Research Manager

Full-time | Chicago

Posted: 06.19.2018

We’re seeking an inspired, inspiring cultural professional to become a senior project director/staff lead in our Chicago office. You must have significant experience in some corner of the cultural sector as well as a passion for connecting institutions and communities through social research. You may or may not currently identify as a research professional, but you must be able to help guide our team of social scientists and consultants in conducting rigorous, strategic, and often exploratory studies for some of the most innovative and renowned cultural institutions, funders, and agencies in the US. You’re not just passionate about culture, creativity, community, and civic engagement; you’re also excited about mentoring the next generation of researchers and consultants and in creating new knowledge for and with colleagues around the field. You believe that public engagement in culture—from symphonies to science centers, art museums to public media—is an active, evolving collaboration, and you understand how audience research and evaluation can empower people and communities to express their need and ideals and co-create a more relevant future. This is your opportunity to have a national influence on both discourse and practice in the nonprofit cultural system.

Your primary responsibilities will be:

Directing a wide variety of research and evaluation projects, including some of our most significant and visible engagements. You’ll be a guiding voice from initial conversations to final reporting, presentation, and in some cases publication. Our process is highly collaborative both internally and with the client or funder; you will work closely with our staff of PhD and masters-level social scientists to design, implement, interpret, and communicate each study to the client and the field.

Managing and mentoring our talented research staff, in some cases as a direct supervisor and in other cases as a mentor in partnership with our longtime chief operating officer. You will have 6 or more team members reporting to you, all based in our Chicago office, and you’ll be responsible for guiding their project work and broader professional development.

Helping guide and direct our Chicago-based operation in collaboration with the chief operating officer and the rest of the leadership team. You will help build our knowledge-base and strategic context across projects, and you’ll help foster our capacity for experimentation, exploration, and interpretation.

Working to develop new engagements and relationships with past, current, and new clients (including substantial proposal writing) as well as with collaborators and stakeholders around the field.

Making your voice—and the firm’s collective voice—heard in the national conversation about the future of public engagement with culture. You’ll attend and speak at conferences, publish reports and blog posts, participate in social media conversations, and both shape and amplify Slover Linett’s position in the relevant discourses.


The ideal candidate will have experience and/or high-level training in the following areas:

Cultural sector (museums, arts management, informal science learning, public media, cultural philanthropy, cultural policy, etc.)

Research & evaluation (social science methods, audience research, market research, program evaluation, user-experience research)

Staff management, mentorship, and talent development

Consulting (working with clients on complex, strategic projects (senior-level collaboration and communication, project management, analysis and report-writing, budgeting and timeline management, facilitation of visioning or brainstorming processes, etc.)

At least 10 years of work experience and a graduate degree are strongly preferred. The successful applicant will:

  • take an entrepreneurial approach and relish new challenges;
  • enjoy managing multiple levels of staff and helping them reach their potential professionally;
  • be able to cultivate lasting relationships with clients and provide outstanding client service and thought-partnership;
  • have excellent writing and editing skills, particularly in creating client-responsive, highly useful and readable reports;
  • have experience working with diverse and underserved communities;
  • have experience managing multiple priorities and negotiating conflicting priorities;
  • be flexible and comfortable with change;
  • enjoy working with others in a collaborative, collegial team environment;
  • be a positive and supportive colleague.

This is a full-time position located in Chicago. There will be regular travel for client meetings and presentations, research fieldwork, conferences, etc. (approximately two trips per month on average, but with significant variation). Salary will be commensurate with experience. In addition, we offer a competitive benefits package of vacation, holidays, sick days, health insurance, disability insurance, and profit-sharing.

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