You are invited to apply for a postdoctoral position in the project “Perverse Collections: Building Europe’s Queer and Trans Archives (PERCOL).”
PERCOL asks: how can a critical and nuanced understanding of the evolution of Europe’s LGBTQ+ archives be used by scholars, queer and trans community members, and GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) sector workers to forge sustainable strategies for protecting LGBTQ+ history, and in what ways might this have transformative potential for cultural heritage politics and policy more broadly? To this end, the project will map the growth of Europe’s queer and trans archives, from the 1970s to the present; it will comparatively explore the workings of these collections, including their relations to forms of state support, the understandings of LGBTQ+ history they promote locally, nationally, and internationally, and the alternative models of archiving some embody. PERCOL will identify the implications of queer and trans collections for other subaltern archives, as well as the wider cultural heritage sector, in terms of the challenges they present to dominant historical and political narratives, the complex polyphonic community politics they can reveal, and their creative handling of ephemeral experiences. Working with an array of European cultural heritage institutions, as well as a broad cross-section of invested stakeholders, the project team will draw from the history of Europe’s queer and trans archives to model innovative strategies for preserving and sustaining LGBTQ+ cultural heritage. The project is situated in a live political context: as homophobic and transphobic acts of violence and discrimination rise across Europe, fomented in some countries by the prejudicial rhetoric of right-wing political groups, the project will argue for the social, cultural, and political value of archiving LGBTQ+ lives and experiences, and for the wider ethical significance of supporting and maintaining a transnational ecology of subaltern collections.
This research project is funded by the Dutch Research Council on behalf of the Governing Board for the European Joint Programming Initiative Cultural Heritage (JPICH) round “Heritage, Society and Ethics.” The principal investigator is Associate Professor Eliza Steinbock, working together with Project Leader Professor Glyn Davis (University of St Andrews, Scotland) and Principle Investigator 2 Professor Juan Suárez (University of Murcia, Spain). You will become part of the Centre for Gender and Diversity, a research platform at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/research/centre-gender-and-diversity).
This is an exciting opportunity to join an international research team with the objective to map as comprehensively as possible, the growth and spread of LGBTQ+ archives and collections across Europe since the birth of the modern gay rights movement in the 1970s. The five main interdisciplinary themes threaded throughout the activities and outputs that are pivotal to cultural heritage sustainability are: Institutionalization, Intersectionality, Trans-, Ephemerality, and Erasure. We are working closely with 17 Associate Partners representing cultural organizations and institutions across Europe, and many more participants who will join workshops, conferences, and the project’s webinar series. For more information, see https://www.nwo.nl/en/news/2-dutch-projects-awarded-international-programme-cultural-heritage (a project website is in-development)
In particular we are looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher in “Artistic Participation in Queer and Trans (Counter)Archives” to conduct research for the Dutch team’s project into the historical roots of the relationship between artists and cultural workers, and archives and collections. By investigating the variety of forms of artistic participation in archives and counterarchives, you will delve into the project’s sub-questions: (1) What creative tactics have queer and trans archives used, historically, to foster LGBTQ+ community engagement with their collections? Are these tactics transferable or replicable?; (2) What facets of queer and trans lives pose challenges – even insurmountable roadblocks – for archival and exhibition practices? How might those practices be recalibrated to enable a fuller historical record to be assembled for posterity?; and (3) What opportunities do digital technologies present for the preservation, exhibition, and proliferation of queer and trans archives? Is the digital realm inherently more democratic, and thus well-suited to disseminating depictions and stories of subaltern lives and experiences transnationally?
You will work independently and in collaboration with the larger PERCOL team and the principal investigator (PI) of the Dutch team’s sub-project, Associate Professor Eliza Steinbock. Through varied outputs (including a workshop, an exhibition, a conference, and journal articles), the Dutch team will unpack the ‘added value’ that artists might bring to diverse forms of archives and collections. We will explore the role that artists can play in creating, preserving, activating and generating wider awareness of queer, trans, and other subaltern lives and experience. In collaboration with artists, we will identify an array of creative approaches for opening up the content of archival collections, and formulate a series of ethical guidelines for cultural heritage institutions wanting to work with creative practitioners. You will have the opportunity to expand on the details of your own research based on your expertise, the material you gather and your own ideas, in consultation with the PI. You will have funding to attend 2-4 conferences per year and support to develop your professional profile.
