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Danish School of Education - Educational Theory and Curriculum Studies, Aarhus - Faculty: Arts

Postdoctoral position: Games as, through and for culture – Cultural game jams, culturally empowered youth and values-oriented collaboration between culture, industry and research

Deadline 30 Jan 23:59 CET

Expected start 1 Apr

  • Danish School of Education - Educational Theory and Curriculum Studies, Aarhus Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4 8000 Aarhus C

  • Fixed term part-time position 1 Apr 2023 - 28 Feb 2026 26 hours per week ID: 11027

The Danish School of Education (DPU), Faculty of Arts at Aarhus University invites
applications for a postdoctoral position in the Horizon Europe research and innovation project “EPIC-WE: Empowered Participation through Ideating Cultural Worlds and
Environments. Youth imagining, creating and exchanging cultural values and heritage through game-making”, financed by the European Union.

The position is part time (26 hours/week) and is expected to begin on 1 April 2023, or as soon as possible thereafter, and to end 35 months later, on 28 February 2026.

The position is located at DPU, Department of Educational Theory and Curriculum Studies, Aarhus Campus.

The Danish School of Education is committed to diversity and encourages all qualified applicants to apply regardless of their personal background.

Research context
The EPIC-WE Horizon research and innovation project introduces cultural game jams, culture- and value-sensitive game-making and games through and for culture as a novel approach to empower young people as co-creators of European culture and shapers of their own futures in society, cultural institutions (CHIs) and creative industries (CIs). The backbone of the project is the EPIC-WE helix ecosystem – a transferable framework in which young people, CHIs, CIs and higher education institutions (HEIs) cooperate as actors in the ecosystem. EPIC-WE engages in cultural game jams to create games through and for culture inspired by cultural heritage. The framework explores the potentials of this approach as a method for strengthening European values, belonging and cultural participation. Through game-making activities, EPIC-WE will equip young people with cultural-creative imagination and competences to face societal challenges with curiosity, creativity, agency and imagination – what we call “empowered participation”. The project will be carried out as an ambitious Design-Based Research and innovation (DBR) action across three European sites, with EPIC-WE ecosystem actors co-creating and thereby developing, implementing and evaluating the proposed framework. The validated DBR innovations will be presented as accessible resources that enable organisations across Europe to replicate the EPIC-WE ecosystem, formats and methods. Through extensive research, capacity building and policy advocacy activities, EPIC-WE will ensure that the project’s results reach a wide range of European CHI, CI and HEI actors, including the game industry, civil society organisations and young people. The consortium constitutes a helix ecosystem in itself, bringing together leading research, cultural and creative sector organisations with multidisciplinary excellence in DBR, participatory and value-sensitive design, game design and the engagement of young people to empower them as future culture-makers and game-makers in CHIs, CIs and HEIs, and as value-sensitive agents of change in society.

The guiding research questions of the EPIC-WE project are:
RQ1: How can games be understood as significant culture and cultural worlds in their own right while also shaping identities, society and our cultural world in beneficial/harmful ways?
RQ2: How can CHIs together with CIs facilitate cultural game jams to enable the widened and empowered participation of young people in culture and cultural heritage through culture- and value-sensitive game-making?
RQ3: How might young people come to see themselves as cultural game-makers and value-creators through game jamming with European cultures and values? What is the potential value of cultural game jams and helix systems for CHIs, CIs, young people and European society?

More details on the project are available from the project coordinator Rikke Toft Nørgård, email: rtoft@edu.au.dk

The position
The successful applicant will work in close collaboration with the project coordinator (PC) Rikke Toft Nørgård, the project team at AU, and the 11 other project partners in the EPIC-WE consortium. Apart from participating in carrying out the project’s Design-Based Research (DBR), empirical execution and analysis of the EPIC-WE game jams and development and dissemination of EPIC-WE designs and research, the postdoc is expected to take part in coordinating the project on a daily basis in collaboration with the PC. The two primary tasks of the postdoc will be 1) to plan, organise and monitor the different design phases, iterations and tasks of the EPIC-WE DBR project, and 2) to execute, collect and analyse data, and to test evaluate and report on the main empirical investigations of the EPIC-WE project: the EPIC-WE cultural game jams within the EPIC-WE ecosystem. The methods used are DBR, (play/game) design research, ethnographic fieldwork and qualitative as well as participatory research methods. The theoretical sources of inspiration comprise play studies, game (jam) research, design methods and workshops, organisational transformation and innovation models and processes for research-culture-industry partnerships, as well as involving young people in culture and/or game design processes and in relation to the above project description and RQs.

