PhD position in Arctic Digital Media (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Arts


Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, University of Groningen, V23.0792

Job description

We are seeking self-motivated applicants for a four-year PhD position focusing on digital media practices of Iglulingmiut (Inuit) in the Foxe Basin region of Nunavut, Arctic Canada. Complementing intergenerational (oral) traditional-knowledge sharing, digital media activities have become crucial to navigating and responding to the dynamic topography and biogeography of the region. This media engagement–often coupled with traditional activities, such as subsistence hunting, takes many forms: spatial tagging and locative media, climatic media, data visualizations, GIS mapping, use of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) (or drones), videography, and networked communications via digital platforms.

Digital Indigenous studies scholars have stated that digital spaces are contiguous with Indigenous territories. How might this insight be brought to bear on how Indigenous individuals and organisations in the Foxe Basin region regularly produce, deploy, modify, repair, and repurpose digital media technologies and infrastructures? In keeping with scholarship in the field of environmental film and media studies, how might attending to these practices help us to reconsider current accounts of polar media? We also hope to directly address how digital media is influenced by–and has the capacity to influence–the climate crisis as experienced by residents of a region likely to feel its effects first and most dramatically.

The successful candidate, who will be expected to carry out limited, supervised fieldwork with Iglulingmiut in and around the Nunavut community of Iglulik (aka, Igloolik; pop. ~2000), will address these questions directly, producing original research on how digital media have become key elements of the Inuit ‘toolkit.’

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university offering high-quality teaching and research. Its 34,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study- and career paths. The University of Groningen is an international centre of knowledge: It belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is allied with prestigious partner universities and networks worldwide.

The Faculty of Arts is a large, dynamic faculty in the heart of the city of Groningen. It has more than 5000 students and 700 staff members, who are working at the frontiers of knowledge every day. The Faculty offers a wide range of degree programmes: 15 Bachelor's programmes and over 35 Master's specialisations. Our research, which is internationally widely acclaimed, covers Archaeology, Cultural Studies, History, International Relations, Language and Literary Studies, Art History, Linguistics, and Media and Journalism Studies.

The successful candidate will be supervised by dr. J.D. Schnepf and dr. Sean Desjardins, and will be based at the Faculty’s Arctic Centre (est. 1970), the premiere Dutch polar research centre, whose staff specializes in the cultural and ecological systems of the Arctic and Antarctic—as well as the policies and legal systems thereof. The candidate will work closely with graduate/post-graduate researchers in TRACES (Tracking long-term resilience in Arctic socio-cultural-ecological systems), a five-year, ERC-funded project on better understanding past and present Inuit perspectives on environmental health and human/nonhuman-animal relationships in northern Foxe Basin.


To be competitive for the position, prospective candidates must have

- a Master’s degree in a relevant humanities or social science discipline (e.g., Media Studies, Environmental Studies, Sociology, Geography, Anthropology, or Indigenous Studies)
- training and experience conducting social-scientific fieldwork, including the use of qualitative research methods, such as interviewing
- excellent interpersonal skills; and
- an excellent command of written and spoken English.

The following would be assets for prospective candidates:

- training and experience using GIS
- familiarity with media theories and subfields relevant to polar media
- experience making ethics applications for research involving human participants
- passing comprehension of French; and

Knowledge of Dutch is not required.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, we offer

- a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the final year, based on a full-time position
- a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
- an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
- a temporary 1.0 FTE appointment for a specified period of four years. The candidate will first be appointed for twelve months. After six months, an assessment will take place of the candidate’s results and the progress of the PhD project, in order to decide whether employment will be continued
- the PhD candidate is expected to conduct a total of 0.4 FTE teaching during the second, third and fourth year of their appointment
- excellent work-life balance
- willingness to move and reside in the Netherlands.

For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:

The appointment will ideally commence on May 1, 2024.

Job Application

Your application packet (see submission instructions below) should include: - a motivation letter—max 1,000 words—clearly indicating your interest in the position and highlighting reasons you believe you are a well-qualified candidate - a brief, up-to-date curriculum vitae that focuses on aspects that are directly relevant to the position - copies of MA diploma (if available) and list of grades - copy of MA thesis (if available) - a writing sample in the form of an academic research thesis or publication in English (not to exceed 20 pages) - names and contact information of two academic references (Please do not submit letters of reference. If necessary, we will contact the referees ourselves). You may apply for this position until 7 January 11:59pm / before 8 January 2024 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website). Interviews of shortlisted candidates will be held in the week 22-26 January 2024. The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen. Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr. J.D. Schnepf

Dr. Sean Desjardins

Flip Kramer, for practical information

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V23.0792

Digital application form