January 5, 2022

REPATRIATES project by Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll and open call for PhD fellowship

Central European University

Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll and Nikolaus Gansterer, The Restitution of Complexity, 2018. Performance still. 

Courtesy of Samson Ogiamien and Onyrikon.

Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Procession for Tupaia, Courtesy of Atlantic Project.

Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Procession for Tupaia, 2018

Iyagbon's Mirror, still from a film by Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Courtesy of Onyrikon

Quetzalli, by Claudia Pena Salinas

Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Courtesy of The Atlantic Project

REPATRIATES diagram, by Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll and Nikolaus Gansterer.

Central European University announces the REPATRIATES project by Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll and a call for applications for a fully funded PhD fellowship in Vienna on repatriation.

Artistic Research in Museums and Communities engaged in the process of object repatriation from European collections.

The REPATRIATES research project is seeking to appoint an artistic researcher from Nigeria, Bénin Republic or Mali as an integral member of the wider research team. The position is to be held as a PhD Candidate for three to four years. The appointee is expected to have a developed social practice as an artist, art historian, critical heritage studies practitioner, anthropologist (or related disciplines) as well as a demonstrable knowledge of material culture and techniques of making, and a clear interest in the processes and contexts of the museum/community repatriation experience. Awareness of, and involvement in, current artistic research concerning repatriation by contemporary artists from both Nigeria and Bénin will be significant. The appointee will hold the position of Doctoral Student, and will join an interdisciplinary research team composed of artists, curators, art historians and others based in Australia, Mexico, and Namibia, as well as a range of academic and institutional partners in Paris, Berlin, London and Vienna. The appointee will be expected to work collaboratively with other members of this international team to effect creative, reflexive and analytical research tasks. REPATRIATES is a five year project, awarded two million Euros to artist Professor Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, which offers a structured framework in which to afford research time to individual and collaborative critical analyses of a range of repatriation processes and practices.

Collectively, the wider team has the potential to expand the debate to the infra-politics of the repatriation process, an approach especially relevant in the French context which has seen an exaggerated focus on the legal issue of inalienability, as well as the perception of the initiative as a high-level top-down political strategy. REPATRIATES will help re-evaluate object agency and the cultural impact of these processes in a more holistic way: beyond "contact zones" and "museum frictions", REPATRIATES proposes the restitution process as a means to unsettle calcified power relations between European museums and their transnational stakeholder communities.

Observing the Musée du Quai Branly as a focal point of French debates about restitution a site of intense national and international interest, in parallel to the debate in other European states, this doctoral research will make a key contribution to the comparative research of the overarching REPATRIATES project.

Demonstrable existing working relationships of trust with the stakeholder communities in Africa will be essential to the access required to conduct this research. The post-holder will be working in an international, intercultural, inter-institutional and interdisciplinary context in which a range of highly disparate methodologies, ontologies and epistemologies will be operative concurrently. Furthermore, the subject of the research itself is highly contested in high-level nation-state political and legal arenas as well as in personal, cultural and community arenas.

PhD fellowship
The PhD will be supervised by the project’s Principle Investigator Professor Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll in the Department of History. The fellow will pursue a PhD in Comparative History and will be funded by the European Research Council, Horizon 2020.

Location: Central European University, Vienna, Austria. Research sites will include Bénin Republic or Nigeria (Abuja and/or Abomey and/or Benin City), or Mali, with travel to Paris and Vienna, depending on research focus.

This open call is also available here in French.

Applicants can apply here.

Application deadline: February 1, 2022, 11:59pm (Central European Time).

For more information on the application process, see here. For more information on the thematic area contact Professor Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll on carrollk [​at​]

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