The postdoc is expected to:
  • Be an active collaboration partner in the EPIC-WE project
  • Conduct and complete independent research activities and tasks in conjunction with the project and in collaboration with the group
  • Publish in collaboration with both the AU research group and EPIC-WE consortium partners
  • Conceptualise and carry out design tasks, workshops and activities within the EPIC-WE project
  • Design, carry out, evaluate and report on fieldwork in relation to the EPIC-WE cultural game jams
  • Initiate and organise activities with both internal and external partners of the EPIC-WE project (co-organise and participate in game jams, design workshops, masterclasses for professional development, conferences, seminars, webinars and other related activities).
Applicants for the postdoctoral position must hold a PhD or equivalent qualifications in relation to the fields of play/game studies, education and/or design-based research (or related fields). Applicants must be able to document:
  • Experience of international research publications as well as other forms of dissemination
  • Experience of carrying out design-based research, educational design research, research through design or similar design research methodologies
  • Research targeted at professional development, organisational change and/or cross-sectoral collaboration
  • Experience of carrying out design-based or action research with young people/people in field settings such as game jams, design workshops or play(ful) interventions.
It is also an advantage if applicants can document prior professional experience and/or knowledge of:
  • (International) research teams, projects or networks
  • Participatory research methodologies
  • Designing design kits and workshop materials
  • Dissemination and outreach activities to cultural organisations, higher education institutions, industry or the general public.
The successful applicant must be able to publish in both English and Danish as well as working in close collaboration with young people and professional practitioners in Danish.
For further information about the position, please contact the project coordinator, Rikke Toft Nørgård, email: rtoft@edu.au.dk
You can read more about the Department of Educational Theory and Curriculum Studies here: https://dpu.au.dk/en/about-the-school/organisation/department-of-educational-theory-and-curriculum-studies

Please note that applications that do not include uploaded publications (maximum five) will not be considered.

The application must be submitted in English.

Work environment
Active participation in the daily life of the department is a high priority, and we
emphasise the importance of good working relationships, both among colleagues and
with our students. In order to maintain and develop the department’s excellent teaching
and research environment, the successful applicant is expected to be present at the
department on a daily, or at least weekly, basis.

We respect the balance between work and private life and strive to create a work
environment in which that balance can be maintained. For further information, visit

International applicants
For further information about the benefits of working at Aarhus University and in
Denmark, including healthcare, paid holidays and, if relevant, maternity/paternity leave,
childcare and schooling, international applicants are encouraged to
visit https://international.au.dk/research/researcher-positions/workingconditions/.
Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and
accompanying families, including a relocation service and career counselling for expat
partners. For information about taxation, check the taxation aspects of international
researchers’ employment by AU.

The Danish School of Education
The School of Education at Aarhus University is Denmark’s largest centre for research and teaching in the fields of education, didactics and learning, with approximately 240 full-time researchers, including 80 PhD students, and 4,500 Bachelor’s and Master’s degree
students. The school’s activities are characterised by a high degree of interdisciplinarity and
close interaction with society, including businesses, organisations, government agencies and
institutions, both in Denmark and abroad.

For more information on the school’s research and educational profile, please visit:

Qualification requirements

Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.


Faculty of Arts refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities (the Appointment Order). Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here: https://talent.au.dk/junior-researcher-development-programme/

If nothing else is noted, applications must be submitted in English. Application deadline is at 11.59 pm Danish time (same as Central European Time) on the deadline day.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Shortlists may be prepared with the candidates that have been selected for a detailed academic assessment. A committee set up by the head of school is responsible for selecting the most qualified candidates. See this link for further information about shortlisting at the Faculty of Arts: shortlisting

Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts is one of five main academic areas at Aarhus University.

The faculty contributes to Aarhus University's research, talent development, knowledge exchange and degree programmes.
With its 550 academic staff members, 275 PhD students, 9,500 BA and MA students, and 1,500 students following continuing/further education programmes, the faculty constitutes a strong and diverse research and teaching environment.

The Faculty of Arts consists of the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Culture and Society and the Danish School of Education. Each of these units has strong academic environments and forms the basis for interdisciplinary research and education.

The faculty's academic environments and degree programmes engage in international collaboration and share the common goal of contributing to the development of knowledge, welfare and culture in interaction with society.

Read more at arts.au.dk/en

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Questions about the position?

Rikke Toft Nørgård

Rikke Toft Nørgård Associate Professor, Danish School of Education - Educational Theory and Curriculum Studies, Aarhus +4520466756 rtoft@edu.au.dk

Questions about application and proces?

Arts Administrative Centre - HR, AR, Emdrup +4593508311 emply.ar.hr@au.dk


Deadline: Monday 30 Jan 2023 at 23:59 CET