13 PhD positions in the EU Horizon 2020 Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Project: MSCA-ETN-POEM
19. Dezember 2017

The European Training Network Participatory Memory Practices. Concepts, strategies, and media infrastructures for envisioning socially inclusive potential futures of European Societies through culture (POEM) invites applications for 13 PhD fellowships with international focus to be funded by the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie ITN Action as part of the H2020 Programme of the European Commission. POEM is a consortium of high profile universities, acknowledged memory institutions, civil society organizations, and SMEs located in Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and the UK.

Short programme description

Diverging forces across European societies, most visible in both the contemporary nationalist movements and Islamist radicalization, demand a socially inclusive public memory. Its implementation calls for new strategies, practices, and infrastructures for staging and empowering membership and contribution of people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds for past and future development in Europe. To reach this goal, research needs to develop a comprehensive understanding on concepts, practices, and media infrastructures that facilitate the partaking of people from various backgrounds in the heritage building work of memory institutions (libraries, archives, and museums). The Innovative Training Network Participatory Memory Practices. Concepts, strategies, and media infrastructures for envisioning socially inclusive potential futures of European Societies through culture (POEM) will provide this comprehensive knowledge by studying in practice theoretical approaches on how connectivities are built by 1) institutions, 2) people and groups, and 3) media infrastructures for a socially inclusive, participatory heritage work and what facilitates or hinders collaboration. Therefore, a new generation of professionals will be trained through an innovative training programme and supervised by peer networks of transdisciplinary knowledge to act as change agents, brokers, and problem solvers in this contested field of heritage work. The comprehensive transdisciplinary composition of the consortium involving universities, memory institutions, civil society organisations, and SMEs from public and private sectors will therefore provide the POEM fellows with transdisciplinary knowledge on cultural and social analysis as well as on transferrable skills with respect to the changing socio-technical, organisational, legal, economic, and ethical issues to address future challenges for participatory memory work.


Public memory, cultural heritage, social media, digital media, ethnography of infrastructures, empowerment, social entrepreneurship, open knowledge, participatory design, digital heritage, digital museology, co-creation

Number of fellowships available

13 PhD fellowships

Key dates

15.03.2018: Deadline for online application for PhD fellowships

18.05.2018: Recruitment event at the University of Hamburg, Germany (travel expenses will be covered for applicants from EU countries; shortlisted candidates from overseas will be invited to join by videoconference)

01.10.2018: Start date of PhD projects

Host for PhDs

University of Hamburg (Germany), Aarhus University (Denmark), Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus), University of Glasgow (UK), Uppsala University (Sweden), Ashoka UK (UK), Museum Europischer Kulturen in Berlin (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Stiftung Preuischer Kulturbesitz, Germany).

Career Stage

Early stage researcher, i.e., postgraduate with 0-4 years of academic experience

Research Fields

Critical Heritage Studies, Critical Data Studies Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Design Anthropology, Digital Cultures, Digital Anthropology, Digital Heritage, Digital Humanities, Digital Museology, European Ethnology, Human Computer Interaction, Information Behaviour, Information Studies, Media Anthropology, Media Studies, Memory Studies, Museology, Museum Studies, Participatory Design, Science and Technology Studies, Social Anthropology, Software Studies, Visitor Studies, Visual Anthropology, Visual Sociology.

Benefits and salary

The successful candidates will receive an attractive salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. The exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment and is dependent on the country correction factor (to allow for the difference in cost of living in different EU Member States). The salary includes a living allowance, a mobility allowance and a family allowance (if married). The guaranteed PhD funding is for a 3-year full-time contract (i.e. EC funding, additional funding is possible, depending on local supervisor). In addition to their individual scientific projects and the excellent institutional environment, all fellows will benefit from continuing measures for career development, which includes secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses, and active participation in workshops, conferences and public events.

