curriculum is at the forefront of creative and sustainable practice.

Education & Curriculum
Refine, expand, and implement fashion and textile based educational programs, workshops and events, in collaboration with staff, ensuring that the program aligns with Material Institute’s mission. Ensure the maintenance and enhancement of design standards. Ensure participation of a diverse range of artistic voices and an atmosphere conducive to creativity, connection, and learning. Collaborate with other departments to organize cross-disciplinary workshops.

Program & Implementation
Recruit, hire, and supervise all future staff positions. Partner with each staff member to create goals for their respective roles, a plan to meet goals, and performance measures. Facilitate, attend, and contribute to regular meetings with staff to guide the operations. Produce events to showcase participants’ work. Ensure documentation of the program through photography and video.

Resource Management
op annual operating budget collaboratively. Allocate resources to respective aspects of programming and manage finances. Work with Operations Coordinator to ensure payments to staff and vendors. Manage Google calendar of fashion programming and events. Track participant attendance and progress. Track program goals. Liaise with the wider community and nurture relationships and partnerships with relevant individuals and organizations. Deliver progress reports to MONA Advisory Board.

Community Outreach
Develop meaningful relationships with the local, historical communities of the 8th and 9th wards, focusing on immediate neighbors as a priority. Build relationships with the fashion, textile, arts and culture communities of greater New Orleans, encouraging the Institute as a place to meet and connect with creative practitioners.

Minimum Requirements

– Experience of teaching in Arts & Design, including the development of curriculum and conducting assessment in a further and/or higher education environment
– Undergraduate Arts degree, preferably in Fashion Design
– An inquiring, innovative and adaptable approach to teaching
– Equality, diversity and accessibility in all aspects of teaching and assessment
– Commitment to understanding the range of students’ experiences
– Ecologically minded approach to design
– Experience managing budgetsExperience managing a team
– Computer literacy with skills in Google Sheets, Docs, and Drive
– Skills in Illustrator and Photoshop are a plus
– Highly organized with an ability to manage and prioritize multiple responsibilities
– Exceptional communication skills (written, verbal, and interpersonal)

Anti-racist training by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond is required after hire unless previous workshop attendance is proven.

Teaching Skills

Ideally the candidate has the ability to teach fashion design, and other skills would be desirable:

– Textile processes such as weaving, digital knitting, printing
– Natural dyeingFashion & Arts business training
– Digital textile programming
– Computer Aided Design software
– Design history (with understanding of historic bias in the industry)

About Material Institute and the Fashion and Textiles Design program

Material Institute is a progressive arts center in New Orleans’ 9th Ward, which provides resources to early career artists. It is a growing and vibrant learning environment that serves as a space for community, creative experimentation, and expression, and was founded by MONA (Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania) – an ambitious and experimental arts powerhouse. The space consists of a music recording studio, productive garden and a fashion & textiles workshop.

The Fashion & Textiles program has been developed in collaboration with artists and designers Assemble (who continue an involvement in the development of the Institute); and the department’s primary educational focus is the design of garments and experimental manufacture of textiles; developing design skills through hands-on experimentation, learning craft techniques, adapting contemporary manufacture technology, with input from regional and international experts. The space is founded on the belief in the value of free high quality education for all.

To date the Fashion & Textiles department has worked with amazing New Orleans and US based practitioners such as Big Chief Demond Melancon, Norma Hedrick, Carola Jones, Tora Lopez, Kristine Pichon, Kai Bussant, Briana Henry; as well as internationally with Faustine Steinmetz, Kenneth Ize, Duval Timothy, Adjoa Armah amongst others.

Our current project is running February-April 2021 and is all about exploring the construction and meaning of the corset – from Baby Dolls to de-constructed top looks, the young artists (aged 14-30) are learning about design development, pattern cutting, natural dyeing and material experimentation.
The collaborative dynamic of our diverse team and advisory group is an important and hopefully enjoyable part of this opportunity.

How to Apply

Interested candidates, please submit a resume, two references and a cover letter which addresses the guiding questions below – all in PDF format to with Fashion & Textiles Program Director in the subject line. Position accepted on a rolling basis until Sunday April 11th 11:59pm CST.

Guiding Questions for the Cover Letter

– What is your experience in running an educational program; teaching and developing a curriculum?
– What is your experience in the fashion or textiles industries?
– What is your experience in managing staff and working with an interdisciplinary team?
– What is your experience working and / or living in New Orleans?
– What excites you about this particular opportunity; how does it fit into your career trajectory?

Shortlisting will be based on evidence you provide in your cover letter and resume to demonstrate clearly how you meet the qualification criteria.


– Health insurance
– Dental insurance
– Vision insurance
– Paid time off
– Professional Development Assistance

Material Institute is an Equal Opportunity employer. BIPOC, women, queer people, trans people, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Successful candidates must be committed to working with diverse student and community populations.

Download Position Description.