KU Leuven

Interdisciplinary Explorations in Photography

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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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(ref. ZAP-2021-119)

The research units Inter-Actions of LUCA School of Arts and the Institute for Media Studies of the Faculty of Social Sciences (KU Leuven) jointly have one full-time position vacant. Ninety percent of the position is fulfilled as a lecturer at LUCA School of Arts in Genk (C-Mine), the remaining ten percent as a member of the ‘independent academic staff’ (ZAP) at the Institute for Media Studies on the Social Sciences campus in Leuven. LUCA School of Arts The main assignment (90%) within the appointment at LUCA School of Arts includes a clear research and teaching mission. LUCA School of Arts offers space – physically and virtually – to grow and stimulate artistic, technical and design talent. It is a meeting place for many cultures and nationalities, a laboratory where regional and international art is made accessible. To this end, LUCA offers contemporary artistic and design-oriented education with a focus on research. LUCA trains students with a critical view and broadly applicable qualities. Reflection and theoretical foundation are important, as well as coordination with the professional field and the alumni. There is a very diverse range of programmes, profiled around spearheads, and spread across five campuses. LUCA's educational courses include professional, academic and advanced programmes: Product Design, Audiovisual & Visual Arts and Music & Drama and the professional programmes Visual Design, TV-Film, Photography, Interior Design and Construction. LUCA combines the renowned art colleges Sint-Lucas Ghent, Sint-Lukas Brussels, Narafi (Brussels), Lemmens Institute (Leuven) and campus C-Mine (Genk). Within the campus in Genk, the new colleague will be embedded in the research unit Inter-Actions. Inter-Actions brings together a series of research clusters on topics including sustainable design, meaningful play and care & empathy. The research work at Inter-Actions mainly zooms in on research and creation where the relationship between the maker (designer, animator, filmmaker, etc.), the created artefact (film, photographic work, etc.) and the 'audience' (the user, the viewer, etc.) is questioned. Institute for Media Studies (IMS) of the KU Leuven The second part (10%) of the vacant position involves an appointment as a member of the ‘independent academic personnel’ (ZAP) at the Institute for Media Studies, embedded in the KU Leuven Faculty of Social Sciences. KU Leuven is one of the leading academic institutions in Europe and its mission is to provide excellent academic education, research and service. KU Leuven is a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and is consistently ranked within the top 10 universities in Europe. Leuven is a historic yet dynamic and vibrant city in the centre of Belgium, twenty minutes from Brussels and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam. Within the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Institute for Media Studies (IMS), in addition to the School for Mass Communication Research (SMCR), is a research unit dedicated to the study of media and communication in society. The focus is on the analysis of media content, its production, effects and use, usually in relation to society and social issues. Much attention is paid in the research to the consequences of the far-reaching digitisation of communication. The IMS is known for its broad orientation, openness and diversity within the team of employees, and this translates into a variety of theoretical perspectives, questions and quantitative and qualitative methodologies in research.

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The research assignment comprises artistically oriented scientific research with a view to developing a research cluster in line with the following context:

  • Rationale: The digitisation of the photographic medium has caused a disruptive upheaval in contemporary visual culture, leading us to consider the digital image as the norm. The naturalisation of the digital image has made it inseparable from the way we perceive, represent and experience our world, ourselves and others. This hyper-documented world, in which thousands of selfies are uploaded in a fraction of a second, automated cameras record every street corner and algorithms increasingly determine our visual culture, is causing a profound shift in our approach to the image, its relationship to society and our view of reality. This process of progressive digitisation and screen culture therefore not only affects the photographic image, but also the social, political and cultural field. The omnipresence of the visual in our mediated culture, with new forms that did not exist two decades ago (for instance, VR, emoticons, memes, deep fakes, viral social media videos), forces us to ask new research questions on media aesthetics and media experiences, the processing of digital media content, human-technology interactions, visual literacy, and visual communication. We may say that we have entered a post-digital era in which we can critically question and dissect this naturalisation of the digital image.
  • The research programme of this vacancy aims to investigate how photography moves, changes and transforms in this complex post-digital world, and how it can increase its capacity for action (agency) by blending with other domains, disciplines, participatory design methods and technologies. It examines how photography and contemporary visual culture has changed (in the past), is changing (in the present) or can/will change (as a possible future) as a result of the development of digital cameras and computational photography, leaving room for exploration, deep insights, reflection, experimentation and creation in dialogue with other disciplines, including social sciences, such as communication sciences and media studies, as well as disciplines in science and technology.
    In this profile we see a maker and an analytical thinker, with a strong feel for the post-digital visual culture and a great research interest in reflecting on, experimenting with and creating within and beyond the boundaries of what was, is and will be.