Eligibility criteria

Recognized masters degree in the above-mentioned research fields or other related subjects. To be eligible for admission to the programme students must have a high-quality masters degree or an equivalent academic degree from an internationally recognized university.

Early-stage researchers are those who, at the time of employment by the host university, are in the first four years (or full-time equivalent) of their research careers and not in possession of a doctoral degree. Research experience is calculated from the date they obtained a degree which formally entitled them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate was envisaged.

Conditions of international mobility of researchers: Researchers are required to undertake transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up the appointment. At the time of employment by the host university, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host university for more than 12 months in total during the last 3 years. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account. Please also answer the questions under the heading Application on the POEM website: http://www.poem.uni-hamburg.de/

English language: Applicants must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and oral English is sufficiently advanced for them to fully benefit from the network training. Recognized English language certificates (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS) must be submitted along with the application.

The ETN-POEM is explicitly committed to the principle of equal opportunities. Qualified women are especially encouraged to apply. Severely disabled applicants will be preferentially considered in case of equivalent qualifications. Please note that individual host institutions may have their own additional application requirements. For further information please see: http://www.poem.uni-hamburg.de/.

Recruitment Procedure

Candidates apply electronically in English until 15 March 2018 and are requested to send their application as a PDF file (max. 5 MB) to poem.gwiss@uni-hamburg.de. Applicants can apply for one to maximum two positions and are requested to indicate their preference with the reference number POEM PhD No (see below) in the e-mails subject line and justify their choice in the motivation letter, also answering the questions: For how long have you been working in a field of research? In which countries have you lived since 1 October 2015? The application shall comprise all requested information including:

  • a letter of motivation,
  • detailed up-to date CV
  • relevant documents and copies of diploma such as verified Bachelors and Masters transcripts of records with diploma supplement,
  • proof of sufficient English language skills (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS),
  • two nominated referees that can be contacted,
  • master thesis and sample of academic writing in English (if applicable, e.g. paper, essay, publication, etc.), and
  • project samples like exhibitions, designs, and other portfolio materials or links to external sources (if applicable).

The POEM Recruitment Committee will select and invite shortlisted candidates for a recruitment event which will take place 18 May 2018 at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Travel expenses for candidates from EU countries will be reimbursed. Shortlisted applicants from overseas will be invited to take part by videoconference. The selected candidates may have to work on a case study, provide a 15-minute presentation of their results and be examined by the POEM Recruitment Committees. The starting date for the selected PhDs will be 1 October 2018.

In the first instance, interested applicants are strongly advised to contact the relevant lead supervisor for the specific PhD positions in advance to ensure they are able to meet local prerequisites and application procedures.

Please send your applications to poem.gwiss@uni-hamburg.de.

Please state max. two preferences, i.e. indicate the two PhD topics (see further below) you have most interest in and justify your choice.

Further information about the application may be found at: http://www.poem.uni-hamburg.de/


  • Strong interest in interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Strong motivation to work in a cooperative and flexible team environment.
  • Be prepared to travel and fulfil all secondments.
  • Preparedness to contribute to the to the outreach of the project, especially by: 1. participation in publications in high ranked journals, the development of the POEM toolbox and the POEM model, 2. Active participation at scientific conferences, policy workshops, public debates and panels, etc. at national and EU-level to address scientific communities, memory institutions, cultural industry, IT sector, and the broad public, 3. Participation in media communication (Twitter account, POEM blog and website) as form of research-reflexivity and spreading project information on EU level using European Commissions communication tools.
  • IT knowledge (basic communication skills).
  • For further specific requirements please see project descriptions below.

Key Duties

The post holder will be expected to undertake the programme of work as detailed in the work section of the POEM consortium agreement and MSCA-ETN grant programme.

