PhD Scholarship in Deradicalizing the City
Catholic University of Leuven Faculty of Social Sciences

As a researcher in the arts, you will be recruited by the Faculty of Social Sciences of KU Leuven. You will be working on a PhD in the arts and will be supervised by lead supervisors Prof. Dr. Roel Vande Winkel and Prof. Dr. Steven Devleminck, and the co-supervisors Prof. Dr. Nadia Fadil and Prof. Dr. Maarten Loopmans. The lead supervisors both combine a ZAP-appointment at KU Leuven with a research and teaching appointment at LUCA School of Arts (Association KU Leuven; campus Sint-Lukas Brussels). During your four-year scholarship, you will mainly focus on research and will be tasked to a limited extent only (max. 120 hours / year) with teaching activities and/or administrative support to the supervisors. You will mainly work in and around Brussels.


The doctoral research project is part of the ID-N project "Deradicalizing the city. Policy assemblage, security and the question of belonging in Brussels". This research project will investigate how (1) notions of 'urban security' are influenced and transformed by the 'war on terror' and the fight against radicalisation and (2) what impact this has on notions of connectedness and (in)security among the residents of the targeted neighbourhoods. The research is carried out by a team of three doctoral researchers: a researcher in the arts (you), an anthropologist and a social geographer. Each team member will carry out other aspects of the project.

The ID-N project is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Nadia Fadil, Prof. Dr. Maarten Loopmans and the above-mentioned supervisors (Devleminck and Vande Winkel). 

The neighbourhoods that are at the heart of this project have been subjected to intense policing, media interest and all kinds of academic and/or governmental research. This tends to result in a high degree of distrust, fatigue ('research fatigue') and refusal to participate in research projects ('non-response'). Your research focuses on the development of creative, artistic methodologies or techniques that enable residents of the targeted neighbourhoods to articulate how they experience life under a research, media and security surveillance. The artistic practices and experiments that will be developed will revolve around the central questions of the ID-N project. 

Within this framework, you will use, explore and deepen innovative artistic methods that do not act as a short-lived experiment, but become a central research tool and allow communities to reflect on their lived experiences. The research has a clear methodological approach and aims to develop innovative tools and methods based on artistic practices. Your research must lead to the attainment of a doctoral degree (PhD) in the Arts at the KU Leuven. By consequence, throughout this project, you will have to meet the requirements of the “Regulation concerning the attainment of doctoral degrees at the KU Leuven, supplemented with the Particulars of the Faculty of Arts”. (


  • As a researcher in the arts, you have a background in audio-visual arts (fiction, documentary, experimental cinema, etc.), design or visual arts (visual arts, graphic or multimedia design, photography, information visualization, etc.). 
  • You have a master's degree, preferably a master's degree in the arts. Other master's degrees will also be taken into account, provided you have a rich artistic portfolio.
  • You have a well-developed artistic practice, which shows maturity and has a clear research dimension. This is also evident in your portfolio.
  • You are willing to work in a team and play an active and constructive role within the project described above. You must be able to carry out research both autonomously and in groups.
  • You are verbally strong. You read, write and communicate fluently in French and English. Knowledge of Dutch or one of the North African languages (Amazigh orArabic) is recommended..
  • You have the skills to complete a multi-year research project within the given time frame of four years.
  • You are prepared to communicate about your research at conferences, through artistic presentations and through publications.
  • You are aware that you work with privacy-sensitive information and must be able to be extremely discrete.
  • You are experienced in working with vulnerable and stigmatized communities.
  • You are familiar with urban contexts such as Brussels (or the surrounding area), or are willing to move there.


  • A full-time and salaried appointment as a doctoral researcher for a maximum of four years.
  • An exciting and challenging job, with enough variety.
  • The opportunity to contribute to a socially highly relevant, large-scale, interdisciplinary research project.
  • Multiple opportunities for personal development by means of conference participation, “doctoral schools” courses, educational activities and publications.
  • As a PhD researcher (BAP category) you have a double status: you are not only a staff member of the KU Leuven, but also a (doctoral) student. That means that you get student card discounts and other benefits.


Your application contains
- a cover letter describing your qualifications and your interest in the position
- a brief description (max 2000 words, including literature references) of how you intend to launch your PhD research.
- a curriculum vitae.
- a portfolio, with (links to) examples of your artistic work.
- a scan of your highest obtained degree and (if relevant) any other diplomas.
Only complete applications will be accepted for evaluation. Uploaded documents may not exceed 4MB. Work with hyperlinks if you want to show video recordings or other artistic creations. 
The selection procedure takes place in several stages. The selection committee consists of the four promoters of the ID-N project.
The deadline for submission is December 7. No later than December 24, all applicants will receive an answer. A selected number of applicants will be invited to a personal interview with the selection committee. These interviews will be organized on 11 January 2021. Very soon afterwards, the participants will be informed about the result.
Some candidates will be invited for a second and final interview on 1 February 2021. To prepare for this second interview, the candidates will receive the full ID-N project file and will be asked to further develop their PhD proposal, using the KU Leuven “PhD in the Arts” application form. Each candidate will presents and defend his/her proposal on 1 February. 
After this second round of interviews, the selection committee will select one candidate and offer him/her the position of PhD scholar. This candidate will then finalise his/her PhD proposal under the supervision of the supervisors and co-supervisors. The doctoral proposal will be confirmed by the doctoral committee of LUCA School of Arts.
All interviews will be held in Leuven. (Skype interviews can be organized if necessary). 
For more information please contact Prof. dr. Roel Vande Winkel, tel.: +32 16 32 01 27, mail: or Prof. dr. Steven Devleminck, mail:.
You can apply for this job no later than December 07, 2020 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: December 7, 2020
  • Tags: Kunsten

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