Doctoral scholarship: Research on Friable Media in Art on Paper (pastel, charcoal, chalk)

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University of Leuven (KU Leuven)
Royal Museum of Fine Art Brussels (RMFAB)
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Application deadline: 
Wednesday, 19 January, 2022 - 00:00

FRIABLE - Brain Belspo Project - Heritage Science

KU Leuven together with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Brussels (RMFAB), is looking for a 4-year full-time PhD candidate to perform research in context of the FRIABLE project: FRIABLE- Valorisation and Preservation of friable medium on paper. Case Study on the collection of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. This projects aims at assessing the fragility of modern works on paper made with friable media (i.e. pastel, charcoal and chalk), at developing a protocol to guarantee their preservation and to train professionals for a better preventive conservation of those types of works. Adopting a holistic approach, it will merge together knowledge from (technical) history of art, conservation and engineering for a better understanding of the condition state of a national collection and a more effective risk management.

The PhD researcher will focus on technical art history and research the fragility of friable art on paper and their media (i.e. pastel, charcoal and chalk) of 19th-20th century Belgian artists. The presence of a large number of pastels and charcoals, used on their own or together with other media, in the collection of the RMFAB and their early acquisition show the importance of these techniques in Belgian Art History of the 19th and 20th Centuries. The foundation in 1900 of a group uniting watercolourists and pastellists, the Societe nationale des aquarellistes et pastellistes, underpins equally their importance. No systematic research onto this part of the collection has ever been conducted and published.

The PhD researcher will:
• Complete, and successfully defend a doctoral thesis within 4 years;
• Present research results at international and national conferences and colloquia;
• Contribute to the organization of events, activities and other tasks related to the FRIABLE project and its research (colloquia, team events, visits from external experts etc.);
• Contribute to the KU Leuven Book Heritage Lab and VIEW by participating in its regular programme of academic activities and undertaking administrative activities.

We are looking for a candidate who has:
• A Master in Art History or Conservation-Restoration of Graphic Materials or a related discipline;
• A solid training in technical art history;
• Proven academic research skills;
• Eagerness to work in an interdisciplinary research team and to conduct interdisciplinary research within the FRIABLE project;
• Eagerness to publish international articles and write a dissertation;
• Excellent command of English and academic writing skills;
• The successful candidate will produce a complete and acceptable doctoral thesis proposal.

Salary: 40.000 - 45.000 Euro/year bruto
Deadline: 19 January 2022.