Postdoctoral Researcher / Research Associate / Assistant / Researcher in Education and Belonging

Utrecht University

Postdoctoral Researcher in Education and Belonging


The Department of Education at Utrecht University seeks a postdoctoral research for the education work package of the NWA-ORC funded project Re/Presenting Europe: Popular Representations of Diversity and Belonging.


Research project

The full project consists of work packages that will address representations of belonging in the formal institutional space of schooling as well as informal spaces of community-based education and popular culture. The education work package on which the postdoctoral scholar will work addresses education in both formal and community-based sites of learning (e.g., arts organizations), with a particular focus on the subjects of arts education, Dutch language, and history. The focus is on secondary school students from non-dominant backgrounds as agents who construct their cultural identities and groupings in formal and informal sites of learning in these content areas. As sites of formal learning, schools produce highly visible, dominant representations of social groupings and relations. Students are required to attend school and engage with these representations. However, students also learn in voluntary, informal sites. We compare and contrast sites of learning both inside and outside of school, particularly examining how students and educators co-construct experiences of equitable representation and belonging and how students experience belonging and/or Othering. The focus is on research with and by people in districts and neighborhoods of the Netherlands, based on the assumption that art and culture contribute to a more positive, inclusive society. We collaborate with community partners as sites of out-of-school learning as well as with teachers in schools to provide comprehensive ethnographic portraits of students’ experiences. Based on these experiences, we collaborate with community partners and teachers to renegotiate current educational practices, and to develop more inclusive ones. 


Job description

The postdoctoral scholar will collaborate closely with the work package leader, work package team, community-based partners, and schools to:


  • Conduct a literature review and jointly develop a framework on belonging and representation of historically and contemporarily marginalized student populations in schools;
  • Collect and analyze interview and observation data with secondary students, teachers, and community-based partners to create ethnographic profiles of students;
  • Prepare practitioner-friendly materials based on findings to support the work of professional learning communities (PLCs);
  • Collaborate with researchers at universities of applied science to study the development of the PLCs that engage with findings from the ethnographic study;
  • Position this work within the international field of educational research while particularly focusing on the Dutch and European contexts;
  • Produce rigorous scientific publications;
  • Produce/adapt scientific outputs that are accessible for communities to use in their own practice;
  • Participate in additional project activities.


Required Qualifications

  • Completed PhD in Education, Sociology, or related field;
  • Expertise in interpretive, qualitative research, with a particular focus on ethnography;
  • Knowledge about teaching across educational contexts;
  • Written and oral fluency in Dutch and English.



Preferred Qualifications

  • Oral proficiency in Arabic, Berber, Papiamentu, Turkish, or other language spoken by ethno-racially non-dominant populations living in the Netherlands;
  • Personal and/or professional experience with historical or contemporary underrepresentation or marginalization related to ethno-racial positionality in education;
  • Experience working in schools at the primary or secondary levels;
  • Experience collaborating with educators in school contexts;
  • Experience collaborating with community-based organizations;
  • Experience working with adolescents from diverse backgrounds.


Terms of Employment

We are offering

-          a position (0.8 fte) for a period of five years beginning September 1, 2022. This is a job in which high-quality academic research and societal impact created by research go hand-in-hand. You will be able to organize your own work in collaboration with other team members. Working from home will be possible, although you will be required to attend on-site meetings with collaborators and external partners primarily in, but not limited to, Utrecht.  Travel to data collection sites in Groningen and the G4 will be required;

  • a gross monthly starting salary ranging between € 3,420 and € 3,821 (on a full-time basis, scale 10/11 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities CAO NU) plus a yearly 8% holiday allowance in and an 8.3% end-of-year allowance in December;
  • networking and support for personal development and career planning
  • a wide range of secondary employment conditions, such as excellent technical infrastructure, savings schemes, excellent sports facilities, and parental and maternity leave. More information can be found here;
  • the conditions of employment correspond with the CAO NU;
  • a personal fund to support conference presentations and professional development;
  • membership of a vibrant research and educational community.

About Utrecht University

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht is a young and vibrant city with a large academic population, around 30 minutes south of Amsterdam. It combines a beautiful old city center with a modern university. Utrecht has an excellent quality of life, with plenty of green space and a strong bicycle culture.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. More than 5,600 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues. 


Additional information

For more information, please contact dr. Brianna L. Kennedy at


To apply

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please send a motivation letter including a description of how you meet the job requirements and preferred qualifications, two representative publications, contact information for three professional references and of course a cv via the ‘apply’ button on the website of Utrecht University.

To receive full consideration for this position, submit all required documents by June 7, 2022. This position will remain open until filled.