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Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Digital Humanities and Democracy

JobRef: 20039
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Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Digital Humanities and Democracy

Level:Postdoctoral Researcher
POSTED:January 3, 2023
LOCATION:Trinity College Dublin
Duration:36 months
Reports to:Jennifer Edmond
Salary:€40,023 per annum
Closing Date:January 18, 2023

The Trinity College Centre for Digital Humanities is recruiting a 2-year post-doctoral fellow with fluency expertise in digital technology and the humanities to join its growing and diverse team. The purpose of this post is to support the delivery of the KT4D (Knowledge Technologies for Democracy) project.

AI and big data are fundamentally interwoven into our societies, culture and indeed into our expectations and conceptions of democratic governance and exchange. They can also, however, contribute to an environment for citizens that is distinctly anti-democratic. KT4D will harness the benefits of an understanding of these as knowledge technologies to foster more inclusive civic participation in democracy. To achieve this, we will develop and validate tools, guidelines and a Digital Democracy Lab demonstrators platform. These results will be validated across three user needs scenarios: 1) building capacity for citizens and citizen-facing Civil Society Organisations (CSOs); 2) creating regulatory tools and services for Policy and CSOs; and 3) improving awareness of how to design ethically and mindfully for democracy principles in academic and industrial software development. Our work is underpinned by the understanding that to fully address the social and fundamental rights costs of AI and big data, we need more than just technological fixes, we need to address the underlying cultural influences and barriers. Most importantly, we understand the threats to democracy of AI and big data not only through the nature of what they do, but via the cultural disruptions they create with power dynamics they shift, their tendency toward opacity, and the speed at which they change. KT4D’s ambitious and disruptive results will drive transformation in how democracy and civic participation are facilitated in the face of rapidly changing knowledge technologies, enabling actors across society to capitalise on the many benefits these technologies can bring in terms of community empowerment, social integration, individual agency, and trust in both institutions and technological instruments, while confidently mitigating potential ethical, legal and cultural risks.

The KT4D consortium of 12 partners from across Europe has been funded by the European Commission and is led by Trinity College Dublin’s Professor Jennifer Edmond, Co-Director of the Trinity Centre for Digital Humanities. The appointee will be based in the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute and will work closely with Professor Edmond and the DH@TCD Team, also based in the Trinity Long Room Hub.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Post

The appointee will work closely and collaboratively with the Project PI to deliver a series of activities woven into the overall goals and ambitions of the KT4D project. The duties will include:

  • Undertake specific research work related to a series of project activities, including the following:
  • Develop a cultural and historical overview on individual responses to knowledge technologies. This will include building an overview and corpus of accounts documenting both historical and imagined interactions with knowledge technologies and their effects on individual self-determination, perceptions of well-being, and openness toward socially beneficial collective action. This corpus will create new frames of reference for exploring questions of trust, influence and the limits of the technologically extended, ‘cyborg’ (Haraway, nd) self, making the project’s results relevant to a variety of humanities
  • Undertake a review of tools created to guide software developers toward human- or life-centred design and contribute to the team working to build new instruments to foster better tuning to the understanding of cultural sensitivities, relational and holistic identity paradigms, and awareness of individual
  • Support the development of materials to promote critical digital literacy by assembling background information (via research into comparators and extant good practice) illustrating issues of cultural adaptation and technical feasibility in pedagogical
  • Support the project’s development of guidelines and tools to promote Participatory Algorithmic Accountability with the different perspectives on this same topic that have been developed within the digital humanities and cultural critiques of knowledge
  • Contribute to the development and delivery of the project’s user-facing activities, in particular Dublin-based Use Case 3, serving the community of academic and industrial software
  • Work with the PI to and project team to prepare and submit the results of these tasks for publication;
  • Contribute, as appropriate, to DH@TCD Centre research dissemination work, including producing content for the project newsletter and project and Centre social media accounts, presentations at stakeholder engagement events (such as the learning case workshops and the project’s final stakeholder event), and presentations at events for researchers (such as the Centre’s DSS Workshops);
  • Participate in and contribute to building the activities of the DH Centre, its projects and our host Institute, the Trinity Long Room
  • Other tasks/duties as assigned by the Principal


Person Specification

Applicants for this position are required to:

  • Hold a PhD in a relevant humanities field (e.g. history, philosophy/ethics, cultural studies/literature), with a track record of research outputs commensurate with career stage
  • Possess familiarity and ease with interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary
  • Have excellent, proven academic writing and analysis skills
  • Be highly adept at working collaboratively and in an integrated team environment
  • Be a resourceful / conscientious and self-motivated individual with a ‘can do attitude’ and ability to see tasks through to completion
  • Be conversant with and interested in the social and cultural contexts and tensions around AI deployment


Applicants for this position are desired to:

  • Have an established publication record in the digital humanities or a related field
  • Have experience of assembling and managing complex datasets
  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills, with the proven capacity and confidence to communicate with a wide range of audiences across media
  • Be able to manage competing priorities and maintain a high level of professionalism when working under pressure;
  • Show discretion and professional approach to all activities;


Application Procedure

Candidates are asked to submit one PDF file containing 1) a covering letter outlining personal motivation for seeking the role and key competencies and experience the candidate will bring to it; 2) a full CV and 3) the names and contact details of 3 referees (email addresses if possible) to: Prof Jennifer Edmond (

Please Note that:

  • Applicants who do not specifically address the needs of the project described above in their cover letter will not be considered at the short list
  • Applicants should note that the interview process for this appointment may include the delivery of a
  • Applications from non-EEA citizens are welcomed. However, eligibility is determined by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and further information on the Highly Skills Eligible Occupations List is set out in Schedule 3 of the Regulations ermits/Employment-Permit-Eligibility/Highly-Skilled-Eligible-Occupations-List/ and the Ineligible Categories of Employment are set out in Schedule 4 of the Regulations ermits/Employment-Permit-Eligibility/Ineligible-Categories-of-Employment/.

Non-EEA candidates should note that the onus is on them to secure a visa to travel to Ireland prior to commencing any position. Non-EEA candidates should also be aware that even if successful at interview, an appointment to the post is contingent on the securing of an employment permit.

Informal enquiries may also be addressed to Prof Edmond (



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