Postdoc: Hero’s Automata (Glasgow)

August 7th, 2014 by Gabriel Bodard

Posted for Ian Ruffell.

(The post can be found on the University of Glasgow website via the search page here (search on the College of Arts): http://www.gla.ac.uk/about/jobs/vacancies/. Some more details about the project are here: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/humanities/research/classicsresearch/researchprojects/heroandhisautomata/.)

Research Associate
Reference Number 009086
Closing date: August 24, 2014
Location Gilmorehill Campus / Main Building
College / Service COLLEGE OF ARTS
Department SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES
Job Family Research And Teaching
Position Type Full Time
Salary Range £32,590 – £36,661

Job Purpose

This post is part of the project ‘Hero of Alexandria and his Theatrical Automata’, funded by the Leverhulme Trust (PI: Dr Ian Ruffell, School of Humanities; Co-I Dr Euan McGookin, School of Engineering). Based in the University of Glasgow (Classics, School of Humanities), the project runs from 1 October 2014 to 30 September 2017. The project investigates Hero of Alexandria’s treatise on the making of automata, and will design, build andthe models described in that work. The post is full-time and available for 36 months from October 1, 2014. The post holder will prototype, build and test versions of the automata, working in collaboration with the rest of the project team in technical analysis of the text. The successful candidate will i) use 3D-modelling (training will be provided) and rapid prototyping equipment to explore possible designs of the automata, ii) with the aid of technicians in the School of Engineering, build full-scale working models of the automata; iii) combine practical data with textual and contextual elements in the project website, iv) test the scope and limitations of the models in performance in dialogue with practitioners and audiences.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

The post holder’s principal duties and responsibilities are:

1. To design and test models of the automata described in Hero of Alexandria’s treatise On the Making of Automata (peri automatopoiētikēs) using computer-aided design and rapid prototyping;
2. To build full-scale working models, utilising the technical resources of the School of Engineering;
3. To evaluate the scope and limitations of the automata in practical performance and to engage in dialogue with practitioners in relevant performance media;
4. To design, build and maintain the project website, integrating schematics, models and live recording of the automatas into an online text and commentary;
5. To build and maintain other web resources as required;
6. To undertake any other research-related tasks as requested by the PI;
7. To participate in regular project meetings;
8. To undergo training as required ensuring familiarity with project processes and software systems;
9. To contribute to the enhancement of the University’s international profile in line with the University’s Strategic Plan, Glasgow 2020 – A Global Vision. http://www.gla.ac.uk/media
10. To write an article, in collaboration with the Co-I, reflecting on the practice of creating working automata on the basis of the text;
11. To present your research contribution to conferences and other scholarly encounters;
12. To explore pathways to Impact for the project;
13. To identify other appropriate avenues for dissemination of project findings and take a leading role in presenting the project research via these routes;
14. To take a lead in identifying improvements to project processes

This list is not exhaustive but highlights the key tasks the post holder will be expected to undertake.

Knowledge, Qualifications, Skills and Experience

Knowledge and Qualifications
Essential
A1. Good first degree in Classics, Archaeology or a related field in the humanities;
A2. A PhD in Classics, Archaeology, Digital Humanities or a relevant related field and 1-2 years postdoctoral research experience’

Desirable
B1. Knowledge of ancient Greek to Honours level or above;
B2. Reading knowledge of one or more of the following modern languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish;
B3. Good knowledge of classical Greek and Latin;
B4. Demonstrable interest in and familiarity with ancient mechanics, mathematics or other technical writing;
B5. Demonstrable interest in and familiarity with practical engineering or experimental archaeology;
B6. Demonstrable interest in Digital Humanities.

Skills
Essential
C1. Excellent communications skills, both oral and written;
C2. Good interpersonal and presentation skills;
C3. Time- and project-management skills and the ability to work to deadlines;
C4. Ability to use initiative and independent judgement;
C5. Ability to work as part of a team;
C6. Excellent IT skills, including knowledge of basic web technologies, (X)HTML and CSS;
C7. Ability to self-motivate and to work with little supervision.

Desirable:
D1. Ability to self-motivate and to work with little supervision;
D2. Familiarity with textual markup, XML and the TEI;
D3. Familiarity with HTML5 and Javascript.

ExperienceEssential:
E1. At least 2 years’ research experience in Classics, Archaeology, Digital Humanities or a related subject;
E2. Typically 5 years relevant research experience which should include 1-2 years postdoctoral experience in related research area;
E3. A track record in academic publications commensurate with stage of academic career.

Desirable:
F1. Experience of working in a team;
F2. Experience of experimental archaeology, engineering or related disciplines;
F3. Experience with computer-aided design (CAD) software, especially 3D modelling software; move to experience
F4. Experience of presenting research at conferences or in other research environments.

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