Centre for Games and Play (ARCHIVED VERSION)


Vacancies: 2 PhD Researchers ERC Project ‘Charting the Digital’ (2,0 fte)

Good news: Sybille Lammes’ Charting the Digital research project is now looking to fill two PhD positions! Here’s the text for the job as found on the Utrecht University vacancies website:

Job description
Two PhD positions are now available as part of the ERC funded project ”Charting the Digital: Digital Mapping Practices as New Media Cultures”.

The key objective of this research programme is to investigate to what extent and how digital maps can be considered as new techno-cultural phenomena that have altered our way of being in and moving through our spatial environments. Digital maps allow a greater degree of interaction between users and mapping interfaces than analogue maps do. Instead of just reading maps, users have far more influence on how maps look. Whether a navigation device that adjusts its route-display according to where the driver chooses to go, or a map in a computer-game that is partly created by players, maps have become more interactive and are now co-produced by their users.

This project works from the notion that digital mapping always takes place via interfaces. As the term already indicates, interfaces facilitate interaction between map and user. However, this study will not view interfaces as empty vessels that let this interaction ‘come to pass’ but as material signs that are inscribed with socio-spatial ‘programs of action’ (Latour 1999,1993).

The main task of the students will be to contribute to a critical inventory of the corpus of digital mapping practices that exist, by analysing and comparing them through this theoretical lens. The candidates will focus on how interfaces as technological artefacts act as such mediators – creating and prescribing links between users and spaces – and how they compare in this respect. The aim is to look for similarities and differences between various kinds of digital mapping interfaces in terms of what spaces they produce and connect.

For their dissertation both students will concentrate on one kind of mapping interface, that will be analysed and compared in more detail, as representing an important point in the overall spectrum of digital mapping interfaces. It will be essential that the students are able to situate this case in this broader spectrum, which requires a firm theoretical and interdisciplinary understanding of the role that digital media play in daily life.

Candidates with a strong background in New Media Studies, Science and Technologies Studies (STS) or Human Geography who are interested in crossing disciplinary boundaries are encouraged to apply. The positions will be available to applicants on a competitive basis and to whom, in their research proposal, can clearly demonstrate the academic excellence that is relevant to the project.

The candidate is offered a full-time position for 4 years. Salary starts at € 2,042.- and increases to € 2,612.- gross per month in the fourth year of the appointment.

The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. In addition we offer: a pension scheme, a partially paid parental leave, flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

The research group will provide the candidate with necessary support on all aspects of the project.

About the organisation
The Department of Media and Culture Studies is the faculty home of all researchers in the programmes Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Communication and Information Studies and Musicology. The department’s research concentrates on the performance character of media and the performing arts from three different perspectives: heritage, transmediality and media and culture in daily life.

Within the department, the New Media and Digital Culture group consists of an enthusiastic international team of scholars that investigate diverse phenomena such as games, social media, data visualizations, software, mobile technology, and digital music. We encourage a study of new media technologies in their specific social, cultural, and political contexts.

Additional information
Interviews with selected candidates will take place in the second half of May. An assessment questionnaire will be part of the procedure. The projects will start in September.

For an informal discussion about the posts, please contact Dr. Sybille Lammes (project leader): s.lammes@uu.nl

Website: www.digitalcartography.eu

Please send with your application a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae, your research proposal (in English and not exceeding 1000 words) and the contact details of at least two references.

Apply until: 31/03/2012

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