Postdoctoral researcher 'Socially Engaged Art and State Transformation in Italy'

Postdoctoral researcher 'Socially Engaged Art and State Transformation in Italy'

Published Deadline Location
17 Apr 31 May Amsterdam

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Job description

The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, one of the six research schools of the Faculty of Humanities, has a vacant Postdoc position as part of the NWO VIDI project IMAGINART—Imagining institutions otherwise: Art, Politics, and State Transformation, led by Dr Chiara de Cesari.

Project description

Funded by the Netherlands’ Research Organization, the IMAGINART project explores the role of socially engaged art in reinventing failing public institutions and social structures. Whereas political and cultural theorists often claim that art serves to imagine society differently, this project uses ethnographic methods to examine how this works in practice. Focusing on creative institutional experiments in Hungary, Italy, and Lebanon/the West Bank, IMAGINART has two main aims. The first is to investigate these experiments’ impact on societal resilience, governmental policy, and state formation. The second is to assess their potential for developing 'concrete utopias' in response to state failure or transformation under (post)colonial, postsocialist, or neoliberal conditions.

Within the broader framework of IMAGINART, this two-year postdoctoral subproject will focus on fieldwork in Italy. By means of participant observation, interviews, and critical discourse analysis, the researcher will examine creative experiments with institutions in Rome and possibly other cities too. In so doing, they will pay particular attention to the political complexities of socially engaged art in Italy, which is both taking over some state urban functions and seen as complicit in gentrification. Read more.

In addition, the researcher will help the PI run the initial phases of the project.

Tasks of the postdoctoral researcher include:

  • carrying out fieldwork in Italy;
  • writing up your findings in a fieldwork report;
  • completion and submission of a significant body of writing for publication within the period of appointment. This might be at least three articles for international, peer-reviewed journals; a peer-reviewed monograph; or a combination of these;
  • contributing to collaborative publications undertaken by the IMAGINART team;
  • celping build a platform of experts around the intersection of art studies and theories of the state;
  • organising project valorization activity (small public program or workshop) at relevant institution(s);
  • co-organising mid-term project workshop.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • A PhD degree in the Humanities or Social Sciences or the Arts;
  • outstanding research qualities manifested in a high-quality PhD dissertation and (preferably) international peer-reviewed publications;
  • demonstrable research experience with either work in the cultural field or ethnographic fieldwork therein;
  • excellent Italian;
  • excellent written and spoken English;
  • keen interest in critical, interdisciplinary research methods and approaches;
  • ability and willingness to work in a team;
  • willingness to travel abroad for conferences and workshops;
  • proven organizational, administrative and leadership skills;
  • social media skills is a plus.

Conditions of employment

Our offer

The selected Postdoc will be employed at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Humanities within the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. The employment contract will be for 30,4 hours per week (0,8 fte) for a period of 2 years. The intended starting date is 1 September 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter. The employment contract is initially for a period of 1 year, with an extension for up to 1 year contingent on a positive evaluation after 9 months. The gross monthly salary will range from €3,389 during the first year to €3,773 during the second year, depending on experience and qualifications, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities

We are currently working on the assumption that thìs Postdoc project will start on 1 September 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter. However, we may need to delay the starting date if travel restrictions will still be in place, or foreseen for the near future, by mid-June 2020. Candidates still in the procedure will be duly informed.


University of Amsterdam

With over 5,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.  

The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.


Faculty of Humanities – Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis

Research at the Faculty of Humanities is carried out by six research schools under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research. The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), one of six research schools of the Faculty of Humanities, is home to more than 110 scholars and 120 PhD candidates, and is a world-leading international research school in Cultural Analysis. ASCA members share a commitment to working in an interdisciplinary framework and to maintaining a close connection with contemporary cultural and political debates.


  • Postdoc
  • Language and culture
  • max. 30.4 hours per week
  • €3389—€3773 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 20-239


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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