Archivist - The Reversible Destiny Foundation

Posted on March 26, 2019


The Reversible Destiny Foundation (RDF) was founded in 2010 by Arakawa (born 1936 Nagoya, Japan; died 2010 New York) and Madeline Gins (born 1941 New York; died 2014 New York) to promote their work and philosophy in the areas of art, architecture and writing. RDF is dedicated to supporting research and greater public interest in the ideas and artistic practice of Arakawa and Madeline Gins through a range of initiatives to further advance and preserve their legacy.

The RDF archive is in the early stages of organization. It reflects the multiple areas in which Arakawa and Gins worked, including art, architecture, film, philosophy and poetry. The diversity of contents and formats of the archive materials demonstrates the complex dynamic of two individuals working both as independently recognized entities as well as occasional collaborators who latterly merged to become a single entity working in the area of architecture. The archive encompasses both physical and digital materials in both historic and current formats. Arakawa and Gins’s practice also involved research into, and engagement with, specialists and experts from other areas including medicine, philosophy, and physics.

The Project Archivist will work in close consultation and collaboration with the RDF staff and advisors in determining and realizing the direction and physical organization of the archive. The Project Archivist is responsible for identifying the project scope; developing and implementing personnel and facility needs; budgeting and financial management; and supporting the needs of current and new researchers. In addition, the Project Archivist will create an overall archive plan; set goals and timelines; evaluate outcomes; provide quality control for archival description; create policies, procedures and workflows; and implement strategies to support these activities. The successful candidate is an experienced professional who can organize and manage a significant volume of complex and interrelated materials. Proven expertise and experience in artists’ archives is a must. Experience in the recruitment and management of staff and knowledge of new developments in digital platforms is desirable.


Responsibilities include:

• Appraise, arrange, and describe approximately 340 cubic feet of materials at the folder and item level according to best practices.

• Select and apply metadata schemas, standards, and data elements to provide description and access to collections. Enter records into the collections database and produce finding aids.

• Craft archives program policies and develop procedures and workflows, including appraisal and records retention strategies. Determine appropriate preservation treatment and long-term archival storage.

• Establish, organize, and maintain a collection management system. Test workflows and advise on best practices for the new collection management system.

• Create and maintain management standards and establish localized best practices for reformatting and preserving AV and other born-digital materials.

• Manage a selective digitization project. Identify candidates for digitization and facilitate digitization of selected materials by coordinating, tracking, determining specifications, and completing digitization of archival material in-house or with a vendor.

• Advise on project status, recommend solutions to any issues that arise, and provide information regarding the project and collections. Independently analyze problems and recommend solutions, displaying a high degree of initiative. Involve staff in various processes to share information and provide input on policies and practices; solicit ideas and opinions to help shape specific decisions or plans.

• Assist visiting scholars and researchers with identifying and accessing archival material.


Requirements and Attributes:

• Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, MA with an archival concentration, archival management certificate, or equivalent.

• Four to five years of demonstrated experience in arranging, describing, and processing archival collections, including some born-digital, and preparing finding aids of varying size and complexity.

• Strong project management skills. Detail oriented with ability to organize and prioritize tasks and ability to use considerable judgment and initiative. Experience defining and executing work plans and timelines and creating related budgets.

• Significant experience with collection management systems.

• Experience in applying current archival descriptive practices and principles including DACS, EAD, Dublin Core, and MODS. Experience with XML schemas, the use of XML editors, and manipulation of metadata across systems and platforms.

• Experience with archival materials in digital formats and digitizing archival materials.

• Experience supervising staff or students.

• Outstanding team orientation, flexibility, and ability to work both independently and collaboratively.

• Outstanding verbal and written communication skills, organizational skills, and interpersonal skills.

Physical Requirements:

• Ability to lift and carry archival boxes (approx. 40 lbs) and push heavy trucks on a frequent basis

• Requires standing, bending, climbing stools or ladders, and prolonged sitting


This is a full-time position (40 hours/week). Annual salary is US$80,000. Plus Benefits.


New York, NY


For further information about Arakawa, Madeline Gins, and the Reversible Destiny Foundation, please visit our website:

To Apply

Send a cover letter, resume, and contact information to [email protected] with Project Archivist and applicant’s name written in the subject field. Interviews will take place during the period of April – May, 2019.