You will also work synergistically and collectively with the rest of the team, not least by attending all of the ‘landmark’ events organized by the PERCOL team. For the Dutch team you will play a crucial role in developing (1) the European workshop on film, video and sound preservation hosted by Eye Film Museum and The Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision, (2) the international conference on artists, evidence, and collections held at Maastricht University, (3) an exhibition of research findings at IHLIA LGBT+ Heritage accompanied by a seminar on 3-D scanning of objects, (4) the programming of the project’s webinar series. You will work closely with other Dutch Associate partners Black Queer Archive (Amsterdam) and Het Nieuwe Instituut (Rotterdam).
You will be based in Maastricht and will spend several months undertaking fieldwork, interviews, and archival visits across Europe, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia in countries including Ireland, Finland, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Austria, and Sweden.
You have a completed PhD in cultural studies, social and political history, gender/sexuality/queer studies, or archive and museum studies (or another relevant topic/field, such as transgender studies, heritage and memory studies, performance studies, visual culture, media studies, art history, social movements).
Having methodological experience in interviewing and archival research is a strong preference.
You must be willing to travel, be open to working together with a team of interdisciplinary scholars on a collaborative project, and have excellent organizational abilities. Ideally, you have previous experience in organizing large-scale scholarly events (that are accessible) and of authoring and co-authoring high-quality academic outputs.
You are fluent in English (Cambridge English Proficiency, level C2, oral and written), since you will be engaging on an international level, collaborating with other team members in English and producing English-language publications. Knowledge of any European or Scandinavian language is an advantage.
Fixed-term contract: 0,7 fte, 2 years / 24 months.
You will be part of an international network of top universities and renowned scholars within the field. Initially, you are employed on a 1-year contract as Postdoctoral researcher (researcher level 3) and agree to specific development goals. The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended for the remaining 12 months. Your 0,7 fte position of Post-doctoral Researcher (Researcher level 3) will consist of 100% research.
Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels, depending on education and relevant work experience. This implies a gross monthly salary of about € 3.974,00- € 5.439,00 per month, scale level 11 (based on a full-time appointment). Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.
The university’s relocation policy stipulates that you need to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht. If not already living in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings), you will be eligible for an allowance for moving costs or an allowance for alternative housing.
Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme and partially paid parental leave as well as a shared office space and a PC.
The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website www.maastrichtuniversity.nl > About UM > Working at UM.
Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 22,000 students and about 5,000 employees. Reflecting the university’s strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (www.maastrichtuniversity.nl).
Faculty of Arts and Social Science
In the teaching and research at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS), we highlight major developments in societies and cultures as they have unfolded during the modern and contemporary eras. We seek to gain understanding of the interrelationships of Europeanization, globalization, scientific and technological development, political change, and cultural innovation. We are interested in how today’s societies cope with these challenges through, amongst others, practices of remembrance, governance techniques, strategies for managing knowledge, technologies, and risks and ways of dealing with diversity and inequality. Yet, understanding our present world is impossible without insight into its past. This is why historical research serves as a key element of our scholarly and educational identity.
FASoS has a very international student body and 42% of our staff comes from abroad. All programs are offered in English. FASoS offers four 3-year BA programs: Arts and Culture, European Studies, Digital Society, and Global Studies. It also offers eight different 1-year MA programs and two 2-year Research Master programs. Research is organized around four programs: Arts, Media, and Culture; Globalization, Transnationalism, and Development; Politics and Culture in Europe; and Science, Technology, and Society Studies. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is housed in the historic city center of Maastricht.
FASoS is organized like a matrix (https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/research/fasos-research-institute). You will become part of the Department of Literature and Art (https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/about-um/faculties/arts-and-social-sciences/departments/department-literature-art) as well as the Research Program Arts, Media, and Culture (https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/fasos-research-institute/research-programmes/arts-media-and-culture).
More information on FASoS is available on our website: https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/about-um/faculties/faculty-arts-and-social-sciences
Further information on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciencesis available on our website:
Any inquiries about the position or the project may be addressed to the principal investigator: Associate Professor Eliza Steinbock (they/them/theirs) (email@example.com)