Postdoc Position in Polyvocal Interpretations of Contested Colonial Heritage
VU University of Amsterdam Faculty of Humanities

We are looking for an outstanding and highly motivated researcher who will be part of the international Joint Project Initiative in Cultural Heritage project. Do you want to work at the intersection of postcolonial heritage and digital humanities? Please apply as a Postdoc in Polyvocal Interpretations of Contested Cultural Heritage at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).


FTE: 0.8 

Job description

As a postdoc you will be part of the international Joint Project Initiative in Cultural Heritage project, Polyvocal Interpretations of Contested Colonial Heritage. The Dutch subproject is led by Prof. dr. Alec Badenoch (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam/VU) in partnership with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid). It  works at the intersection of postcolonial heritage and digital humanities.  It involves identifying and evaluating (post-)colonial audiovisual collections, engaging with their (potential) users, and implementing the lessons learned. These lessons will be incorporated into best practice recommendations and new interface designs for audiovisual heritage.   In seeking ‘polyvocal’ interpretations, you will explore how memory organisations can shift from being authorized, institutional curators of colonial heritage that embed and reproduce colonial discourse, to enablers of dialogue in a multicultural society and postcolonial world. You will explore how new interfaces and archival practices can help reach out to and engage with citizens, activists, and communities critical of their national colonial past.

You will be embedded within the department of Art & Culture, History, and Antiquity (AHA), Faculty of Humanities, the interfaculty Research Institute for Culture, History and Heritage (CLUE+) and within national and international research networks and schools.

Your duties

Working together in an interdisciplinary team, the postdoc will:

  • explore and analyse postcolonial collections and content held at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision using digital tools
  • develop and maintain contacts with postcolonial heritage user groups in the Netherlands
  • organize a participatory workshop in coordination with partners and stakeholders
  • report on findings for stakeholders in the form of recommendations and guidelines
  • produce academic publications


  • a PhD degree in the Humanities or Social Sciences
  • expertise in Dutch colonial history or heritage, with relevant language skills a plus
  • expertise in archival studies and/or media studies
  • affinity with digital tools and methods
  • proven organizational, administrative and leadership skills

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a  gross monthly salary of € 3.491 (scale 10.5). The job profile  'Onderzoeker 4' is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 0.8 FTE (fte may be adjusted in the initial phase, if needed to accommodate other commitments).
The initial employment contract starts on 1 June 2021 and will affect a period of 1 year, with the possibility of a one-year extension. 

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment

  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.

Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 1,300 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button until April 10, 2021.

Your application must consist of the following:

  • a detailed letter of motivation, stating your motivation for applying, and why yo are an excellent candidate for the role (no more than 750 words)
  • a full academic CV, including a list of publications
  • one relevant writing sample (maximum 10,000 words)
  • 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 19 and 20 April, most likely online, for example via Zoom.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:
Name: Prof. dr A.W. (Alec) Badenoch
Position: Endowed Professor Transnational Media

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