PhD Fellowships, Digital Visual Studies

PhD Fellowships, Digital Visual Studies

Center for Digital Visual Studies, Max Planck Society and University of Zurich, Sep 1, 2022–Sep 1, 2025
Application deadline: Jun 19, 2022

The Max Planck Society (MPG) and the University of Zurich (UZH) invite applications for interdisciplinary predoctoral fellowships in the field of Digital Visual Studies (DVS) for a duration of 1+2 years. The program is part of a 5-year cross-institutional Digital Humanities research project funded by the MPG, supported by the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History (BHMPI) and collaborating with the Swiss Art Research Infrastructure (SARI) and the UZH Digital Society Initiative (DSI).

The fellows will carry out cutting-edge multidisciplinary research at the intersection of Art and Architectural History and Computer Science in a program specifically designed to tackle the current gap in the use, analysis, and interpretation of digital visual resources. They will profit from access to large, rich, and open datasets provided by several partner institutions in Art History, including the BHMPI. Further digitization required for the research projects will be supported. Data will include:
– 370 000 digital images of works of art (paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, buildings etc.) with rich metadata, and 1.150.000 digitized photographs by end-2022
– rich semantic data about the history of art and architecture in Italy (200.000 relations)
– 1400 digitized books in the history of art with rich metadata, and 14.600 books on Rome and Naples, starting from autumn 2022
– historic maps with annotated geodata for Rome and Naples
– diagnostic and technical information, scientific imaging (X-ray, infrared, microscope) of artworks and books

Ph.D. candidates will have shared access to a Frontend Development Engineer to help with production-ready code and the distribution of prototypes. The academic program will also include input from international Postdoctoral Fellows and Visiting Fellows.
Ideal candidates have expertise (an excellent master’s degree) in one or more of the following areas:
– Machine Learning
– Natural Language Processing
– Computer Vision, Image Processing
– Spatial Humanities and GIS
– Knowledge Representation
– Digital Humanities
– Digital Art History, Art History, Archival Studies in Art History
– Book and Photo History
– Media theory/Artistic Research
– Architectural and Urban Studies
– Social and Historical Network Analysis
– Cultural Analytics, Computational Literary Studies

Accepted PhD candidates will benefit from:
– a competitive salary in an attractive, well-connected, and dynamic European city
– a network of researchers from MPG, BHMPI, UZH, DSI, SARI, ETH Zurich, University of Geneva, and other national and international partner institutions
– a stimulating group of DH specialists working together
– a vibrant intellectual and creative community in Zurich, including UZH, ETH and the University of the Arts (ZHdK)
– designated supervisors
– support from the UZH Graduate Campus
– office space in the center of Zurich
– research residences at the BHMPI in Rome will be organized
– attending and organizing workshops
– social events to build community

We particularly welcome projects inspired by the Research Areas sketched out on the DVS website which themselves relate to specific digital resources. Candidates are invited to upload their applications on the recruitment website of the BHMPI (, including their CV, copies of relevant certificates, names and full contact details of two referees, a statement describing their motivation and personal qualifications, and a research project proposal (non-binding, min. 3 pages with bibliography), specifying whether and how it would rely on the datasets mentioned above. Please specify the Ph.D. program, institute, and possible supervisor at the UZH that you would like to be associated with.
The Call closes on June 19, 2022. Researchers interested in the DVS are invited to consult our website (DVS) and to address inquiries and questions to:

Please see our webpage or check the following links for relevant information:
UZH Doctoral programs: Application and registration
Doctoral Programs at the University of Zurich
UZH Graduate Campus

PI: Prof. Dr. Tristan Weddigen
Scientific Coordinator: Dr. Darío Negueruela del Castillo

Digital Visual Studies
Culmannstrasse 1, 8006 Zürich

Bibliotheca Hertziana    Max Planck Institute for Art History
Via Gregoriana 28, 00187 Rome


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