PhD position Stigmatizing Audiovisual Representations of People with Intellectual Disabilities

PhD position Stigmatizing Audiovisual Representations of People with Intellectual Disabilities

Published Deadline Location
12 May 4 Jun Heerlen

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Job description

You are invited to apply for a PhD position within the Humanities Department of the Open Universiteit (Heerlen) to investigate audiovisual representations of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) in relation to stigma. The position is funded by an NWO Starting Grant and hosted at the Humanities Department of the Open Universiteit. The supervising team consists of grant holder dr. Bregt Lameris and prof. dr. Alexander Peine (Chair of Culture, Innovation and Communication).

The project:
Being stigmatized undermines the position of marginalized social groups including people with intellectual disabilities (PWID). Public stigma is based on prejudices and stereotypes that result in negatives emotions. Audiovisual media play an important role in the construction and distribution the of such public stigma and the prejudices and negative emotions it invokes. This implies that they can also be strategically used to reduce and even counter public stigma. For this PhD project you will investigate patterns and motifs that characterize audiovisual media content of PWID and how they produce or counter these stigmatizing prejudices accompanied by negative emotions and affects. The successful candidate will be invited to further delineate the scope of the research (period, language, genres) in agreement with the supervising team.

To find patterns and motifs in larger amounts of audiovisual content you will make use of advanced digital technology combining manual and automated tools for the analysis of audiovisual material. You will work with the visual analysis tool VIAN for manual, and the TIB-AV-A platform for automated analyses of audiovisual materials. This implies collaboration with the developing teams of both tools at respectively the University of Zurich and the Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology in Hannover.

The project focusses on the representation of people with intellectual disabilities. Following the adagio ‘nothing about us, without us’ we aim to develop an inclusive research environment, meaning we will investigate and create ways to collaborate with lived-experienced researchers with ID.

The successful candidate will pursue a PhD in the Humanities (article-based or dissertation). They will have the opportunity to enroll in the graduate program of the Open Universiteit, and in the Netherlands Research School for Media Studies (RMeS), as well as participate in the yearly Summer School organized by Disability Studies in the Netherlands and the Universiteit voor Humanistiek (UvH)


The Open Universiteit (OU)


We are searching an excellent and highly motivated PhD candidate with a background in media studies, who is trained in and has experience with audiovisual analysis methods. Knowledge of and interest in emotion and affect studies is also required, as well as knowledge of and experience in digital humanities methodologies and tools. The successful candidate will have a strong interest in stigma research and disability studies. They are willing to work in an inclusive research environment, preferably in tandem with a lived-experienced co-researcher.


The ideal candidate

  • holds a (research) MA/MSc degree in Media Studies or a related discipline (or is expected to obtain such a degree by 1 September 2023)
  • has an interest in stigma research, disability studies, as well as affect and emotions studies as applied in the humanities and social sciences in general and media studies in particular
  • has a proven interest in digital audiovisual analysis tools
  • is willing and able to work in an inclusive research environment
  • has excellent writing skills
  • is capable of autonomously conducting original research as well as working in a team
  • is fluent in English (Cambridge English Proficiency, level C2, oral and written)

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: max 5 years.

You will be offered a temporary position (1.0 FTE), initially for one year with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The successful candidate will be offered the option to gain teaching experience. Depending on the amount of teaching the total period of four years can be expanded to five.

The gross salary ranges between €2.541in the first year and €3.247 in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year.

Starting date: preferably 1 September 2023.


Open Universiteit

The Open Universiteit is the part-time university in the Netherlands. Students follow personalized and activating academic distance education and disciplinary research is carried out within the various fields of science. Students can complete bachelor and master programs, but also shorter programs. The characteristics of education are openness, flexibility and quality (see The Open Universiteit has over 17,000 students and more than 750 employees. The OU has branches in the Netherlands and Belgium (see The main office is located in Heerlen.

The latest technologies and educational insights are applied both in the bachelor's and master's programs and courses and in projects and programs with partners. Nationally and internationally, the OU plays an important role in the innovation of higher education. Education is interwoven with research, which also ensures that the current state of science is incorporated. The Open Universiteit invests not only in disciplinary research in nine scientific fields, but also in research in a multidisciplinary programme: Innovating for resilience.

For more information, visit


Faculty of Humanities

The faculty of Humanities (CW) at the Open Universiteit engages with educational programs and research in the area of culture in the broadest sense. It offers bachelor and master courses, as well as smaller programs focusing on professionals and post-initial education. The overarching research program of the faculty is called Value and Valorization of Culture. Its research responds closely to current social problems, directly connecting cultural phenomena to society at large. Starting from the perspective of culture its aim is to understand social changes and their impact individuals as well as communities. The faculty hosts several research groups that cover themes such as media and technology, inclusion and diversity, and mental health humanities.


  • PhD
  • Language and culture
  • University graduate
  • AC/CW/23062


The Open Universiteit (OU)

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