PhD scholarship at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies

The Department of Arts and Cultural Studies in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen is inviting applications for 1 three-year PhD scholarship starting on February 1st 2024. The position is fully funded for 3 years. 

The PhD position is part of a research project, Data Loss: the Politics of Disappearance, Destruction and Dispossession (DALOSS), financed by the European Research Council (ERC) and led by Associate Professor Nanna Bonde Thylstrup. Applicants are requested to explicitly situate and develop their research plan within the overall DALOSS project, yet within this framework individual and original research ideas are highly encouraged.

About the project
DALOSS is dedicated to interdisciplinary and collaborative research into data loss as a constituent part of digitization and datafication, that is also steeped in political and ethical considerations. The project is infused by an interdisciplinary ambition to mobilize distinct, but integrated approaches, to challenge and complement existing research paradigms of data loss through empirical examples and theoretical frameworks across different disciplines, sectors, and societal levels.

DALOSS has two main objectives, one substantive and one theory-building:

  • To investigate and create unique insights into ongoing practices and processes of data loss and their political implications for the development of digital knowledge infrastructures in societies.
  • To develop new theories on the politics of data loss within the changing interrelations of digital infrastructures, power dynamics and social practices; thereby situating data loss as a central research concern for humanistic and social science studies.

This is an important and timely moment to examine the politics of data loss. We are at a stage in the digitization of European societies where public and private individuals, communities, organizations and states are increasingly confronted by a variety of complex data loss problematics. The current and ad hoc responses to data loss moreover carry important political implications for both individuals and democratic structures. Europe has championed the Right to Be Forgotten, but still faces new and difficult questions about what it means to lose or destroy data in computational regimes, and what potential future losses could mean for fundamental rights of data subjects.

DALOSS’s rich potential lies in its ambition to provide a novel systematic study of data loss as part of ongoing digitization and datafication processes, which will provide new critical insights into the political, social and infrastructural implications of data loss.

The position
DALOSS is conceptually organized around three overlapping conceptual themes, corresponding to a specific form of data loss: Disappearance, Destruction, Dispossession, and empirically organized around digital infrastructures. We are looking for a researcher who wishes to conduct research within this conceptual and empirical framework. The PhD project is expected to explore mundane infrastructures and experiences of, and responses to, data loss in digital preservation settings (broadly understood). From a methodological standpoint, one potential approach could involve, but would not be limited to, exploring how understandings of data loss are generated and measured in digital preservation, what risks and opportunities are associated with data loss, and how these understandings influence actors’ understanding of its political stakes. A comparative perspective across different institutions, actors and political contexts is possible, but not required. Methods may include interviews and observation studies; analysis of scientific and policy papers; software and hardware analysis; and experiments with linkrot scoping, digital forensics, and reference-rot detection. Engagements with feminist, post/decolonial and Global South/Majority World perspectives are especially welcome. 

We welcome applications from scholars who hold (or near completion of) an MA in any humanistic or social scientific field, including (but not limited to): Anthropology; Communication; Cultural Studies; Geography; History (of Science and/or Technology); Information Studies; Media Studies; Sociology; or STS. Applications from scholars with an MA in science, engineering, or other technical fields are also invited to apply, so long as the social dimensions of the project are core to their work. The candidate should have a keen interest in questions related to memory and forgetting, digital infrastructures and data economies. Prior knowledge of these subjects is advantageous but not required.

As a PhD-student with DALOSS, you will be part of a dynamic team of researchers in the heart of Copenhagen. You will actively participate in the overall research project, from data collection to analysis and dissemination; from identifying promising case-studies to the writing of articles; from organizing workshops and contributions to the website and project volumes, and everything in between. Within the wider scope of the project, you will be able to craft your own sub-project, resulting in a PhD thesis that will both contribute to the project's overall aims and present a detailed and in-depth study of its own. As such, there will be ample space to bring in and further develop your own skills, experience, and expertise, whilst at the same time working with other team members operating at the cutting-edge of research.

An Equal Opportunity Workplace
University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society, and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates, regardless of their personal backgrounds. For more information on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University’s participation in the HRS4R HR Excellence in Research, see

Recruitment seminar
Two online recruitment seminars will take place on 26 September (10-11 and 15-16 CEST). The seminars involve an introduction to DALOSS as well as a presentation of expectations regarding applications. There will be time for questions and exchanges. Link to registration can be found at

For more information
Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Associate Professor Nanna Bonde Thylstrup ( for more information about the DALOSS project.

