Challenging Populist Truth-Making in Europe (CHAPTER):
The Role of Museums in a Digital 'Post-Truth' European Society

The project “Challenging Populist Truth-Making in Europe: The Role of Museums in a Digital ‘Post-Truth’ European Society (CHAPTER)”, funded by the VolkswagenStiftung, will develop approaches and best practice examples to support museums in challenging the growing influence of populist discourse in Europe through digital innovation. The project is a collaboration of researchers in Berlin (project leaders: Christoph Bareither and Sharon Macdonald), London (Haidy Geismar) and Krakow (Roma Sendyka) and museums in the respective regions, supported through a review board with members from other European countries.

In the first phase, the project team will study the impact of populist truth-making on museums and their visitors in Germany, the UK and Poland, bringing together an explorative interview study with in-depth ethnographic research within museums’ physical and digital spaces. Here the research interest focusses on the affective dimension of populist debates, asking how “post-truth” and “fake news” constitute practices of “emotional truth-making” that affect museums both explicitly or implicitly. While the researchers will focus mainly on the perspective of museum professionals and stakeholders in the first year, they will conduct ethnographic visitor research in the second, asking for how visitors experience the “affective contact zones” of museums in relation to post-truth practices and emotional truth-making. In the second phase, starting in year three, the project will build upon the research findings in order to develop and implement a museum app (for smartphones and tablets) in cooperation with our project partner Fluxguide (Vienna) and three partner museums in Germany, Poland and the UK. The purpose of this app is to challenge young visitors (18-21 years) to critically engage in practices of populist truth-making. Our goal is not only to co-develop and implement this app, but to accompany, analyze and evaluate its use in order to gain critical knowledge about the potential of digital media in museum contexts on a much broader level. Thus, the key aim of the project is to bring together ethnographic research and digital innovation in order to develop best practices that will support museums and other cultural institutions to challenge populist debates and to foster a democratic public discourse within Europe.

The research findings of the project will be published through collaboratively written open access papers in high-ranking peer-reviewed journals, as well as through the three PhD’s individual dissertations and the habilitation of the postdoc researcher. Based upon these findings, the final project results will be summarized in an elaborate best practice portfolio, including an audio-visual documentation of the project, a policy paper and a set of principles for the effective as well as meaningful design of digital museum apps that foster the critical citizenship skills of young visitors. This way, the project will make a long-lasting contribution to the endeavor of challenging practices of populist truth-making in Europe.

Three open positions for PhD students / research fellows at HU Berlin, UCL London and JU Krakow will be advertised in the next weeks. Job advertisements at UCL and HU Berlin are already open (see below), the one at JU Krakow will follow shortly. Please note the different requirements for and profiles of the individual PhD positions.

Open PhD position CARMAH / HU Berlin (Germany)

For full advertisement see:

Research Fellow with 66% part-time-employment – E 13 TV-L HU (third party funding, short time for 4 years)

Wissenschaftliches Personal
Anzahl der Stellen
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of European Ethnology

Deadline for Applications
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

In the project „Challenging Populist Truth-Making in Europe: The Role of Museums in a Digital ‚Post-Truth‘ European Society“ (project leaders: Prof. Dr. Christoph Bareither and Prof. Dr. Sharon Macdonald, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation), the position of an academic staff members is to be filled. The position is integrated into the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH) at the Institute for European Ethnology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin ( and will work as part of an international research in team in close cooperation with researchers at the University College London (UCL) and the Jagiellonian University Krakow (JU). The research of the successful applicant will focus on: 1) A digital ethnography on the role of populist an emotional truth-making in the field of heritage and museums; this includes Internet ethnography, qualitative interviews, as well as  infrastructure and affordance analysis; 2) The co-design of concepts and contents for a digital museum app in cooperation with a professional software development company; the app aims at a critical engagement with processes of truth-making through young visitors – a multimedia best practice portfolio will ensure the successful integration of the project results in the field of museums and heritage.

Job description:
Scientific work in the above-mentioned research project as part of an international research team; administrative tasks, especially coordinating role in the cooperation with a professional software company; opportunity for academic qualification (doctorate).

Requirements are: an M.A. in European Ethnology / Cultural Anthropology, Media Studies or comparable disciplines with a very good degree; also required are expertise in the field of ethnographic or qualitative research, very good written and spoken German and English skills, as well as a pronounced ability to work as part of a research team.

Advantageous qualifications are:
knowledge in the field of Media and Digital Anthropology or Museum and Heritage Studies; previous experience with qualitative data analysis software; Polish language skills; experience in the area of software development or content management, as well as curatorial skills (layout, image processing, exhibitions); experience in educational work, particularly in regard to young people (e.g. through teaching formats, social engagement etc.).

Please send your application (including cover letter, CV, certificates), and quoting the reference number DR/063/20, to Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of European Ethnology, Prof. Dr. Christoph Bareither, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany or preferably in electronic form as one PDF-file to

HU is seeking to increase the proportion of women in research and teaching, and specifically encourages qualified female scholars to apply. Severely disabled applicants with equivalent qualifications will be given preferential consideration. People with an immigration background are specifically encouraged to apply. Since we will not return your documents, please submit copies in the application only.

Please visit our website, which gives you access to the legally binding German version.

Open PhD position UCL London (UK)

For full advertisement see:

Deadline for Applications
Monday, April 27, 2020

Project Description
Fully funded 4 year Phd as part of the project “Challenging Populist Truth-Making in Europe: The Role of Museums in a Digital ‘Post-Truth’ European Society“ (CHAPTER), funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (

The position offers the opportunity for academic qualification (doctorate) within the course of four years. The PhD will be based within the Department of Anthropology at University College London and will be supervised by Professor Haidy Geismar with subsidiary supervision from the project partners (see below).

Mainly working with ethnographic and qualitative methods, the project will develop approaches and best practice examples to support museums in challenging the growing influence of populist discourse in Europe. The project is led by researchers in Berlin (Prof. Dr. Sharon Macdonald, Prof. Dr. Christoph Bareither), London (Prof. Dr. Haidy Geismar) and Krakow (Prof. Dr. Roma Sendyka) and will work with a range of museums in the UK, Germany and Poland, supported through a review board with members from other European countries.

The successful applicant will work as part of an international team of researchers. Their work will comprise Working as a researcher in the project which will feed into the research and writing of a PhD. The research will entail several projects over the course of four years including conducting an interview-based study with museum practitioners and stakeholders as well as an in-depth ethnographic work around the experiences of young people and populist discourses in museums. The project team will also be working with the research findings and a digital design company to develop and implement a digital museum app with the aim of developing a digital tool to challenge young visitors to critically engage in practices of populist truth-making

All of this research can be drawn upon in the development of a PhD dissertation alongside the other project outputs (papers, conference presentations, reports and so on).

Position Profile
· Scientific work in the above-mentioned research project; collaboration in the international research team; administrative tasks; opportunity for academic qualification (doctorate).

· Excellent BA/MA degree in Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Museum Studies, Heritage Studies, Memory Studies, History or comparable disciplines.
· Experienced with qualitative research and/or fieldwork
· Willingness to work in an international team
· Very good English skills

Advantageous Qualifications:
· Previous experience in the area of education (especially working with young people) and/or museum visitor studies
· Previous experience and strong interest in the field of digital media (both as research field and regarding practical skills: IT-knowledge, software skills, content management, etc.)

How to Apply
Applications should include a Cover Letter, a writing sample a CV and references and be sent to