Within this context, the intention is to find connections with the research programme of LUCA School of Arts as well as with one or more lines of research of the IMS. In view of the interdisciplinary nature of this vacant position, the explicit intention is to bring research at both locations closer together and to facilitate the added value of interdisciplinary cooperation on both a national and international level.
At both locations, research cooperation can take the form of recruiting external project funding, supervising PhD students, interdisciplinary PhD tracks, postdoc tracks and science dissemination.


The teaching assignment at LUCA School of Arts consists of providing academic art education and supervision. The teaching assignment consists of designing educational activities, study counselling or educational concepts in order to provide education tailored to the needs of the student audience; guiding students in conceiving both the artistic and reflective components of final dissertations and interim research assignments; to be the lecturer and coordinator of a number of course units; to supervise assistants within a course unit or a cluster of course units and to take up teaching assignments, in line with the context of the profile vacancy and to contribute to the development of the learning lines in the Genk Fine Arts programme: Experimental Imaging and Future Framing.
There are also opportunities to join relevant educational activities linked to the two research groups on communication sciences at KU Leuven, IMS and SMCR. These research groups are jointly responsible for the organisation of the Bachelor and Master in Communication Sciences, the English-language Master in Digital Media and Society, the Master in Business Communication and the Master in Journalism. Opportunities to be involved in this educational programme include giving guest lectures and supervising master's theses. 


This vacant post also includes scholarly, community and internal service at the LUCA School of Arts and IMS. This manifests itself through constructive contribution to teaching and research as partly collective projects of a team, for example through participation in meetings, teacher days, information events, recruitment activities and exchange programmes). In addition, active participation in the academic debate, for example by taking part in conferences, and in councils or committees (artistic organisations, socio-cultural associations, etc.) and any form of engaging in public debate (about your research) are part of your duties.


• Holding PhD in the visual arts or a related degree
• Having a strong research file; international research experience is an important asset
• Having strong didactical skills
• Representing an enthusiastic, entrepreneurial trigger with inventive ideas and organisational competences
• Being communicative in Dutch and English in accordance with the language requirements that apply in higher education. The management language of KU Leuven is Dutch. If at the time of recruitment the candidate does not know Dutch or knows it insufficiently, KU Leuven provides a training offer that should allow you to participate in board meetings.


LUCA School of Arts, C-Mine campus (Genk) offers a 90% permanent appointment and KU Leuven, Faculty of Social Sciences (Leuven) a 10% temporary appointment. The appointment at LUCA School of Arts is at lecturer level (salary scale 528 or 512 if combined with substantial side activities of an artistic nature) and appointment at a later stage is possible according to the existing rules and procedures. At the Institute for Media Studies, appointment as a member of the academic staff (scales 142 / 14) is renewable after a positive evaluation. More information on the salary scales can be found on the website of the Education Department (www.ond.vlaanderen.be).|


More information on the link with LUCA School of Arts can be obtained from Niels Hendriks (coordinator research unit Inter-Actions – tel. +32 24471098, Email niels.hendriks@luca-arts.be) and Maarten Vanvolsem (vice-dean of education – maarten.vanvolsem@luca-arts.be). For the KU Leuven part, information can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Baldwin Van Gorp (research coordinator IMS – tel.: +32 16 32 32 79, Email: baldwin.vangorp@kuleuven.be) and Prof. Dr. Steven Eggermont (Dean Faculty of Social Sciences – tel.: +32 16 32 38, Email: steven.eggermont@kuleuven.be).

For more information please contact Dr. Niels Hendriks, tel.: +32 2 447 10 98, mail: niels.hendriks@luca-arts.be or Prof. dr. Baldwin Van Gorp, tel.: +32 16 32 31 79, mail: baldwin.vangorp@kuleuven.be.For problems with online applying, please contact solliciteren@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than February 28, 2022 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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Interdisciplinary Explorations in Photography
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
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