Open positions

Call for applications – Doctoral contract “The MEET Project (The Secret Life of Landscapes: Memories of Ecosystems Under Stress)”

Friday, April 22, 2022

Université Paris Lumières & Labex Les passés dans le présent

Session 2022/2023


L’Université Paris Lumières and Labex Les Passés dans le Présent are recruiting a doctoral candidate from October 1st 2022 for a three-year period as part of a doctoral contract assigned to the MEET project.


- Posting of the call for candidates: Friday, April 22nd, 2022

- Deadline for submission of applications: no later than 5pm Monday, June 20th (Paris time)

- Short-listing of candidates: between June 21st and June 28th, 2022

- Announcement of the short-listed candidates: June 28th, 2022

- Interviews: from July 5th to 8th, 2022

- Pre-announcement of results: July 8th, 2022

- Confirmation of results: September, 2022

- Assumption of duties: October 1st, 2022


The ComUE Université Paris Lumières was created in 2014 (by decree no. 2014-1677 of December 29th, 2014). It works in all disciplines of the human and social sciences and is also interested in other fields in the exact or live sciences (e.g. biology, informatics, mathematics, etc., in particular relating to artificial intelligence). ComUE Université Paris Lumières has a clear interest in the digital humanities and subscribes to the dynamic known as “open science”.

ComUE Université Paris Lumières is comprised of three founding members: Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, Université Paris Nanterre and the CNRS. In addition to these members there are statutorily “associate” institutions that have joined Université Paris Lumières through partnership agreements. They are: Académie Fratellini, Archives Nationales, Bibliothèque National de France, CEDIAS (Centre d’Études, de Documentation and d’information d’Action Sociale, Musée Social, Centre des Arts d’Enghien-les-Bains, Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, École National Supérieure Louis-Lumière, ETSUP (École de Travail Social), Institut National Supérieur de Formation and de Recherche pour l’Éducation des Jeunes Handicapés et les Enseignements Adaptés (INSHEA), Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), Musée d’Archéologie National (Saint-Germain-en-Laye), Musée du Louvre, Musée National de l’Histoire de l’Immigration – Palais de la Porte Dorée, Maison des Cultures du Monde, Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac and Pôle Sup’93 (training school for artists).

Through its composition, Université Paris Lumières addresses the museum, heritage and archival dimensions of society and its productions, especially unique in France. It also invests in reflecting on social work and its implications.

For further information:

Labex Les Passés dans le Présent is a collabortive, long-term scientific program. Sponsored by Université Paris Nanterre with Université Paris 8, CNRS, Université Paris Lumières (COMUE) and Université Paris-1 Panthéon Sorbonne, Labex Les Passés dans le Présent is founded on international, inter-institutional and collaborative practices. It professionalizes students in the cultural sector (digital, heritage and prospective innovation) and provides support for young researchers as a priority.

How to forge new ways of looking at the past and towards the future, which will enable us to cope with the challenges of our times? This question emerges from the work by Labex Les Passés dans le Présent, which has evolved since 2012 towards scientific expertise linking the past, present and future. Its approach, grounded in the human and social sciences and digital humanities, also had its roots in the exceptional collections and documentary resources of the major cultural partner institutions: BnF, Archives Nationales, INA, Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac and Musée d’Archéologie Nationale.

Looking both retrospectively and prospectively at the relations of societies to their pasts and futures, Labex Les Passés dans le Présent has become a genuine interdisciplinary hub that examines all periods, from the oldest to the most modern, from prehistory to the present and all geographical zones from the perspective of comparison and multilingualism.

To learn more about Labex Les Passés dans le Présent, please go to:


The job description is given in more detail in the document’s second part.

The thesis done in MEET will be attached to one of the laboratories of École Doctorale 395 of University Paris Nanterre.


-       Timeframe: 3 years

-       Start of contract: the start of the 2022-2023 academic year

-       Remuneration: a fixed gross monthly amount: 1,866€/month (the remuneration in force upon the publication of the announcement). Complementary teaching assignments will be possible according to rules in force at the University where the doctoral candidate is enrolled


-       Candidates can be students not yet enrolled in a thesis course and who have successfully defended their Master’s thesis 2 by the date of the submission of their application.

-       Students having pursued their university curricula in France or abroad.

-       A candidate’s file proposing co-directorship (between 2 directors, between 2 research units and/or according to a multidisciplinary approach) is permitted.

-       Co-supervision with French or foreign universities are also welcome.


Selection criteria for this doctoral contract are the following:

-       The file’s scientific quality (clarity of the issue, methodology and the methods of implementation)

-       The quality of the applicant’s career

-       Matching the applicant, their thesis project and the profile of the “MEET” doctoral contract

-       Fluent French and English

-       The ability to work in varied geographical, linguistic and cultural spaces


The assessment jury will be composed of the following persons:

- 2 members appointed by Labex Les Passés dans le Présent

- Labex Les Passés dans le Présent’s scientific director

- 1 member appointed by the doctoral College of ComUE UPL (one of two co-directors)

- A representative of the presidential team of ComUE Université Paris Lumières, who will chair the jury

The interviews will be conducted in person at the offices of Université Paris Lumières, 75013 Paris. This approach may change according to the ministerial guidelines in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic.


