PHD Disappearing Landscapes – towards participatory models of conservation and transformation of cultural landscapes

PHD Disappearing Landscapes – towards participatory models of conservation and transformation of cultural landscapes

Published Deadline Location
20 Jun 4 Jul Amsterdam

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Would you like to become part of a new generation of cultural heritage managers? Would you like to be employed and trained as a PhD researcher and to work, with a prestigious European fellowship, in an international and multidisciplinary team of researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs in the field of cultural heritage? Then, the HERILAND partners would like to hear from you. Apply now at VU Amsterdam!

Job description

Changing environments, whether due to natural or cultural agents, are amongst the major challenges for future heritage management. Adaptation to these changes through spatial planning and design is vital, but the opportunities for and challenges to heritage design are still poorly investigated. With this PhD project you will study such opportunities and challenges with regard totraditional landscapes in the Italian region of Apulia. The empirical part will consist of a multiple case study, focused on historical landscapes, connectedness and mobility of Apulia. Other comparative cases in Europe will be used to address specific issues.

Your duties
  • in depth study of Apulian landscape and heritage values on the basis of  expert knowledege, field work, planning policies, participatory meetings and action research.
  • pilot implementation of  Code of Good Practice in local spatial planning with the use of visual, geospatial and conceptual tools for collaboration and integration of heritage values.
  • actively contribute to the activities of the HERILAND training network, including  network-wide workshops, surveys and Living Labs, the HERILAND Handbook for Heritage Planning, a traveling exhibition and a final conference;
  • deliver oral and poster presentations at academic conferences and write a PhD dissertation


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • a (R)MA or MPhil?MSc degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. Heritage Studies, History, Archaeology, Cultural or Human Geography, Architecture, Planning);
  • proven interest in the topic of the study through previously conducted research activities; knowledge of digital mapping
  • experience in research by means of scientific publications will be favoured (e.g. conference papers, journal articles, book chapters);
  • proven knowledge of English, including good communication and writing skills;  e.g. Tofel or equivalent or Masters studies conducted in English; Italian will be favoured;
  • following the EU Marie Curie eligibility criteria, the researcher to be appointed must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment. Moreover, he/she shall at the date of recruitment be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of the research career and have not been awarded a doctoral degree

Conditions of employment

We offer a 3 year full-time PhD contract. The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended for another 2 years. You will be employed by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam at the Faculty of Humanities.

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts € 2,325 gross per month during the first year and increases to € 2,835 gross per month during the third year, based on a full-time employment.

Non-Dutch applicants could be eligible for a favourable tax treatment (30% rule).

Further information on Marie Curie allowances in the Netherlands:

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge

Fixed-term contract: 1 year


The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 23,000 students. We employ more than 4,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.

Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 1,300 students.
The HERILAND project at CLUE+ research institute
As a PhD student, you will be based at CLUE+ (, the interdisciplinary VU-research Institute for Culture, Cognition, History and Heritage, and be part of the project HERILAND, coordinated by CLUE+. HERILAND is a European network that trains 15 young researchers in the dynamic field of spatial heritage. It is a consortium of 7 key academic and  non-academic organizations, with 21 partners in civil society and business, from the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Poland, Israel and Italy.
The project aims to empower a new generation of academics, policy makers, practitioners, professionals and entrepreneurs. In the 15 PhD positions, we address five key challenges to the heritage management of the 21st century:
  1. The Spatial Turn (the present PhD vacancy is part of this challenge)
  2. Democratisation;
  3. Digital Transformations;
  4. Shifting Demographies and Contested Identities;
  5. Changing Environments.

As one of these 15 young researchers, you will be provided with advanced training, combining theoretical and instrumental knowledge in a series of research seminars, living labs and secondments with our public and private partners. By doing this, you will profit from and contribute to a new pan-European, trans-national, interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research and training standard.

The HERILAND project is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 813883. For further information on Heriland, partners and other vacancies, see Applications for more than one position are allowed.


  • PhD positions
  • Language and Culture
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University Graduate
  • 1069


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV, Amsterdam

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