Postdoctoral Position on Changes in Colonial Cultural Heritage in Europe

Postdoctoral Position on Changes in Colonial Cultural Heritage in Europe

Published Deadline Location
22 Jan 20 Feb Utrecht

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We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher for the Horizon 2023 project CONCILIARE (CONfidetly ChangIng coLonIAl heritage). Apply now!

Job description

As part of the Horizon 2023 project CONCILIARE (CONfidetly ChangIng coLonIAl heritage) that has been awarded funding under Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Action (RIA), we are looking for a postdoctoral researcher for 34 months, starting 1 May 2024. You will be part of a large international consortium of research (i.e., seven European universities) and societal partners (e.g., museums of colonial history).

Your job
You will work at the European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations (ERCOMER) at the department of Interdisciplinary Social Science at Utrecht University. ERCOMER has a strong track record in interethnic relations with a particular focus on international migration, group identities and cultural diversity, and intergroup relations. ERCOMER is part of the Dutch research school Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS).

CONCILIARE will investigate changes in colonial cultural heritage (CCH) in Europe across four domains: textbooks, public spaces, museums, and products and traditions. The aim is to develop evidence-based methods that promote confidence and intergroup dialogue related to these changes.

As a postdoc, you will be part of work package led by Utrecht University on cultural products and traditions associated with the colonial history. This sub-project aims at gaining a deeper understanding of how and when changes in cultural consumption of products (e.g., foods) and traditions related to CCH (e.g., blackface make-up performances, such as the tradition of Black Pete in the Netherlands) can foster positive societal change (i.e., less tolerance of controversial practices and better intergroup relations) as well as help increase confidence in the changing societies of the present and future in European youngsters (adolescents and young adults). The specific objectives of the project are:
  1. to gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which youth of ethnic majority and colonial origin minority backgrounds in Europe think about and feel about changes in cultural consumption of products and traditions related to colonial heritage;
  2. to conduct studies in four European countries on how attitudes about and emotional reactions to changes in cultural consumption of products and traditions related to colonial heritage affect relations between ethnic majorities and minorities as well as a sense of confidence in the future;
  3. to develop an evidence-based method for teaching about changes in cultural consumption of colonial heritage focusing on products and traditions with colonial symbolism.

You will implement a mixed-methods design to reach these objectives. This means that you will design, conduct, and coordinate different parts of the data collection in collaboration with researchers from other European countries. You will start by organising and conducting focus groups with youngsters from ethnic majority and colonial origin minority groups. This will be done in three European countries with a colonial past (the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy) and one without direct connections with colonialism (Croatia). Building on the findings from this qualitative study, you will subsequently coordinate and conduct studies with survey-embedded experiments in the above-mentioned European countries. One set of experiments will focus on food products with colonial connotations and one set on traditions of blackface make-up and costumes. Finally, based on the results of the qualitative and quantitative studies, you will coordinate and develop a podcast series (in collaboration with researchers from the other European countries) for high school and university teachers on how to discuss changes in products and traditions related to CCH.

You will work together with Dr Borja Martinović (work package leader) and Dr Anouk Smeekes (co-leader of the work package) and you will be a member of the CONCILIARE consortium. 80% of a fulltime appointment is reserved for research time. Apart from that, you can choose to enlarge the contract by spending an additional 20% on teaching.

Core tasks include:
  • coordinating, conducting and analysing focus groups in four European countries;
  • coordinating, conducting and analysing surveys with embedded experiments in four European countries;
  • reporting results at consortium meetings;
  • reporting results at conferences and in articles in peer-reviewed journals;
  • project (work package) management.


Utrecht University


We are looking for a colleague with the following skills, competences and experiences:
  • a PhD in the field of (social) psychology, sociology, educational science, anthropology or related fields;
  • experience with quantitative and qualitative research methods (you can be an expert in one method and have some experience with the other) - familiarity with experimental designs and focus groups is preferred;
  • an interest in cultural heritage and intergroup relations;
  • a track record appropriate to the stage of their career, and an obvious curiosity and enthusiasm for academic research;
  • a professional attitude and conduct that includes organisational sensitivity, integrity, pragmatism, and good communication skills;
  • independent thinking and hands-on mentality;
  • excellent collaborative and organisational skills;
  • high proficiency in English (C2 level), proficiency in Dutch is a plus;
  • theoretical expertise in intergroup relations, group identities, perceived discrimination, and/or emotional reactions is desirable.

Conditions of employment

We offer:
  • a position for one year, with an extension to a total of 34 months upon positive evaluation;
  • a working week of 32 - 40 hours and a gross monthly salary between €3,226 and €5,929 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale 10-11 under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU);
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.


Universiteit Utrecht

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Shaping science, sharing tomorrow.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Almost 7,000 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 1,100 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues. The faculty is located at Utrecht Science Park near the historical city centre of Utrecht.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €3226—€5929 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 3532



Padualaan 14, 3584CH, Utrecht

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