PhD Position in Critical Heritage Ecologies

PhD Position in Critical Heritage Ecologies

Published Deadline Location
9 Nov 30 Nov Amsterdam

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Job description

Are you looking for a challenging position in a dynamic setting? The Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture currently has a vacant PhD position as part of the Critical Heritage Ecologies research initiative, led by principal investigators Dr. Colin Sterling and Dr. Tessel Bauduin. The Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture is one of the five Research Schools within the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research.

What are you going to do?
You will undertake doctoral level research on Restitution Ecologies as part of a wider research initiative on critical heritage ecologies led by Dr. Tessel Bauduin and Dr. Colin Sterling. As a PhD candidate you will investigate the material ecologies of restitution through case studies, cross-disciplinary comparative research and – where relevant – engagement with artistic practice. As calls for the return of objects increase and the heritage and museums field orients towards issues of decolonization and reparation, this PhD project asks how such initiatives might support, challenge or undermine broader strategies of worldly repair. In so doing, the research aims to provide a new framework for critical and practical work at the intersection of heritage studies and the environmental humanities. To understand the ecological entanglements and implications of restitution processes, the project will focus on four case studies that speak to different dimensions of material, symbolic, environmental, and social repair.

These case studies will be decided in collaboration with the selected PhD candidate, but the chosen research foci may address questions related to: (a) the chemical, material and biotic ecologies in which museum objects are embedded; (b) the conceptual intersections of heritage restitution and rewilding / remediation projects; (c) the environmental ‘impact’ of emerging restitution projects; (d) non-Western / Indigenous perspectives on care and repair, especially as these relate to more-than-human worlds and object animacy. This PhD project will be ambitious in scope but grounded in empirical research that tests the boundaries of decolonial and reparative work in heritage and museums.

During the project you will work towards your PhD and receive further training in doing interdisciplinary research. You will also take part in seminars and other activities hosted by one of the Dutch National Research Schools. You will gain expertise in contemporary challenges involving museums, heritage, restitution, and the environmental crisis, and will have the opportunity to teach on these themes.

Tasks and responsibilities:
  • Carry out original research in the fields of heritage studies and museum studies;
  • Write and submit a PhD on Restitution Ecologies within the period of the appointment;
  • Participate in regular meetings with the main supervisors and develop shared knowledge and insights on the intersections of critical heritage and the environmental humanities;
  • Publish one single-authored, peer reviewed article, and contribution to other written project outputs as required;
  • Present intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • Organise collaborative knowledge dissemination activities;
  • Teach courses at bachelor’s and/or assist at master’s level in the 2nd and 3rd year (0,2 FTE per year);
  • Participate in the Research School and Faculty of Humanities PhD training programmes.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


You approach academic activities with creativity and rigour, and demonstrate a proactive approach to empirical research, analysis, and writing.

Your experience and profile:
  • A completed Master's degree in Heritage Studies, Art History, Cultural Studies, Public History, Museum Studies or a related field. You may apply if you have not yet completed your Master's degree only if you provide a signed letter from your supervisor stating that you will graduate before 01 January 2024;
  • Excellent research skills demonstrated by an outstanding Master's thesis and a demonstrable capacity to develop a track record of publishing in high-ranking journals and/or with leading presses;
  • A strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
  • Enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences;
  • Good command of English (Dutch is desirable but not essential) and good presentation skills.

Experience with restitution processes (including provenance research) is desirable.

Please note that if you already hold a doctorate/PhD or are working towards obtaining a similar degree elsewhere, you will not be admitted to a doctoral programme at the UvA.

Conditions of employment

We offer a temporary employment contract for the period of 48 months. The first contract will be for 16 months, with an extension for the following 32 months, contingent on a positive performance evaluation within the first 12 months. The employment contract is for 38 hours a week. The preferred starting date is 01 February 2024.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and relevant experience, ranges from € 2,770 up to a maximum of € 3,539. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

What else do we offer?
  • PhD candidates receive a tuition fee waiver;
  • PhD candidates have free access to courses offered by the Graduate School of Humanities and the Dutch National Research Schools;
  • Excellent possibilities for further professional development and education;
  • An enthusiastic, inspiring and professional academic team.


Faculty of Humanities

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 12337


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012CX, Amsterdam

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