Department: Heritage
Regime Full-time

Let’s shape the future – University of Antwerp

The research group Antwerp Cultural Heritage Sciences (ARCHES) of the University of Antwerp (Faculty Design Sciences, Conservation-Restoration) is looking for a full-time (100%) doctoral candidate in the interdisciplinary field of Conservation-Restoration and Heritage science, focussing on the understanding of historical dyeing technology and the ensuing conservation issues

The University of Antwerp is a dynamic, forward-thinking, European university. We offer an innovative academic education to more than 20.000 students, conduct pioneering scientific research and play an important service-providing role in society. We are one of the largest, most international, and most innovative employers in the region. With more than 6000 employees from 100 different countries, we are helping to build tomorrow’s world every day. Through top scientific research, we push back boundaries and set a course for the future – a future that you can help to shape.

ARCHES is a research group associated with the educational programs of Conservation-Restoration and Heritage studies. The group’s mission is to build bridges between various scientific fields (Life, Social and Natural Sciences), in pursuit of improving the conservation of both tangible and intangible heritage.


This research focuses on the historical technology used to dye textiles in the 17th century. Being the most important industrial sector from the Middle Ages up to and including the first industrial revolution, the manufacture and dyeing of textiles plays a prominent role in the history of technology. However, until now, literature mostly focused on the economy and trade of textiles, while the underlying technology that was necessary for its production was largely neglected. In contrast, this project will have a more comprehensive approach, involving human and natural sciences.

The aim of this research is to quantify the cumulative damage to dyed, historical textiles in order to guide curators and conservators in their decision-making. We propose a multifaceted approach with a focus on the 17th century, that will link the study of historical dye recipes on the current (and future) conservation state of heritage objects. This is obtained by reproduction of a relevant corpus of recipes, selected by a critical study of historical sources, followed by the artificial ageing and chemical characterization of the resulting materials. The veracity of the ensuing insights is evaluated by benchmarking with heritage objects in museum collections.


  • You will work actively on the preparation and defence of a PhD thesis dedicated to textile dyeing in the Low Countries. The overall aim is to understand the historical dyeing technology and the ensuing conservation issues.
  • More in particular, your work will focus on the study of historical textual sources and the production of mock-ups with the aim to understand both the making process and degradation parameters. The veracity of the insights obtained will be benchmarked with historical heritage objects in museum collections.
  • You will do most of your work at the city campus of the University of Antwerp, under the guidance of professors Natalia Ortega Saez, Geert Van der Snickt and Bert De Munck.
  • You will publish your results in WoS journals with impact factor.
  • You will carry out a limited number of teaching and research support tasks for the Antwerp research group.


  • You hold a master’s degree in conservation-restoration, heritage science or chemistry applied to cultural heritage, or you will have obtained it by the time you start work. A background in textile conservation and its latest developments is desirable.
  • You can demonstrate expertise in material-technical research of heritage objects.
  • You can demonstrate an understanding of the degradation of heritage materials.
  • You can demonstrate a basic knowledge of scientific analytical methods that are used in the field of heritage conservation.
  • You can demonstrate excellent study results.
  • Your research qualities are in line with the faculty and university research policies.
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity, and cooperation.
  • You can speak and write English fluently; knowledge of Dutch is considered a plus.

What we offer

  • We offer a full-time doctoral scholarship for a period of 1 year. Following a positive evaluation, the scholarship can be renewed for another 3 years.
  • You will be given access to state of the art equipment and key museum collections.
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the scholarship amounts for doctoral scholarship holders on the pay scales for contract research staff (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP).
  • You will work in a dynamic and stimulating working environment.
  • The planned start date is 1st of October 2022 or as soon as possible after that date.
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp (

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform up to and including the 8th of August 2022 (by midnight Brussels time). Click on the ‘Apply’ button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments: a motivation letter and your academic CV.  
  • The selection committee will review your application as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about the next steps in the selection procedure. Please take note of the following dates: 25th and 30th of August 2022 for your possible online or on campus interview (by mutual agreement).
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions or send an email to If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact Prof. Natalia Ortega Saez via

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.


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