Key duties include:

  • Progress the research theme with diligence, independently and as part of the wider POEM consortium, with constant reference to innovation.
  • To work closely with other researchers in the collaborating network. This will include travel to other sites for short-term research visits, in addition to the planned longer placements.
  • Attend and present at POEM training activities and meetings as outlined in the wider programme, including at national/international conferences relevant to the research.
  • Undertake secondments as indicated.
  • Report on progress regularly to the network and the rest of the research group.
  • Document their research findings for publication in leading peer-reviewed international journals and conferences.
  • Help plan regular meetings between the network partners and present updates at these meetings.
  • Engage in outreach activities and public dissemination of knowledge.
  • The post holder will also be expected to undertake such other duties, commensurate with the grading of the post, which may be assigned by the grant holder.


DFCEZ9tXYAEH8HfThe 13 available PhD fellowships

The Innovative Training Network POEM takes a relational research approach on the practices through which, institutions, people, and groups as well as memory modalities are building connectivities in memory work. An emphasis will be made on inclusive and empowering practices for groups on the margins, refugees, migrants, colonial groups, disadvantaged young people under consideration of gender questions, and contribute to a new understanding of how a socially inclusive public memory for future possibilities can be created. The connectivity building practices will be studied from three perspectives, memory institutions, people and groups, and memory modalities, each organised in theme assembling complementary perspectives in the
single PhDs research projects.


1. Connectivities built by institutions

PhD 1 Professional take on participation

The project will study how professionals in memory institutions cope with the requirements of PMW in their daily work and how they can integrate participatory ideas and concepts in their professional practices of collecting, sustaining, imparting, and researching. The concepts and understandings of participation of the professionals in memory institutions will be inquired in its variety considering the job roles, gender aspects, and diverse professions. The project creates new knowledge on how professionals frame participation in heritage work and on the organisational changes coming up with these changes. Basic level understanding of written Swedish is an advantage in this project.

Host: Uppsala University, Sweden

Lead Supervisor: Prof Dr Isto Huvila (Isto.huvila@abm.uu.se)

PhD 2 Users motivations for crowdsourcing cultural heritage digital collections

This sub-project will examine the use and the potential of diverse types of crowdsourcing for encouraging participation and co-creation of diverse users in cultural heritage. It seeks to understand what type of engagement with cultural collections crowdsourcing and gamification can support. The project will be testing and evaluating the effectiveness in encouraging user participation and how the user-generated materials can help open up the collections to new audiences and uses. The project creates new knowledge on how professionals frame participation in heritage work and on the organisational changes coming up with these changes.

Host: University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

Lead Supervisor: Dr Maria Economou (Maria.Economou@glasgow.ac.uk)

PhD 3 The role of museums social media for the engagement with arts and culture

The project will research the role of different social networks within museums communication activities and analyse the nature and type of interactions on social media with stakeholders and users for understanding the motivation of users engaging with museum social media about cultural experiences and the impact and quality of this engagement in relation to the offline museum experience. The project creates knowledge on the online social interactions and the impact and quality of these on the cultural experiences of users and stakeholders, as well as the impact on the cultural organisations.

Host: University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

Lead Supervisor: Dr Maria Economou (Maria.Economou@glasgow.ac.uk)

PhD 4 Collaboration and incorporation of vulnerable groups in professional Participatory Memory Work

The sub-project will focus on recent exhibitions, events and collections on the current so-called refugee crisis as well as forced migration more broadly. Via the example of the involved vulnerable groups the study focuses on the conditions and ethics of displaying contemporary (and past) human disasters and on how to incorporate them into public memory. The project will contextualise the activities and impact of memory institutions today in the public debate about current refugees and migration and in the coping of memory institutions with (forced) migration movements in European history. This sub-project interrogates how todays social and cultural inclusive memory work affects the organisation of museums in participatory approaches with mobile and vulnerable groups of refugees and other migrants. Fluency in German (oral and written) is essential. (Working) knowledge of ethnographic methods (especially interview techniques) and experience in analysing media discourses would be an advantage.

