Populate the side area with widgets, images, navigation links and whatever else comes to your mind.
18 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
(+44) 871.075.0336
Follow us
Suivez nous Sophia, réseau belge des études de genre

+32 (0)2 229 38 69

Rue du Méridien 10, 1210 Bruxelles


PhD position: Transitmigration and urban arrival infrastructures in Belgium and the Netherlands

You will develop your own PhD-project within the framework of the H2020 project « ReROOT: Arrival infrastructures as sites of integration for recent newcomers ». ReROOT is a collaboration between 11 partner organisations both academic and societal, and is based on research in 9 different field sites across Europe. You will be based at the Anthropology department of KU Leuven, more specifically at the Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre (IMMRC) where anthropologists conduct research and provide teaching on changing practices of social and identity formation through cultural and religious practices and discourses at the nexus of diversity and inequality, migration and (im)mobility. The Department of Human Geography (Utrecht University) – Ilse van Liempt and Gideon Bolt – is the academic hub for your research in The Netherlands.


Website unit


ReROOT focuses on processes of recent migrants’ settlement, interconnections and belonging through the concept of arrival infrastructures. Arrival infrastructures are produced by various actors and shape migrants’ pathways into employment, housing, education and training, public services, religious, cultural or leisure activities, neighbourhood organisations etc. In nine settings in Europe, ReROOT documents processes of arrival, investigates diverse strategies for intervening in the arrival infrastructure and translates these insights into workbooks, tools and educative material for civil society organisations, professionals, and policy makers.

With Brussels and Amsterdam as empirical vantage points, your PhD project will focus on the use and co-construction of urban welcoming infrastructures by/for ‘transit migrants’ from East Africa and the Middle East. This includes but is not limited to the access to and co-construction of precarious housing and the building of ‘mobile commons’ of care, legal advice, social networking and subaltern economic activities.

Your tasks include:

  • Mapping and ethnographically researching and describing the arrival infrastructures for ‘transit migrants’ in different relevant sites across Belgium, the Netherlands and, possibly, northern France;
  • Designing research instruments and ethnographic strategies and techniques in collaboration with research participants (fellow researchers in other projects as well as interlocutors);
  • Engaging in reflexive analyses with various stakeholders such as welcome initiatives, local authorities, security services, NGOs, etc.
  • Identifying and interpreting relevant secondary data and policy documents;
  • Sharing your emerging data and insights with the other ReROOT research teams across Europe.
  • Writing articles for academic (English) and practical (Dutch) purposes;
  • Giving presentations at Dutch, Belgian and international conferences;
  • Limited duties such as teaching/research assistance at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology (KU Leuven) (max.0.1 FTE/year)
  • Completing a PhD dissertation in Social and Cultural Anthropology within 4 years at KU Leuven, under the supervision of Karel Arnaut and Bruno Meeus (KU Leuven) and Ilse van Liempt (UU).


  • A (Research) Master’s degree (completed or near completion) in anthropology, human geography, or social sciences;
  • Knowledge of and affinity with migration issues;
  • Research experience in ethnographic methods;
  • Competence in writing academic papers (evident from your individual Bachelor’s thesis, Master’s thesis and/or other publications);
  • An excellent command of written and spoken Dutch and English; Knowledge of other relevant languages (Arabic, Kurdish, Amharic, Somali, Farsi, etc.) is valued.
  • The ability to make independent decisions, and develop, implement and complete plans satisfactorily within the framework of the project and the given time frame;
  • Affinity with working in an international setting;
  • A proactive attitude and good planning skills;
  • Strong social and communicative skills.


We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE), initially for two years, with extension to a total of four years upon successful assessment, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. In the course of the project you will also accomplish a research stay at Utrecht University.

You will be supervised by three enthusiastic researchers who occupy key positions in the Horizon 2020 ReROOT project.

The starting date is 1 July 2021.



For more information please contact Prof. dr. Karel Arnaut, mail: karel.arnaut@kuleuven.be or Dr. Bruno Meeus, mail: bruno.meeus@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than April 01, 2021 via the online application tool