Postdoc position in museology, materiality studies and object-based engagement

Copenhagen University
April 30, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate for a three-year postdoc project commencing 1 August 2024. The position is available via a Carlsberg Semper Ardens Accelerate-funded project called “Health Matters: Complexity and materiality in the medical museum,” conducting historical and museological studies of health complexity (PI: Associate Professor Adam Bencard), at Medical Museion, the University of Copenhagen's museum for the culture and history of medicine.

The project – about Health Matters Many disease states today are complex, involving the interaction of biological, social, psychological, and economic processes that may be non- linear, adaptive, and have other features of complex systems. This demands new methods and new approaches in health research, but also concerns the public as they are increasingly presented with multi-dimensional science that complicates more linear understandings of health and illness. Health complexity thus challenges both how we understand health – at individual as well as societal levels – and how we might begin to talk about it in ways that are responsive to the underlying complexity.

Health Matters takes up this problem by asking: How might we engage publics in health complexity, in ways that remain true to the non-reductionist, non- linear nature of complex systems? Health Matters approaches this problem through a particular medium: The medical museum. The project proposes that medical museums have a set of tools – historical objects, spaces and curatorial expertise – that are uniquely suited to the challenge of discussing health complexity. The central research proposal of Health Matters is that objects and stories from history of medicine through their materiality can facilitate encounters with health complexity that are responsive to the non- linear and entangled nature of health and bodies.

Within this larger project frame, the postdoctoral fellow will focus on theories and ideas of materiality and the ways in which objects can facilitate encounters with health complexity. The goal is to develop interesting frameworks that help to elucidate the capacity of objects to both confound, expand and resonate with experiences of health complexity. In this way, the project also aims to contribute to a vital ongoing museologial rethinking of the uses, value and purpose of collections in university museums and beyond.The postdoc will also be responsible for trying out some of these ideas through annual workshops at Medical Museion (designed in collaboration with the PI), in which complexity researchers will be brought together with various stakeholder groups (patient organizations, policy makers, etc.). The outcomes and experiences from these workshops will be used in further work in the group and will also be used to generate a handbook on complexity engagement for health complexity researchers.

Place of employment The postdoc will be based at Medical Museion. The candidate is expected to also contribute to teaching of courses offered by Medical Museion and the Institute for Public Health.

Supervision The principal supervisor will be Associate Professor Adam Bencard. The postdoctoral fellow will also be able to collaborate with and benefit from feedback from researchers at the Copenhagen Center for Health Complexity, a newly established research center at the University of Copenhagen, Department of Public Health.

Who are we looking for? We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic postdoctoral fellow with the following competencies and experience:

  • Applicants should have a PhD degree (see specifications below) and educational background in a discipline of relevance for the Health Matters project, e.g., museology, philosophy of materiality, anthropology of objects, museum studies, science and technology studies, anthropology of health and medicine, or a related field of study.
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in thinking with and about museum objects and collections, and preferably an established research record of thinking about theories of materiality and object-based engagement.
  • Applicants should have good English skills, both written and spoken. Danish language skills are considered an advantage, as the project also involves participating in the planning and execution of public workshops in the museum.
  • It is considered an advantage that candidates have an interest in and possibly experience with science and medical museums.
  • It is desirable for candidates to be comfortable working in research groups and have an interest in collaborative work.
  • About Medical Museion and its research environment The Medical Museion is a University Medical Museum at the Department of Public Health. It combines an interdisciplinary research group that looks at health and medical sciences in their cultural, historical, and philosophical context. The Center's scientific research invokes fundamental questions about the relationship between medical science, clinical medicine and human experience; and the Medical Museion's starting point is that biomedical research is an integral part of culture and history. We produce exhibitions, events, collection projects, and online communication, all informed by both biomedical science and our humanities research program covering philosophy of science, history of science, medical humanities, STS, museology, and anthropology.

    Terms of employment Employment as a postdoctoral fellow is full time and for a maximum 3 years.

    The terms of employment and salary are in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC).

    Foreign and Danish applicants may be eligible for tax reductions, if they hold a PhD degree and have not lived in Denmark the last 10 years.

    The position is covered by the Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities 2020.

    Responsibilities and tasks

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision at the host institution
  • Organize and run a series of object-based workshops at Medical Museion
  • Participate in active research environments on health complexity and object-based engagement
  • Perform teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Application and Assessment Procedure Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

  • Cover letter explaining your qualifications and research focus (max. one page)
  • Motivation letter explaining your reasons for applying for this particular postdoc. The motivation letter should include a suggestion for a potential project on consumer medicine, including a motivation for the study, research questions, and methodology. (max. two pages)
  • Curriculum vitae including information about your education, work experience (e.g., teaching), language skills, and other skills relevant for the position.
  • Original diplomas (bachelor's and master's degree or equivalent) and a transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation, if issued in a language other than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  • A writing sample (e.g., PhD thesis, published journal articles or other relevant material)
  • Publication list (if available)
  • Application deadline: 30 April 2024, 23:59 CET We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the above-mentioned requirements.

    The further process After the deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified whether your application will be selected for assessment.

    The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at https: //

    Questions For specific information about the position, please contact Adam Bencard ([email protected]).

    General information about PhD study at the Faculty of HEALTH is available at the PhD School's website: https: //

    The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position.

    Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe's top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

    From this employer

    Recent blogs

    Recent news