PhD student in the program '(Digital) Cultural Heritage Studies Utrecht University, Department of History and Art History

PhD student in the program '(Digital) Cultural Heritage Studies'(1.0 FTE)


Job description

The Department of History and Art History seeks to appoint a PhD student as part of the project "Critical Heritage Studies and the Future of Europe" (CHEurope), funded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks initiative. The prospective candidate will contribute to the theme ‘Digital Cultural Heritage’, to explore the consequences of digital applications and technologies in the field of cultural heritage studies.


The Project

Over the past decade the world of cultural heritage has witnessed fundamental digital transformations: enormous archives have been digitized and made available on-line, open-access repositories enable both trained professionals and heritage enthusiasts to construct historical collections, artifacts and sites can be cost-effectively documented in 3D in a matter of hours, governments have developed elaborate digital heritage databases, and digital humanities tools and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide the academic community with tools to process the ‘Big Data’ of the past. Many of these digital developments technologies have been widely embraced for their potential to better preserve, present, and democratize the past.


However, this new type of heritage needs critical discussion. The digital environment in which the past is presented and analyzed is not without bias. Inspired by the critical turn in the field of heritage studies, we perceive digital cultural heritage as a social practice that is produced and prescribed by sociocultural agendas and power structures. At the same time, many of these interactive mediums and platforms have been heralded as potential drivers of public participation and ‘shared authority’. We are still unclear as to the significance of digitization for the heritage sector.


Prospective candidates are invited to develop a research project in the broad field of digital heritage studies. Proposals may range from a critical analysis of the politics of digital heritage infrastructures to an exploration of the consequences of applying digital methodologies (e.g. text mining) to on-line historical repositories.




  • Eligible applicants must be in possession of a Master’s degree in History or a related field (e.g. Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Archaeology and Science and Technology Studies), and have experience with heritage studies.
  • Candidates must have an international outlook, be willing to work in an international, interdisciplinary team, and have excellent oral and writing skills in English.
  • Candidates must have an affinity with digital tools and both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
  • Applicants must be in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research career; they must not have been awarded a doctoral degree. Research experience is calculated from the date they obtained a qualification (Masters or equivalent) allowing them to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of their recruitment, candidates must not have legally resided or had their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the last 3 years (short stays such as holidays are not counted).
  • Researchers can be nationals of any country other than the Netherlands, where they will carry out their project.
  • During their research, the candidates must accept to be seconded in partner organisations as scheduled in their research description.



The recruited ESRs shall be appointed with an employment or scholarship/fellowship contract for 36 months and be offered the basic living allowance for the ESR Fellowships plus mobility and family allowance (if applicable) according to the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Horizon 2020 criteria.


The position can be offered for 1.0 FTE, start date from 1 June 2017 onwards. The appointment is for an initial period of 18 months which, after a satisfactory first period, will be extended by another 18 months (3 years in total), with a gross monthly salary on a fulltime basis starting at €2,191 in the first year, ending at €2,672 in the third year, consistent with the Collective Employment Agreement for Dutch Universities.


Utrecht University offers a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are set by the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities. More information: working at Utrecht University.


About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions, Life Sciences and Sustainability.


The Faculty of Humanities has approximately 900 employees and 7000 students. The faculty covers four areas of knowledge: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Cultural Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication.


Through education and research in these areas the faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe within an ever changing social and cultural context. Our enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent facilities in Utrecht’s historic centre, where the faculty has its home, make for an inspiring working climate.


Additional information

Please find on the NWO website: a brief project summary Critical Heritage Studies.


Enquiries can be made to dr. Jaap Verheul, or dr. Gertjan Plets, An extended research description is available upon request.



Applications should include (1) a one-page letter of motivation, (2) a two-page research note, describing your research project, (3) a curriculum vitae, (4) the names and contact details of two scholars who can be contacted for a reference; (5) at least one writing sample (e.g. a research paper) next to your master’s thesis.
Candidates who make the shortlist will be invited for an interview. These may be conducted in person in Utrecht or via Skype. Interviews are scheduled to take place on 15 - 17 May 2017.


The application deadline is 28 April 2017, 23:59 PM CET.


The application deadline is

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