/ Forschung, Doktorat

Job: PhD-position (SNFS) in Urban Studies / Visual Arts

Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD) – University of Basel

“Decolonizing Socialism: Entangled Internationalism. An Intersectional Study of Cold War Projects from East Germany in Cinema and Cybernetics with Relevance to the 21st Century”

led by Prof. Dr. Doreen Mende, dean of MA in Fine Arts CCC at HEAD – Genève, and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNFS).

Employment rate: 80% appointment of one year renewable, duration of the PhD is four years, subject to successful enrollment in doctoral studies at the University of Basel.

Focus of research

This project explores the relationship between international socialism and decolonization through the lens of urbanism. Of particular interest are under-explored Cold War-era projects at the intersection of urban planning, architecture, art, media, cinema and cybernetics. Through a critical transnational analysis of historical projects, the study aims to contribute to urban and artistic debates on decolonial struggles today. The project asks how Cold-War-era experiments and debates in urbanism and the arts spurred anticolonial and solidarity movements, and how this historical intersection can inform contemporary urban and artistic/curatorial practice.

Your tasks

Apart from pursuing your dissertation research, you will be expected to assist in the administration of the research project. You will have no teaching responsibilities. You will relocate to or live in/near Geneva. You will be expected to participate in international conferences both in academic and artistic environments, submit articles to peer-reviewed journals, and contribute to experimental public platforms.

Your profile

Candidates should have a university-level Master’s degree in urban studies, media studies, architecture, visual cultures, or a related field. They should have a demonstrated ability to conduct urban, historical, curatorial and/or artistic research, and excellent English and German language skills. (Knowledge of French is a plus.) Transcultural competence and a capacity to work independently are desirable assets for the position. The project’s transdisciplinary research approach favors candidates who can demonstrate interest in curating and artistic practice as well as in anti-colonial and anti-fascist movements. Upon selection, the candidate will have to fulfill the conditions for admission to PhD studies in the Humanities Faculty of the University of Basel.

Institutional Setting

Enrolled as a PhD-student with the University of Basel while occupying a workspace at the Institut de Recherche en Art et en Design (IRAD) of HEAD – Genève, the Ph.D. researcher will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Kenny Cupers, Speaker for Urban Studies at the University of Basel (the degree-awarding university) and Prof. Dr. Doreen Mende for Master of Arts CCC of the Department of Fine Arts at HEAD – Genève. The researcher will benefit from an international research network that includes CCC RP research group at the Department of Fine Arts as well as the Institut de Recherche en Art et en Design (IRAD) at HEAD – Genève, the Urban Studies research group at the University Basel as well as researchers at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and the House of World Cultures in Berlin.

What you're offered

You're offered an annually renewable contract for a total of four years in the category of assistant-HES employment at HEAD Genève that is subject to the successful enrollment in doctoral studies at the University of Basel. The position of Doctoral Researcher is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation for the holders of a Master degree.

Your application should include

  • an outline of proposed doctoral research (maximum four pages including the bibliography)
  • a motivation letter (one page)
  • a curriculum vitae (maximum two pages)
  • a portfolio of research, curating, or artistic work
  • an electronic copy of your master’s thesis
  • the names and contact information for two references

Complete applications (as a single PDF document in the order listed above) must be sent in electronic format to rh.head@hesge.ch by 22 May 2020. Interviews will take place online soon after. For further information, please contact ccc.head@hesge.ch. HEAD – Genève and the University of Basel are equal opportunity employers; women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.


Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD)
Bâtiment H, Le Cube   
Avenue de Châtelaine 7
1203 Geneva

T +41 22 388 51 00

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