Postdoctoral Research Position
The Critical Technical Practice (CTP) Group
Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute
The CTP Group at Madeira-ITI seeks postdoctoral researchers with a focus in: Technology in the Global South
The position of designers and technologists working to develop systems and products for citizens in the Global South is necessarily fraught and complex. For designers within the Global South, the tech and design discourse from the north is loud and difficult to escape. For designers outside, paternalism and neocolonialism are occupational hazards. The specter of "development" looms over any system, while tech narratives like "Africa rising" are often sensationalistic. Recent forays into "postcolonial computing" have little traction. We postulate that much work remains to be done in south-south and south-north collaborations. As Megan Smith (Obama's Whitehouse CTO) has said, technologists "talk about the next 3 billion people coming into the conversation because Internet technologies are allowing that, and some people think, 'Well that's a market!' But it's not a market. These are our colleagues... our coinventors."
We seek a postdoctoral candidate interested in contributing to the development of technologies for the global south with international collaborators, and simultaneously contributing to the development of tools for making such collaborations possible. Areas of interest might include rural peer communications, village telephony systems, modular agricultural tooling, civic media, technologies of dissent, postcolonial computing, innovation in the global south, appropriate technologies, free software, open hardware, or other approaches to sociotechnical systems. Candidates with primarily analytical/theoretical backgrounds may apply, as might ones from an ICT/engineering/design background who are interested in problematizing or challenging traditional engineering approaches. Candidates from around the world are encouraged to apply.
The postdoc would work with ERA Chair Prof. Chris Csikszentmihalyi, other CTP Faculty, graduate students, and staff to strengthen our research capacity in sociotechnical innovation. S/he would produce original research, contribute to grant writing, and have the option of teaching if interested. The ideal candidate would have demonstrated technical ability motivated by strong interest in the sociopolitical dimensions of technology; be able to conduct independent and collaborative research; and demonstrate an interest in working in a multi-disciplinary research environment.
The CTP Group was founded in 2015 to develop technologies for an expanded range of human experiences. It is funded through the European Commission’s ERAChair program, which was designed to attract top candidates to beautiful but outlying parts of Europe. Our lab features state-of-the-art fabrication equipment, including CNC machine tools and electronics fabrication, as well as more traditional artisanal tools. Madeira-ITI is one of the top HCI centers in Europe, recently evaluated with the highest mark of "Excellent" by Portugal’s national science foundation (FCT). Madeira itself is a small semi-autonomous island, located off the coast of Morocco with a quarter million people, beautiful landscape, and temperature near 20 degrees all year.
The candidate should have earned a PhD or equivalent terminal degree in a related field by December 2016. The candidate must show evidence of the ability to design and execute sociotechnical research projects, and (ideally) an interest and experience in both the Global South and technology development.
Applications will remain open until 31st of December 2016 or until the position is filled. Letters of interest and CV's should be sent to: :