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PhD candidate “Precarity in the Social-Material Networks of Technology-Based Artworks", 1.00 fte, 4 years

Since the 1960s artists have been using a range of media technologies to create art. Time-based media works of art are artworks where the primary medium is …

2 maanden geleden


Grote Gracht, Maastricht, Limburg
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


Since the 1960s artists have been using a range of media technologies to create art. Time-based media works of art are artworks where the primary medium is film, video, audio, 35mm slides, digital data, software-based art or performance. These artworks are dependent on these technologies and their associated networks of people, materials and skills, not only for their production but also for their on-going display and access. In this way the traditional museum model, based on collection knowledge and conservation capacities that is held within the museum, is challenged. Instead, we see the contemporary art museum as increasingly dependent on socio-material networks outside the museum which are beyond the museum’s direct control and which circulate in alternative economies, often dominated by different commercial concerns. Greater understanding of these networks is needed to inform and build upon methodologies such as risk assessment and other tools for imagining the future viability of particular works in contemporary art collections. This study will investigate these conceptual, theoretical and practical challenges of precarity.

The doctoral candidate will identify in several cases from the Tate collection an artist’s work or body of works, which exhibit dependencies on one of three technologies (16mm film, Delphi programming language, Cathode Ray Tubes). Through the use of ethnographic methods and methods drawn from experimental archaeology, the candidate will explore the socio-material networks that constitute these works and their production and maintenance.

The doctoral candidate will reside at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University in the Science, Technology and Society Studies research program, and will be able to benefit from the research activity conducted as part of the project Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum, including participation in selected workshops, contact with visiting scholars and the case study research. In addition, the doctoral candidate will spend three periods of three months hosted by Tate over the course of the four years.

The research will be supervised by Prof. dr. Harro van Lente (Science and Technology Studies, FASoS), Prof. Pip Laurenson (Tate / Arts, Media and Culture, FASoS), Dr. Vivian van Saaze (Arts, Media and Culture, FASoS).


Candidates need to meet the following requirements: a relevant master’s degree (e.g. conservation, art sociology, museum studies, innovations studies, STS or related fields); proficiency in English including fluent academic writing skills; excellent scholarly abilities, as testified by their previous academic record, particularly by the quality of their master’s-level thesis; interest in museum practice and contemporary art. The successful candidate will be highly motivated and able to work both independently and creatively, and demonstrate an interest in and committed to transdisciplinary forms of research.


We offer a dynamic and challenging job in an internationally-oriented organisation where students receive an advanced education and scholars conduct exciting research. The PhD candidate will have the unique opportunity to carry out research within one or more of the four themes within the research programme at FASoS and will contribute to the development and outreach of its interdisciplinary research centre the Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage. The candidate will be part of an international network of top universities and renowned scholars within the field.

We offer a 4 year full-time appointment as PhD student. The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended with another 3 years. Your workload will consist of 90% research activities and 10% teaching activities.

Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels for PhD students starting with a salary of € 2.222,- with a yearly growth to € 2.840- gross a month (based on a full-time appointment.

Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.

You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you will be eligible for an allowance for moving costs. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you might be eligible for an allowance for alternative housing.

Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme and partially paid parental leave.

You will be provided with shared office space and a PC.

Additional information

Starting date: preferably 1 September 2018 (or as soon as possible thereafter).

This study will investigate these conceptual, theoretical and practical challenges of precarity and will be guided by two main questions:

1. How to characterize the condition of precarity of contemporary artworks? What makes some socio-material networks of artworks more precarious or robust than others?

2. How to design viable strategies for museums to address the challenge of precarity? How might the findings of this research inform and improve the development of riskassessment methodologies for contemporary artworks?

Further information on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciencesand its Graduate School is available on our website: http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/fasos

Further information on Tate is available here: www.tate.org.uk/

For more information about the Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH), see: www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/macch

Any inquiries about the position or the project may be addressed to: Prof dr. Harro van Lente, h.vanlente@maastrichtuniversity.nl or Prof dr. Pip Laurenson, pip.laurenson@tate.org.uk

Maastricht University’s Terms of Employment are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local university provisions apply as well. For more information please see the website: www.maastrichtuniversity.nl / support / UM employees


Interested candidates are invited to supply us with:

1. A letter of motivation stating the candidate’s qualifications and reasons for interest in the position.

2. their CV.

3. A grade transcript of previous education at Master level.

4. A research proposal of max. 5 pages, outlining a proposed direction and methodology for the project (based on the short description).

5. The contact information of two references (including e-mail; phone number, mailing address, and relationship to the applicant).

Maastricht University is committed to nurturing an inclusive culture and a welcoming atmosphere. This inclusiveness strategy has resulted in a very diverse representation of nationalities and cultures. We strongly believe that diversity (including, but not limited to nationality, age and gender) of the staff and student population will increase the quality of UM education & research. Fostering diversity and inclusivity creates an academic community where individual talents thrive, and values and differences are cherished. We strongly encourage you to apply if you are qualified for this position.

The deadline for submitting your application is 8 July 2018

Selected candidates will be invited for an interview on 17 or 20 July 2018

Please send your application electronically to the Secretariat of the department of Society Studies: pzfasosvac-philotss@maastrichtuniversity.nl