Application Deadline: Until Filled

PEN America — a 4,400-plus-strong literary membership organization focused on advancing freedom of expression worldwide — seeks a creative, visionary, and highly organized Project Director for a critical role in launching a new support system for artists at risk worldwide. This innovative initiative, conceived in consultation with a global network of partners and implemented with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is aimed at strengthening and expanding the web of services available to assist members of the creative community who face threats in retaliation for the exercise of cultural expression. The Project Director should be an energetic, decisive, and seasoned professional eager to lead a groundbreaking new effort at a growing non-profit, with the background and capacity to work across organizational and geographic boundaries to conceptualize, develop, and manage the project from start up to achievement of all deliverables. The Project Director will supervise at least one full-time staff member plus interns, consultants, and potentially other staff as the program is established. The successful candidate will be responsible for success in all aspects of the project, including establishing and convening an advisory group, developing a resource and knowledge base and making it accessible online, and building a strong, well-informed, and connected international network. The position will also be responsible for representing the project effectively in the arts and human rights communities and with media, donors, and other external audiences. Work is carried out independently under general supervision. The position is based at PEN America’s SoHo office in New York City.

Key responsibilities include:

·         Provide hands-on leadership to implement all dimensions of the project, including network development, information collection and sharing, outreach, advocacy, and support to partner organizations and individuals.

·         Identify international organizations, professional associations, and other possible partnerships useful to the development and purposes of the project.

·         Recruit, actively engage with, and monitor the needs of constituent organizations.

·         Oversee the effective design, operation, and ongoing improvement of program information systems, including databases, the website, and case-management/file systems.

·         Serve as public face and authoritative representative of the project and the issues it addresses, including at conferences and meetings centered on artists at risk.

·         Engage with organizations and experts to keep a finger on the pulse of the field.

·         Develop and implement fundraising strategy and engage donors to build long term sustainability.

·         Organize and lead virtual and in-person convenings with core consultative committee and constituent organizations.

·         Facilitate communication between constituent organizations, directing requests to the relevant counterparts.

·         Develop streamlined processes to handle inquiries and referrals of individual artists

Prepare programmatic, financial, and other reports and various materials for PEN America leadership, donors, the media, and others.

·         Manage Project Manager/Coordinator, interns and consultants, and core consultative committee.


Requirements include:


·         Exceptional academic credentials; B.A. degree required and M.A. or other graduate degree preferred.

·         A minimum of 5-10 years of relevant experience in human rights, free expression, artist protection, and/or individuals at risk, including demonstrated management and leadership experience.

·         Commitment to human rights, free expression, and the value of creativity and the arts.

·         Demonstrated ability to work with a high level of initiative, independence, and decisiveness.

·         Creativity in finding inventive ways to accelerate a defined mission.

·         Ability to multi-task, moving swiftly and efficiently across a diverse array of responsibilities and substantive issues over the course of a single day, managing multiple processes at once, and achieving deliverables over a defined period.

·         Experience with successful implementation of new initiatives and developing related policies, procedures, advisory groups, and program operations materials.

·         Experience in managing projects that assist individuals under threat, including emergency response experience, preferred.

·         Demonstrated understanding of how to safely and effectively reach and help individuals at risk and to operate in contexts involving risk and requiring judgment.

·         Ability to effectively communicate the mission and goals of the program to external parties and elicit their support; excellent diplomatic, representation, and public speaking skills

·         Superb written and oral communication skills in English, with additional language capabilities desirable.

·         Strong interpersonal skills and experience working with diverse stakeholders.

·         Right to work or ability to obtain work authorization in the United States.


Other: This position is within PEN America’s Free Expression Programs team, and offers exceptional opportunity for professional growth. Diverse candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

Salary and Benefits: PEN offers competitive compensation and benefits, commensurate with experience.   

To Apply: Please submit a cover letter, resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application to [email protected]. Please use “Artists-At-Risk Project Director” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Artists-At-Risk Project Director – Jane Doe”). 

Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

No phone calls, please.