Host: Museum Europischer Kulturen in Berlin (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Stiftung Preuischer Kulturbesitz), Germany

Lead Supervisor: Prof Dr Elisabeth Tietmeyer (e.tietmeyer@smb.spk-berlin.de)


2. Connectivities built by people and groups

PhD 5 Sharing vs. collecting? Perceptions of photographs online

The project will develop an understanding of current practices of online photo sharing by investigating peoples perceptions, attitudes, and expectations and their engagement with different Internet platforms. The emphasis is placed on why, how, where and with whom people share photographs and the functions of everyday photography. This project creates knowledge about the perceptions, attitudes, and expectations of online contributors of photography and point towards ways that users can be encouraged to contribute in a meaningful manner to collective online repositories of free-use images. Knowledge and experience with quantitative and qualitative research methodologies will be considered an advantage.

Host: Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus

Lead Supervisor: Associate Professor Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert (theopisti.stylianou@cut.ac.cy)

PhD 6 Future memory making: Prototyping (post-)colonial imaginations with Namibian youth

The project will prototype with young people from Namibia representations of alternative colonial narratives and imaginations. It will engage the youths in exploring and prototyping possible future memories for creating agency in the present: technologically empowered through engagement with digital and visual media; and situated in alternative (digital) worlds in which their voices become an active part of the collective consciousness and commemoration. In the context of design anthropology, participatory design and emerging technologies the project will develop methodologies and concepts for how marginalized communities can be actively co-created and reworked into new ways of making futures.

Host: Aarhus University, Denmark

Lead Supervisor: Assistant Prof Dr Rachel Charlotte Smith (rsmith@cavi.au.dk)

PhD 7 Future memory making: Co-creating (post-)colonial imaginations with youth from Greenland and Denmark

This sub-project will collaboratively explore and experiment with everyday memories of colonialism and their effects upon present identities. Using digital technology and visual media, the projects will research/use everyday stories and identities, local archives, and other resources and analogue materials. It will contrast, discuss, and bridge the perspectives of youths from Greenland and Denmark. In the context of design anthropology, participatory design and post-colonial critique the research project will develop methodologies and concepts for how marginalized communities can be actively co-created and reworked into new ways of making futures.

Host: Aarhus University, Denmark

Lead Supervisor: Prof Dr Ton Otto (ton.otto@cas.au.dk)

PhD 8 Young people empowerment and social inclusion through PMW in Ashoka Changemaker Schools

The research project will study what are the competences, practices, and attitudes that an individual enables to participate in public memory work. It will seek to understand what forms of social organisation support making memories for future possibilities among young people, what encourages participatory memory work (PMW), and under which conditions PMW is empowering for underprivileged school students. Knowledge about forms of social organisation relevant for bottom-up and socially inclusive PMW and qualitative methods/ethnographic research skills are an advantage.

Host: Ashoka UK, United Kingdom

Lead Supervisor: Ross Hall (rhall@ashoka.org) & Prof Dr Gertraud Koch (gertraud.koch@uni-hamburg.de)

PhD 9 Uses of digital cultural heritage databases for peoples memory and identity work

The research project will study how online photographic archives maintained by memory forming institutions (such as museums, archives, and galleries) are used by people and how they may influence national, local, and individual memories and identities. More specifically it examines how people use online photographic archives in memory forming institutions and the meanings of these uses. Understanding the reasons why people use online cultural resources found in memory forming institutions and pointing towards ways that users can be encouraged to use digital cultural heritage resources in a meaningful manner is of special interest for this project.

Host: Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus

Lead Supervisor: Associate Prof Dr Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert (theopisti.stylianou@cut.ac.cy)

3. Connectivities built by memory modalities

PhD 10 Memory modalities in diverse types of memory institutions

The research project will study the nature and quality of digital memory modalities of the involved memory institutions in their socio-technical potential for participatory interaction and in respect to their specific forms in the diverse types of memory institutions. Furthermore, it will collect best practices examples of memory modalities facilitating participatory approaches across European institutions. The expected results shall create knowledge about participation encouraging memory modalities in diverse types of memory institutions and a best practices list as well as to contribute to the tool development of PhD 12. Background or knowledge in Science and Technology Studies (ethnography of infrastructure) and/or Human Computer Interaction, qualitative research competences are an advantage.

