Call for Applications: Ph.D. Fellowships in Digital Visual Studies

Job Code:

Job Offer from March 19, 2021

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 a number of 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 early-2022
  • very rich semantic data about the history of art and architecture in Italy (200.000  
  • 1.400 digitized books in the history of art with rich metadata, and 14.600 books on  
Rome and Naples, starting from autumn 2021
  • 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 also 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 Ph.D. candidates will benefit from:

  • a competitive salary (with generous social benefits including contributions to a pension fund which can be cashed if you leave the country) 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

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 will remain open until filled. 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  
Research Coordinator: Dr. Darío Negueruela del Castillo  

Digital Visual Studies         
Culmannstrasse 1               
8006 Zuerich              
Bibliotheca Hertziana      
Max Planck Institute for Art History
Via Gregoriana 28
00187 Rome

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