The file of the applicants wishing to apply for the present doctoral contract of ComUE UPL et Labex Les Passés dans le Présent must contain the following documents:

1.              The fully completed application form (including the thesis project: a maximum of 10,000 characters; Times font 12, a short bibliography included. NB: for the sake of equality, additional pages will be removed from the file)

2.              An academic curriculum vitae (a maximum of 2 pages)

3.              A letter in support of application (3,000 characters maximum)

4.              The Master’s grades statement

5.              The Master’s degree or, failing that, a certificate of thesis defense

6.              The Master’s thesis (in .pdf format)

7.              The reasoned opinion of the director of the thesis presented

8.              The reasoned opinion of the directorship of the welcoming research unit


The applicant’s file will be sent electronically in the .pdf format (a single file containing the applicant’s name) to the following email address:

In the “subject” line of this email, please expressly specify as in the following example: Application-DOC-MEET

An acknowledgement of receipt will then be issued.


For any additional request for information about this call for applications (excluding the definition of the theses‘ scientific project), please write to the following email address:

To contact the scientific team of the MEET project, please contact:

David Picherit:  david.picherit[at]

or Frédéric Landy: landy.frederic[at]


« MEET project of Labex The Pasts in the Present»


Context of the Research Project

Coordinated by David Picherit, within the Labex The Pasts in the Present, the project The Secret Life of Landscapes: Memories of the Ecosystems in Tension (MeeT) aims to set up experimental devices to explore the visible or hidden dimensions of ecosystems. At a time when it is essential to adopt new perspectives on the Anthropocene, this project develops new approaches to environmental memories. It tests forms of dialogue and awareness-raising between scientists, artists, curators, activists and inhabitants. MeeT experiments with methods and fields that allow us to understand the ways in which humans invest landscapes by taking into account their hidden life or the invisibility of their regeneration processes; and the ways in which trees, water or even the earth carry their own memory mechanisms.

We thus explore the uncertain boundary between information and memory, at the interface between the capacity of environments to store and transmit information about their evolution, the modes and techniques of capture deployed by humans, and the social and political processes of redistributing memory to these environments. MeeT aims to sustain unlikely connections between the environments and their components of varying agentivities, and a multitude of sources, materials, invisible entities, human and non-human actors.

Beyond a particular environment - water, forests... - MeeT is interested in devices that allow us to capture information or sensitivities (microphones, probes, or observation of bee dances...), and to impregnate the natural environments with memory (rituals, poems, or scientific surveys), or to charge them with history. The project thus explores techniques of capture and restitution to transmit hidden dimensions of landscapes and/or invisible aspects of relations with non-humans (plants, animals, water, cosmo-telluric elements, etc.). It also aims to generate debates on the contemporary modalities of restitution in and out of museum spaces, to put forward new forms of interpellation of the public around environmental memories. This perspective invites the examination of hybrid and vernacular transaction devices between the natural mechanisms of information transmission in an ecosystem, and the formation of environmental memories through socio-political mediation.

This project currently brings together anthropologists, geographers, designers, curators and archivists.

It is part of the Labex's axis “Environmental Memories: Traces, Territories, Untraceable”. It aims to encourage multi-sensorial and multi-scalar methodologies to deal with phenomena (or memories) that are untraceable (or difficult to trace) and invisible; to develop forms of investigation, experimental and critical cartography, or sensory capture devices to explore the boundaries of memory (auditory, visual, haptic, etc.).

In partnership with the Science Gallery (Bangalore), the National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad) and the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (France), we are then developing experimentation workshops on modes of capture to initiate other ways of reading landscapes and to raise awareness on the hidden dimensions of ecosystems. We are also testing scenographic experiments in and outside of museum spaces, by revitalising fragmented archive collections. Finally, we are conducting a pilot experiment in Kerala (India), by revisiting archives and collections that have never been linked together (ethnography, pollen, herbarium, maps).

Project partners 

- French Institute of Pondicherry, India.

- Science Gallery, Bangalore, India.

- National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India.

Supervision of the doctoral student

The Ph.D. student will be co-supervised by a member of the MeeT team and/or a member of the ED 395 Espaces, Temps, Cultures.

Research conducted by the doctoral student

The candidates are expected to design a Ph.D. project which outlines how their research record, interests, and skills align with at least one of the themes of the MeeT project (devices for capturing information, attribution of sacred, memorial or other properties to landscapes, archives and restitution of environmental memories).

The candidates may take a critical look at the relationships between memory and information, by documenting the transformations in time and space of the ways information about landscapes has been collected. Housed at UPN, the candidates may suggest how their research could link up with the activities and resources of one of our partners: archives and collections (maps, herbarium, pollen specimens, forest ecology, ethnography, etc.) at the French Institute in Pondicherry; design school in Ahmedabad; Science Gallery in Bangalore; National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

The candidates may combine ethnographic fieldwork, archives and experiments on scenography and museography.

The doctorate will be articulated with digital humanities, with a view to conserving and enhancing archives and collections.

Profile of the doctoral student

The candidates may have a disciplinary background in anthropology, history of science and technology, geography, sociology, design/art history. They will also demonstrate an interest in being part of a team of international researchers of different disciplines.

The description of the call and the application form can be downloaded below in the Documents section.

See also