PhD Place and Identity in Journalism in Former Yugoslavia

rug university groningen
  • Groningen
  • University of Groningen
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Applications are invited for a fully-funded four-year PhD position at the intersection of the fields of Journalism Studies and Architecture, focusing on the role of material space and artifacts in the construction of journalistic identity and practice in former Yugoslavia.

Place and Identity in Journalism in Former Yugoslavia inquires into the role of architecture in journalism and its impact on the formation of journalistic identities and placemaking. Scholarship examining the role of place in journalism has found that buildings, their locations within urban spaces, as well as their interiors (layout, material artifacts etc.) can shape journalistic identity and work, and its relationship with and perceptions by the public. Redirecting our focus away from architectural styles and journalism in the West, this project explores place and identity in post-socialist regions, precisely former Yugoslavia, a former communist federation with a unique socio-cultural and political history intertwined with historical Ottoman and Byzantine heritage, twentieth-century modernist and brutalist-built environment, and the contemporary urban and architectural transformations. Drawing on concepts and theories from journalism studies and architecture and urbanism – in particular pertaining to place-making, nationalism and nation-building, and urban and socio-political identity as represented in the built environment – the project examines the role of place and identity in journalism in former Yugoslavia (1945-1995) and in various locations across the current post-Yugoslav nations (1995-now).

This PhD project offers a unique opportunity to work in an international and interdisciplinary environment and to acquire valuable research experience. Under the joint supervision of Dr Sandra Banjac and Dr Maja Babic, with Prof Marcel Broersma as the professor of record, the successful candidate will develop a specific research focus within these broad parameters, depending on their own interests and research experience. A particularly welcome research focus could be a comparative exploration of how diverse architectural styles and influences uniquely shape journalists’ occupational identities and work, and/or how the role of place in journalism changed (or remained stable) throughout the history and geo-political shifts in former Yugoslavia. To do so, the PhD candidate will analyze digital and analogue archival material and diverse forms of communication, including text, images, video and audio recordings of journalistic work broadly, architectural and urban planning and design, public discourse on journalism etc., as well as conduct oral history interviews with journalists retired and currently employed in the countries of former Yugoslavia. For further information on the project, we are happy to send applicants a full project proposal on request.


  • To be embedded and take an active part in the Centre of Media and Journalism Studies.
  • Engage in regular meetings with supervisors to discuss PhD project development.
  • Write at least four publishable articles/chapters with supervisory guidance.
  • Attend and present ongoing research at conferences, colloquia, summer/winter schools.
  • Take on teaching responsibilities within the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies, and the Department of History of Art, Architecture and landscape.


Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university offering high-quality teaching and research. Its 27,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study- and career paths. The University of Groningen is an international centre of knowledge: It belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is allied with prestigious partner universities and networks worldwide.

The Faculty of Arts is a large, dynamic faculty in the heart of the city of Groningen. It has more than 5000 students and 700 staff members, who are working at the frontiers of knowledge every day. The Faculty offers a wide range of degree programmes: 15 Bachelor's programmes and over 35 Master's specialisations. Our research, which is internationally widely acclaimed, covers Archaeology, Cultural Studies, History, International Relations, Language and Literary Studies, Linguistics and Media and Journalism Studies.


To be competitive for the position, prospective candidates must have:

  • A Master’s/Research Master’s degree in a relevant social science or humanities discipline (Journalism Studies, Media Studies, Architecture, Urbanism, History, Urban Geography, and Cultural Anthropology, etc.) with high academic merit—an average grade of 8.0 or above on the Dutch scale (or international equivalent, with some flexibility possible).
  • Excellent analytical skills and capacity to do innovative research.
  • A clear and well-articulated motivation for pursuing PhD research.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • Excellent skills in one or more of the languages of former Yugoslavia (including preferably Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian; passive knowledge of Slovenian and Macedonian is a plus) and willingness to pursue further language training if needed.

The following would be assets for prospective candidates:

  • Familiarity with concepts, theories, and debates in relation to journalism and/or architecture broadly, and in connection to the former Yugoslavia or South-East / Eastern Europe.
  • Familiarity with specific research methods such as multimodal discourse analysis (of archival material), interviews, etc.
  • Experience of fieldwork in the countries of former Yugoslavia.
  • Previous academic publications or other output demonstrating writing skills (journal articles, book chapters, working papers, policy papers, media articles, etc.).
  • Professional experience, academic or otherwise, and demonstrable experience of working in teams.
  • Strong motivation to complete a PhD dissertation in 4 years.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team setting.

Knowledge of Dutch is NOT required.

Conditions of employment

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, the University of Groningen offers you:

  • A salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the final year, based on a full-time position.
  • A holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income.
  • An 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance.
  • A temporary 1.0 FTE appointment for a specified period of four years. The candidate will first be appointed for twelve months. After six months, an assessment will take place of the candidate’s results and the progress of the PhD project, in order to decide whether employment will be continued. The PhD candidate is expected to conduct a total of 0.4 fte teaching spread over the second, third and fourth year of their appointment.
  • Excellent work-life balance.
  • Willingness to move and reside in The Netherlands.

The appointment will commence in February 2025 or earlier, with flexibility to account for the candidate's visa requirements. We allow 3 months from the time of selection in case of visa applications.


Applications should be made in English and contain the following materials:

  • A motivation letter—max. 1,000 words—clearly stating your motivations for applying for this PhD project, and how your skills and experience demonstrate your suitability for the position according to the criteria above. Please clearly outline how you anticipate working in an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental environment.
  • A research proposal of 1000-1500 words (excluding reference list) outlining and explaining your idea for a PhD project within the broader frame/parameters of this project. Areas to address include specific topic and research question(s), conceptual and methodological approaches, envisaged field research and/or sources for empirical data.
  • A brief, up-to-date curriculum vitae that focuses on aspects that are directly relevant to the position and that includes a list of publications (if any).
  • Copies of MA diploma and list of grades.
  • Copy of MA thesis if completed, or a paper you’ve written for an MA-level course.
  • If available, a writing sample (in English, including an article, book chapter or other academic text that you feel best represents your work). You are free to submit a second sample in any of the languages of former Yugoslavia.
  • Names and contact information of two academic references (Please do not submit letters of reference. Referees will be contacted if necessary).

Please send in your application as two PDF files (one for the MA thesis, and one for all other documents). You may apply for this position until 12 August 11:59pm / before 13 August 2024 Dutch local time (CEST) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Candidates selected for an interview will be notified the week of 26 August 2024. Interviews with selected candidates will be held between 9 – 18 September 2024.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

Ole Gmelin

"Speaking Dutch in the Netherlands will always open certain doors for you when it comes to finding a job. But, it isn’t always a must."

Will you become our new PhD Place and Identity in Journalism in Former Yugoslavia? Apply at University of Groningen