Would you like to work at the intersection of material culture studies, critical heritage studies, and colonial history? Do you have outstanding coordination skills? Then please apply as Postdoc Coordinator at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).
This four-year Postdoc position is based in the Faculty of Humanities at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, within the framework of the NWA project “Pressing Matter – Ownership, Value and the Question of Colonial Heritage in Museums”. This collaborative, interdisciplinary project responds to the growing contestation over what to do with the colonial heritage held in museums.
Situated within the subproject that addresses the potentialities of objects collected in the colonial period to help us live with the past, the project coordinator provides core organisational support for the project leader (Susan Legêne) and programme leader (Wayne Modest), and plays a crucial role in the implementation and development of the overall project. As project coordinator, you interact with the research staff, as well as with the different stakeholders, including participating museums, societal partners and the group of ‘critical friends’ in the Netherlands and abroad.
This position is not limited to project organization; it also requires active academic leadership, especially in developing a research infrastructure that connects museums and universities, and other relevant stakeholders. Deep understanding of the issues related with collections, colonialism and museums is a requirement. We expect active intellectual engagement that may include active participation in and contribution to the project’s outputs such as published or online outputs. You will be expected to develop and research certain themes as well, depending on your expertise.
You know the ins and outs, the planning and deliverables of the programme, and keep close contact with the financial project controllers. You will be employed by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands and be jointly supervised by prof. dr. Susan Legêne and prof. dr. Wayne Modest.
As part of the project management team you will:
Our recruitment policy considers the individual curriculum vitae of applicants as well as the research team composition as a whole. We seek a diverse team, in terms of disciplinary background, with a solid representation of researchers embedded in / related to countries from where colonial collections originate. In line with this policy, eligible applicants can be of any nationality, but for this position, upon equal qualification, priority will be given to candidates with a strong relationship with communities / countries from where specific collections germane to the specific work package originate.
Fixed-term contract: 1 year.
A challenging position in a socially involved cros-institutional research programme. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €3,491 (scale 10) per month during the first year and increases to €3,886 (scale 10) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 0.6 to 0.7 FTE.
The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 4 years.
Additionally, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
Pressing Matter responds to the growing contestation over what to do with the colonial heritage held in museums. This growing controversy reveals the need to account for the polarised positions of these debates, ranging from scholars, activists and community members championing the return of objects to correct historical wrongs, to those who contend that objects should be retained irrespective of circumstances of acquisition by museums in light of their (universal) cultural and scientific value. In the middle are advocates of more relational heritage practices, comprising dialogue and sharing in how objects are distributed. Pressing Matter has identified various approaches to this problem, and to the different categories of collections in collaborating museums that will be the starting points for research.
Researchers start from this shared research framework, while doing research for their own individual research output, including a PhD thesis. While developing their own views and insights, they commit themselves to the overall programme through collaborative multidisciplinary approaches, based in shared access to research findings and result based research. Pressing Matter has been developed within the context of the National Science Agenda of the Netherlands. A large team of PhD candidates, postdocs, provenance researchers, museum staff, and senior academics will be organized across 8 work packages, hosted in five different universities and collaboration with five museums and several societal stakeholders.
Your application should be a single pdf consisting of the following documents, in the following order:
Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:
Name: Prof. dr. Susan Legêne
Position: Professor of Political History
Name: Prof. dr. Wayne Modest
Position: Professor of Material Culture and Critical Heritage Studies