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

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

The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, one of the six research schools of the Faculty of Humanities, has a vacant PhD position as part of the NWO …

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Kloveniersburgwal, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Vast contract
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, one of the 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.

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.

The PhD position is aimed at candidates who have completed or will complete their MA/MSc no later than 31 August 2020.

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.

Additional information

For more information on the project, please contact:

For practical questions, please contact:

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


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