Host: University of Hamburg, Germany

Lead Supervisor: Prof Gertraud Koch (gertraud.koch@uni-hamburg.de)

PhD 11 Modalities of personal memory work

The research project will study ordinary peoples practices of doing personal memory work, the forms and the materials they use therefore. It will focus on the practical aspects of collecting, maintaining, and retrieving personal remembrances, as well as the meanings given to the personal memory work. The expected results shall create a typology of individuals memory modalities since a variation across people of different lifestyle groups, ages, and social backgrounds can be supposed. Ethnographic research skills and practice, competences in digital anthropology, good German language skills are an advantage.

Host: University of Hamburg, Germany

Lead Supervisor: Prof Gertraud Koch (gertraud.koch@uni-hamburg.de)

PhD 12 Managing participatory ecologies of memory modalities

The research project will study from an ego-centric perspective how people manage their participation in memory work as membership of diverse networks that constitute the personal participatory ecologies between individuals (professionals, non-professionals), collective, and institutional actors by doing case studies. It will seek to understand the memory modalities, and how they facilitate or restrict in each case the participation envisioned by the people. The expected results shall create new knowledge on the professional engagement in memory practices with other actors in society, a conceptual analytical framework for mapping and visualising participatory ecologies and to provide a functioning proof of concept based on a set of open source libraries (e.g. snap.py, scrapy, Python API wrappers for major social media sites) that can be expanded for a source product in the future, or fully or partially, integrated to or implemented with other tools and frameworks (e.g. Cytoscape, Gephi). The specifications for the tool will be developed on the basis of the empirical research of PhD 12 in close cooperation with the projects of PhD 10, 11, 13.

Host: Uppsala University, Sweden

Lead Supervisor: Prof Dr Isto Huvila (Isto.huvila@abm.uu.se)

PhD 13 Internet ecologies of open knowledge as future memory modalities

The research project will study conditions for the openness of data and business models of sharing cultural materials of public and private providers. It will investigate the diverse qualities of openness of cultural data provided by memory institutions and private providers, i.e. public and private aggregators of cultural data (e.g. Europeana, Digital Repository of Ireland, Google Cultural Institute, Wikimedia), and social media platforms (e.g. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr) on the Internet. The expected results shall create a critical analysis of current models and narratives for cultural online production and distribution online of cultural information as well as proposals for new economic and social models for production and distribution that are open compatible. Knowledge on open data, science and technology studies, internet economy is an advantage.

Host: University of Hamburg, Germany

Lead Supervisor: Prof Gertraud Koch (gertraud.koch@uni-hamburg.de) in close collaboration with Dr Rufus Pollock

General contact

Address for applications: poem.gwiss@uni-hamburg.de

In case of general questions please contact:

Samantha Lutz (Project manager), e-mail: samantha.lutz@uni-hamburg.de

In case of questions to a specific PhD project please contact the lead supervisor:

Dr Maria Economou, e-mail: Maria.Economou@glasgow.ac.uk

Ross Hall, e-mail: rhall@ashoka.org

Prof Dr Isto Huvila, e-mail: Isto.huvila@abm.uu.se

Prof Dr Gertraud Koch, e-mail: gertraud.koch@uni-hamburg.de

Prof Dr Ton Otto, e-mail: ton.otto@cas.au.dk

Assistant Prof Dr Rachel Charlotte Smith, e-mail: rsmith@cavi.au.dk

Associate Prof Dr Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, e-mail: theopisti.stylianou@cut.ac.cy

Prof Dr Elisabeth Tietmeyer, e-mail: e.tietmeyer@smb.spk-berlin.de


This project receives funding from the European Unions Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 764859.