Information about the PhD programme
PhD studies consist of research programmes that qualify students for independent and wide-ranging research, development and teaching at international level. The main emphasis is on PhD students organising and conducting their own research project (under supervision). The programme culminates in the submission of a PhD thesis, which the student must defend in public. The programme is prescribed to 180 ECTS points, corresponding to three years of full-time study.

A PhD opens up a range of career opportunities in academia and elsewhere. As well as writing a thesis, PhD students work in active research environments in Denmark and abroad. They contribute to the academic environment, take research training courses and convey the results of their research in teaching, at academic conferences and to the general public.

Qualification requirements
Applicants must have a two-year Master’s degree (120 ECTS) or equivalent and, as a minimum, have submitted a Master’s thesis for which they have received pre-approval at the time of application.

The qualifications of applicants with non-Danish Master’s degrees will be assessed to ascertain whether they correspond to the Danish level. For further information, please refer to the website of the Ministry of Education and Research:

Applicants must possess skills in written and spoken academic English at a high level. If deemed necessary, the department may request that applicants document their English skills.

All applications must be submitted online, in PDF or Microsoft Word format, via the link “Apply for the position” at the bottom of the page.

The application must include:

1. Project abstract (max.1,200 characters with spaces)

2. Personal statement (max. one page)
In their personal statements, applicants are encouraged to:

  • outline how the PhD project relates to other research activities at the department, including the availability of supervisors.
  • describe as clearly as possible their competencies and personal qualifications relevant to the PhD programme.

3. CV
Applications must be accompanied by a CV ( page) and a list of publications, where relevant.

4. Documentation (diplomas and transcripts)

Applicants must upload the following:

  • A copy of their Master’s degree diploma or similar (if this is not available by the application deadline, applicants must document pre-approval of their Master’s thesis)
  • A copy of their Master’s degree transcript
  • A copy of their Bachelor’s degree diploma
  • A copy of their Bachelor’s degree transcript.

Applicants with a degree from a university where the working language is not English or one of the Scandinavian languages must submit a translation of their Master’s diploma and/or diploma transcripts approved by the Danish embassy or consulate in the country where the original document was issued. These documents must be translated into English, Danish, Norwegian or Swedish. An official description of the grading scale (and a diploma supplement where relevant) must also be attached.

5. Project description
Applications must include a detailed project description covering the problem formulation, overall objectives, methodology, design and timetable (max. five pages/12,000 characters, incl. spaces, excl. bibliography).

Applicants who anticipate incurring extraordinary expenses (related to questionnaires, fieldwork, extended stay(s) abroad, equipment, etc.) must include brief comments about this in their project description.

 Guidelines and good advice on project descriptions are available here.

6. Other relevant material
Statements of consent, e.g. regarding access to special archives and approval of studies abroad, may be submitted along with the applications. It is not necessary to include commitments from supervisors. Please do not upload or submit recommendations, publications, theses, etc.

Assessment criteria
The following criteria are applied when assessing PhD applications:

  • The quality, originality and feasibility of the PhD project
  • Research qualifications, as reflected in the attached CV and project description
  • Competencies and knowledge of relevant fields of academic research
  • Level (grades obtained) of Bachelor and Master’s studies.

The recruitment process
After the deadline for applications, the Head of Department considers advice from the Appointment Committee and then selects applicants for assessment. All applicants will be notified whether or not they have been shortlisted. After this, the Head of Department sets up an expert Assessment Committee to assess the shortlisted applications. The selected applicants will be informed who is serving on the committee. Individual applicants will be offered the opportunity to comment on the committee’s assessment of their application before the appointment is announced.

It is a prerequisite for employment that successful applicants enrol at the PhD School of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen.

For further information about the structure of the PhD programme, please refer to:

For further information about the guidelines for PhD studies at UCPH, please refer to:

Remuneration and terms of employment
Appointment as a PhD Fellow is subject to the collective bargaining agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC).

We seek to reflect the breadth and diversity of society and encourage applications irrespective of personal background.

For further information about the application procedure, please refer to the University of Copenhagen website:

For further information about the structure and rules of the PhD programme, please e-mail the PhD Administration at South and City Campuses, e-mail:

If you have any questions about the academic content of the PhD programme, please e-mail the PhD coordinator at the Department of Arts and Cultural studies, Devika Sharma, e-mail:

For further information about the recruitment process, please contact HR, e-mail: Please refer to ID number 211-1572/23-2I #1.

The deadline for applications is 15 October 2023, at 23:59 [CEST (Central European summer time)].

Any applications or additional material submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

However, changes may be made to the submitted application right up until the deadline.


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.


Application deadline: 15-10-2023
Employment start: 01-02-2024
Department/Location: Institut for Kunst- og Kulturvidenskab
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