Postdoctoral researcher in Media and Heritage Studies

Faculty of Humanities – Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis

15 mei 2017
€3,193 to €3,427 gross per month, based on 38 hours per week
4 juni 2017
30,4 hours per week

The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), one of six research schools of the Faculty of Humanities, has a vacant Postdoctoral position as part of the NWO Project The Sensory Moving Image Archive (SEMIA): Boosting Creative Reuse for Artistic Practice and Research.

Project description

In recent years, heritage institutions have invested much time and resources into digitizing their collections, and in making them accessible and stimulating various kinds of reuse. Yet despite considerable success, a great deal of access and reuse potential is currently still left unexploited.

One reason for this is the focus so far on (linked) semantic descriptors. Not only do these restrict users to searching collections by way of prior interpretations, they also ignore features that are essential to their experience of heritage objects. One set of characteristics that are insufficiently captured by descriptive metadata are sensory ones, e.g. visual features (such as light and colour, shape, or movement). Another reason is that access to collections has focused primarily on the searchability and retrieval of single items, while lasting heritage experiences, but also innovative research, require methods for explorative browsing that draw on the relations between discrete items and entire collections.

The use of sensory features, combined with possibilities for explorative browsing, would provide a boost, above all, to the practice of those users who seek to creatively repurpose collections: artists, the creative industries, but also researchers. The SEMIA project’s objective is to establish how these groups can explore, navigate and repurpose a specific subset of heritage objects – moving images – by using tools for the analysis (software) and visualization (interfaces) of visual features and relations. In doing so, it will make use of two heritage collections: EYE’s Desmet collection (silent films) and Sound and Vision’s NTS/NOS News broadcasts (1956-present).

Starting in September 2017, the recruited postdoc shall be appointed with an employment contract of two years in total, with an evaluation after 12 months.

Tasks of the Postdoctoral candidate will include:

1. Project management:

  • coordinate partner collaboration (including management and distribution of data, preparing and writing of reports and papers);
  • organize symposium (CfP, coordinate paper selection, logistics);
  • coordinate editing of proceedings;
  • oversee dissemination/valorization activities; contact service providers to explore commercial services based on SEMIA’s open source algorithms;
  • organize final project presentation and launch of symposium proceedings.

2. Research:

  • carrying out research with focus on non-evidentiary/artistic forms of data visualization, to be conducted in collaboration with other project partners within the Faculty of Humanities / ASCA, and at partner institutions.


The successful applicant must have:

  • a relevant PhD degree in the Humanities or Social Sciences, with specific expertise in the use of visual analysis and data visualizations in media (history) and humanities research;
  • a strong academic record with relevant publications;
  • relevant work experience, in particular with the management of a research project.

The project is committed to increasing diversity in the field. It welcomes applications from women, LGBT researchers, members of minority groups, and individuals with disabilities.

Further information

For further information, please contact:


The postdoctoral researcher will be appointed at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies. The appointment will be for 24 months, 0,8 fte, under the terms of employment currently valid for the Faculty. The postdoc will be a member of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job application

 Applications should include, in a single PDF file:

  • a detailed letter of intent stating your motivation for this position;
  • a full academic CV including a list of publications.

Please submit your application to no later than 4 June 2017. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Gepubliceerd door  Universiteit van Amsterdam