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PhD candidate 'Socially Engaged Art and State Transformation in Hungary'

19.05.2020 16:36 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Faculty of Humanities – Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis

Publication date 17 April 2020

Closing date 31 May 2020

Level of education Master's degree

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month

Vacancy number 20-235

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

ASCA 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.

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 PhD subproject will focus on creative experiments with institutions in Hungary. In the face of nationalist-conservative hegemony, cultural practitioners have largely disengaged with the Hungarian state’s institutions. In this context, the candidate will undertake extensive ethnographic fieldwork and critical discourse analysis to examine the ways in which socially engaged art is developing creative alternatives to established state bodies in Hungary. Read more.

Tasks include:

  • carrying out fieldwork in Hungary;
  • submission of a PhD thesis within the period of appointment;
  • completion and submission of at least one article for an international, peer-reviewed journal within the period of appointment;
  • completion of a policy brief/best practices paper within the period of appointment;
  • contributing to collaborative publications undertaken by the IMAGINART team;
  • co-organising the project’s conference;
  • organising project valorization activity (small public program or workshop) at relevant institution(s) in Hungary;
  • participation in the ASCA and Faculty of Humanities PhD training programs;
  • teaching courses at BA-level or other types of activities in the 3rd and 4th year of the appointment (0,2 FTE per year).


  • The successful applicant must have:
  • a relevant Master’s degree in the Humanities or Social Sciences or the Arts, completed no later than 31 August 2020;
  • outstanding research qualities, manifested in strong transcripts and a high-quality Master’s thesis;
  • excellent spoken Hungarian;
  • 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 fieldwork, research stays, conferences and workshops;
  • strong organizational skills;
  • strong social media skills is a plus;
  • demonstrable experience with either work in the cultural field or fieldwork therein is a plus;
  • demonstrable familiarity with ethnographic methods such as participant observation; structured, semi-structured, and non-structured interviews; and critical discourse analysis is a plus.

Our offer

The recruited PhD candidate 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 48 months, full-time (38 hours per week), under the terms of employment currently valid for the Faculty. 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 intended starting date is 1 September 2020. The gross monthly salary will be €2,325 during the first year to reach €2,972 during the fourth year, based on 38 hours per week, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. The PhD candidate receives a tuition fee waiver and has free access to courses offered by the Graduate School of the Faculty of Humanities and the Dutch National Research Schools.

We are currently working on the assumption that the PhD 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.


For more information on the project, please contact:

Dr Chiara de Cesari

For practical questions, please contact:

Dr Eloe Kingma

Would you like to learn more about working at the University of Amsterdam? Visit our website.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Please submit your application in a single PDF file (not zipped) under the CV button. Your application must consist of:

  • a detailed letter of motivation, describing how you would approach this research project, your motivation for applying, and why you are an excellent candidate for the role (no more than 1,000 words);
  • your curriculum vitae, listing at least: Full address and contact details; Education; Professional information and employment, if relevant; Language proficiency; Grants/honours; and Conference presentations and publications, if applicable.
  • a summary of your Master’s thesis/project (250-500 words);
  • a writing sample, such as an essay, project paper, or a chapter of your MA thesis, between 3,000-10,000 words;
  • transcripts of your Master (or equivalent) program;
  • the names and contact details of two referees familiar with your academic record and research skills.

Shortlisted candidates may be requested to provide additional materials. Interviews are planned for 26 June, most likely via Skype.

Applications must be submitted via the link below. Deadline for applications is 31 May 2020. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

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