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PhD Position on making, crafts and circular urban economies in Europe (1.0 FTE)

Research / Academic
Rotterdam

Crafting Future Urban Economies’ comparatively examines the role of crafts in post-industrial urban economies in Europe, at a time when fast-paced urbanization is challenging cities around the world to find more circular and localised forms of manufacturing and consumption. Making, customizing and reusing things and working with one’s hands have experienced a surge in interest in recent years. They are seen as meaningful and self- expressive activities, as a way to manage resources more responsibly, and as an alternative to mass production and consumption. Maker fairs, Fab Labs and makerspaces are popping up in cities around the world. This project investigates how this renaissance of craftsmanship and local making can help tackle two related challenges: strengthening local economies in post- industrial cities building on their unique local histories and skills, while supporting their transition to more circular and sustainable forms of production and consumption. 

In particular, this PhD project attends to emerging crafts and making practices that engage in the customizing, reusing and recycling of materials. It also explores how makers relate to digitization and to the connections between technological innovations and the legacy of craft skills. The PhD project focuses on the following research questions: how is the urban legacy of craft skills put to work in new forms of (digital) local making and in the reuse and recycling of resources? 

In order to answer this research question, the PhD candidate is expected to conduct fieldwork in different European cities, including Athens and/or Warsaw. The empirical component involves interviews and participant observation with makers and craftsmen and women in the selected case study cities. The comparative approach enables a more fine-grained understanding of present-day making and its unique role in local contexts, while uncovering general dynamics at work, and transferable and scalable best practices.

The candidate will be appointed for a period of four years, and she/he will be located in Rotterdam, but an important part of the data collection will take place abroad (including Athens and/or Warsaw). 

Research duties (80%)

•    Conducting PhD research within the framework of the ‘Crafting future urban economies’ project;

•    Contributing to data collection and analysis for the project;

•    Publishing research articles in international peer reviewed journals and presenting papers at international academic conferences;

•    Writing a PhD dissertation within the appointment duration of four years;

•    Defending the PhD dissertation to obtain the doctoral degree;

•    Assisting in the organization of workshops and knowledge utilization activities connected to the ‘Crafting future urban economies’ project;

•    Actively participating in the wider research community at the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture (ERMeCCOpent extern) and the Erasmus Vital Cities and CitizensOpent extern initiative. 

Teaching duties (20%)

•    Preparing and teaching lessons in the context of the various degree programmes in the field of Arts and Culture Studies on offer at the department; 

•    Supervising and coaching students, for example as part of a bachelor thesis trajectory; 

•    Participating in teaching-related committees or working groups. 

Requirements:

We expect candidates to have:

•    a completed Master’s degree or equivalent with a relevant specialization within the social sciences or humanities (for example economic geography, sociology of culture, or urban studies). 
•    Wide ranging knowledge and affinity with crafts, creative economies and circularity research and debates;
•    familiarity with and keen interest in qualitative research methods;
•    independent thinking and critical analytical skills;
•    good collaboration skills and an ability to join interdisciplinary and intercultural academic communities;
•    independence, organizational and interpersonal skills, supporting contacts with multiple stakeholders;
•    preferably knowledge of the Polish or Greek languages;
•    excellent oral and written communication skills in English. Non-English native speakers have to meet the C1 standard of the Common European Framework (CEF);
•    motivation to carry out high level research and (a demonstrated ability to) publish in top peer reviewed international journals. 

While the working language for the project is English, candidates who demonstrate ability to collect data in Greek or Polish are strongly encouraged to apply. Candidates from minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Salary Benefits:

Employment starts preferably by 1st February 2020. The initial contract will be running for a term of 1,5 years, which - depending on performance – will be extended with a second term of 2,5 years. Remuneration will be in accordance with the PhD scale set by the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU). Fulltime work (38 hours a week) will pay € 2.325.- before taxes in the first year, going up to € 2.972.- in the fourth year.
EUR offers a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end allowance of 8.3% per year and there are generous opportunities for additional education.

Address:

Burgemeester Oudlaan