Post Doctoral Research Associate: Thinking Deep

Egham, United Kingdom
£36,438 to £43,061 per annum pro rata - including London Allowance
02 Sep 2021
End of advertisement period
25 Sep 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Geography

Location:  Egham
Salary:  £36,438 to £43,061 per annum pro rata - including London Allowance  
Fixed Term, Full Time
Closing Date:  Saturday 25 September 2021
Interview Date:  To be confirmed
Reference:  0821-299

Full-Time, Fixed-Term

This is a three year fixed-term post until August 2024. 

Applications are invited for a three year post-doctoral research post in the Centre for the GeoHumanities, based in the Department of Geography.

This post-doctoral research fellowship is part of the ERC funded grant entitled ‘Thinking Deep: Creative Approaches to the Underground’. This three-year post, to start Autumn 2021 will see the researcher join a six strong team experimenting with creative research approaches to underground and wider subsurface environments - on and off Earth.   

Concerns with the subsurface have become more prevalent of late. We see the intensification of interest in the subsurface as; the site of current environmental concerns (e.g. diverse forms of extraction), and the setting for developing alternative environmental futures (e.g. subsurface urban futures). Conceptually, concerns with the volumetric, vertical and elemental have drawn attention downwards. Whilst debates about the Anthropocene have deepened interests in questions of geology and deep pasts and futures. In short, it seems that eyes and minds are increasingly turning to what ‘lies beneath’.

Despite its richness, subsurface scholarship has seen almost a century of calls for ‘thinking deep’ to be ‘thinking interdisciplinarily.’ Where the subsurface has been approached interdisciplinarily, these efforts tend to focus on science and social science, paying little attention to the humanities, despite their long interest in subsurface studies, and almost none to creative, artistic practices. In response, Thinking Deep assembles an interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners to experiment with a creative interdisciplinary approaches to the subsurface. Researchers will develop global case studies, using creative research methods, or practice-based research approaches to explore questions including;

  • How to sense the subsurface, an often inaccessible environment?  
  • How to understand and contend with varied subsurface imaginations, which shape subsurface understanding, use and conservation? 
  • How to understand the speculative nature of ‘knowing’ the subsurface?   

The successful applicant will design and deliver their own three-year research project in the context of the wider project brief (which can be seen at They will be working with the Principal Investigator, Professor Harriet Hawkins, arts practice-based post-doctoral researcher, Flora Parrott, three PhD students and an administrator. Alongside their own research, the applicant will be required to work as part of this team to achieve the wider project goals. In additional to addressing the research challenges above, these goals include an evaluation of the creative research approaches; helping develop and deliver a programme of creative research residencies and creative commissions; and the delivery of a range of outputs (e.g. journal articles, artworks and exhibitions, an event programme, documentation, a project team monograph).

We welcome applications from recent or soon to be PhD graduates as well as from applicants with postdoctoral experience, of the equivalent research experience. 

As an interdisciplinary project, we welcome candidates from a range of backgrounds. While prior experience of creative research methods, practice-based research and allied approaches is not a necessity, a proven interest in developing these methods and an awareness of their issues is. We welcome scholars with experience researching field-sites around the world. 

In return we offer a highly competitive rewards and benefits package including:

  • Generous annual leave entitlement 
  • Training and Development opportunities
  • Pension Scheme with generous employer contribution 
  • Various schemes including Cycle to Work, Season Ticket Loans and help with the cost of Eyesight testing. 
  • Free parking

The post is based in Egham, Surrey where the College is situated in a beautiful, leafy campus near to Windsor Great Park and within commuting distance from London. The successful applicant will join one of the UK’s strongest Geography Departments, with research specialisms in cultural, social and historical geography, development, environmental sustainability, geopolitics and Quaternary science.  It was ranked 2nd in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework and also has some of the best teaching ratings from students for any discipline (UK National Student Survey).

Alongside salary there are generous resources for fieldwork, creative practice and conference and event attendance.

To view further details of this post and to apply please visit queries on the application process the Human Resources Department can be contacted by email at:  

In addition to the short questions on the application form, please attach to your application: 

a) a CV (including up to 3 links to publications/ practice based research as appropriate)

b) a cover letter max 2 sides detailing the following: 

  • What drew you to this role 
  • A brief outline of the subsurface research topic you might focus on; this could include the context for your research;  research questions/aims; any potential field locations; what methods including creative methods/ practice you might use.

Following the closing date we will short-list and invite candidates for an on-line interview.

Please quote the reference: 0821-299

Closing Date:   Midnight, Saturday 25 September 2021

Interview Date: TBC 

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