Postdoc Researchers in the programme Museums, Collections and Society

Postdoc Researchers in the programme Museums, Collections and Society

Published Deadline Location
18 Dec 22 Jan Leiden

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Leiden University, the Faculties of Humanities and Archaeology and the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) are looking for two Postdoc Researchers in the research programme Museums, Collections and Society

Job description

The Postdocs will be working within the research programme Museums, Collections and Society, a collaboration between the Faculties of Humanities and Archaeology, under the supervision of prof. dr. Pieter ter Keurs. Museums, Collections and Society aims to stimulate collections-based research and will operate in close cooperation with museums in Leiden and The Hague. It partakes in (inter)national discussions on museum and collection-based issues, such as inclusion/exclusion, the consequences of classifying collections, representation in museum displays and restitution. The research programme is hosted by the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) and includes a full professor/director and two University Lecturers. To complete the research team, we are looking for two excellent, highly motivated, enterprising, enthusiastic and experienced postdocs.

One of the postdocs is expected to examine the topic of ‘History of Collections’. It is now generally accepted that not enough is known about the historical context in which collecting activities took place and what happened with the collections after they were collected. It is important to highlight the relationship of collecting and the use of collections with socio-cultural and political developments of the period. Research on the history of collections enlightens our knowledge of the human-thing entanglement and the development of society. The postdoc who will focus on this part of the research programme is expected to submit a research proposal related to one or more Leiden (academic or museum) collections.

The other postdoc project will focus on ‘Ethical and legal issues in Collecting and Collection Care’. Ethical aspects of collecting, collection care and presentations (such as exhibitions) are now widely discussed, not only in academic literature, but also in newspapers, on television, on internet and social media. How do ethical questions relate to the existing legal regulations on issues such as ownership, restitution, and temporary loans? How does the international discussion on the ethics of collecting and ownership relate to the collections that are stored and presented in Leiden (both in the museums as well as at the university)?

Key responsibilities

  • Conducting high-quality, innovative academic research, presenting its results at conferences, in occasional guest lectures at BA and MA level, and in publications (the end result of the postdoc should be a print-ready manuscript for a book);
  • Undertaking impact and outreach activities, and engaging in collaborations with societal partners;
  • Stimulating and supporting members of the academic institute LUCAS and suitable external candidates in the acquisition of project funding at a national, European and international level (NWO, Horizon 2020 etc.);
  • Organizing academic, professional and public seminars;
  • Actively participating in the academic community of the MCS programme and the Institute;
  • Supporting the coaching and guidance of PhD candidates;
  • Performing administrative tasks for the research programme Museums, Collections and Society.


Leiden University


  • A PhD in a relevant field (such as history, art history, archaeology, anthropology, museum studies);
  • Awareness of current issues, viewpoints and innovative methods within the field;
  • Research profile that fits within the research theme of museums, collections and society (with a specific interest in history of collections, history of museums, the ethics of collecting, or collections, ownership and legal aspects);
  • Well-developed research skills, including the ability to formulate creative research questions, descriptive and analytical skills, a clear and persuasive style of writing, and an ability to collaborate with other researchers;
  • A proven track record of excellent independent research, as demonstrated by a substantial list of publications and awards/grants;
  • The ability to connect your research to concerns in and beyond academia and experience with public engagement and outreach;
  • In possession of a network of contacts in museum studies and/or collection research;
  • (near) native proficiency in spoken and written English and preferably Dutch;
  • Experience with (student or PhD) supervision;
  • Flexible, excellent communication skills, team worker, result oriented.

Conditions of employment

We offer two part-time (0.9 FTE) temporary appointments for a period of 1 year, with the possibility of extension with 1 year or more, based on need, funding and performance. Please note that, due to the temporary nature of the appointment, the candidate will not be able to carry out externally financed research projects (e.g. with NWO or ERC grants) which exceed the period of appointment. The salary range is from €3.637,- to €4.978,-  gross per month (pay scale 11 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities), based on a fulltime appointment.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year (8.3 %) bonuses, training, career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.  


Leiden University

The Faculty of Humanities is a unique international centre for the advanced study of languages, cultures, arts, and societies worldwide, in their historical contexts from prehistory to the present.  Our faculty is home to more than 6,000 students and 800 staff members.

The Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) is one of the seven academic institutes of the Faculty of Humanities. LUCAS is dedicated to ground-breaking research that explores the multifaceted relationships between the arts and society.


  • Postdoc
  • Language and culture
  • 30—36 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • 19-579



P.N. van Eyckhof 3, 2311 BV, Leiden

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