Research Associate: Job Description

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ("Foundation") believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and we believe that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom to be found there.  Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. It makes grants in four core program areas (Higher Learning, Arts and Culture, Public Knowledge, and Humanities in Place).  The Foundation seeks a Research Associate in the Arts and Culture program.


The holder of this position will report to the Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning for Arts and Culture (AC) at the Mellon Foundation, the Research Associate will partner with the AC team, Institutional Research, and the Library.

Position Details

Responsibilities may include, but will not be limited to the following:

  • Stay abreast of major trends coming out of broad research in the arts and cultural sector by reading reports from, building relationships with, and attending convenings of major arts data hubs such as
    • Americans for the Arts
    • Center for Cultural Affairs, Indiana University
    • Center for Cultural Innovation
    • Curb Center for Art, Policy, and Public Enterprise, Vanderbilt University
    • National Endowment for the Arts
    • SMU Data Arts
  • Report upon baseline data available as well as baseline data needed relative to the 2021 and 2026 outcomes and progress indicators detailed in the Arts and Culture strategy implementation plan
  • Create a plan for and then integrate ongoing assessment of Arts and Culture grantmaking relative to the 2021 and 2026 outcomes and progress indicators through the Foundation-wide taxonomy project and/or other ongoing internal data collection efforts
  • Support the Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning, AC Program Director, and AC Program Officers in the ongoing development of a long-term AC research agenda grounded in the AC strategy implementation plan
  • In partnership with the Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning, guide the development and execution of long-term research projects, including but not limited to formalizing core research questions and deliverables, identifying key research partners and/or external consultants, planning research convenings, and serving as the Mellon-point-of-contact for external partners
  • Draft, in partnership with the Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning as well as the Program Director and Program Officers, white papers launching and/or resulting from the long-term research questions and projects
  • Execute on short-term, fast-turnaround data requests from Arts and Culture leadership, engaging Institutional Research and the Library as appropriate
  • Work across the AC team to ensure data collection consistency in proposals and reports, serving as the AC Fluxx data and reporting expert
  • During the maternity leave for the Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning, serve as the AC point of contact for Mellon's taxonomy project


The ideal candidate would hold a bachelor's degree, preferably in the arts and humanities, and/or would be a student currently working toward an MA or equivalent; minimum of 3–5 years of work experience in a fast-paced, high-volume environment in the arts and culture sector, preferably including experience in quantitative and/or qualitative research, evaluation, and/or data analysis.

  • Demonstrated passion for Mellon's mission and core strategies
  • Ability to work with minimal direct supervision and manage multiple projects, while being a committed team player
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Self-starter and pro-active anticipation of team needs
  • Computer literacy and proficiency, particularly with Microsoft Office applications including data analysis and visualizations; familiarity with Fluxx a plus
  • Curiosity, integrity, intelligence, discretion, and flexibility
  • Commitment to a collegial work environment and to collaboration with colleagues at the Foundation

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer that offers a competitive salary, outstanding benefits, and excellent working conditions.

Contact Information

Candidates should apply by submitting a thoughtful cover letter describing fit for the position together with a resume to:  Research Associate.  We will consider each response carefully but contact only those individuals we feel are most qualified for the position.