Postdoctoral Research Fellow Indigenous Visual Culture Research Centre – OCAD University

Postdoctoral Research Fellow 

Indigenous Visual Culture Research Centre

OCAD University

Position Summary: 
Over a two year period the Postdoctoral Fellow will collect data on the topic of Indigenous views of Europeans from primary and secondary sources. They will approach visual primary source material using standard historical and art historical methods of document analysis, stylistic and formal analysis, as well as literary and ethnographic analysis. Primary sources will include, but will not be limited to, historical Indigenous visual and material culture in Canadian and international collections such as paintings, illustrations, carvings, voice and visual recordings, and contemporary Canadian and international Indigenous visual art, material culture and performance. Due to the diverse character of these materials, research will be approached from different and interdisciplinary perspectives. Indigenous research methodologies will privilege a wider range of sensorial experiences over just the visual.

This research, and where appropriate, records of the primary source materials used in the research, will be deposited with the Indigenous Visual Culture Research Centre (INVC/RC), and managed through an online commons. This commons, a research resource, is now being developed by a web designer, and will be managed by Dr. McMaster, the postdoctoral researcher, and a web designer. The commons will serve the Centre’s primary audiences, including the international scholarly and professional community in the field, and in Canada, Indigenous originating communities, the education sector and the general public. The team will work together to ensure that the content uploaded onto the website is accessible and socially and culturally responsible to its various audiences. By generating content for the online commons, and for scholarly and public-oriented print and online publications, this research will make an original and sustained contribution to its audiences, all of whom will benefit from increased understanding of the roles of Indigenous people in shaping Canadian culture and society.

OCAD University’s promotion of interdisciplinary research methodologies and conceptual orientations renders it the most appropriate intellectual environment to support postdoctoral research.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will play a leadership role in the INVC/RC, reporting directly to Dr. Gerald McMaster (Professor and Director of the INVC/RC). Bringing a skill-based knowledge, the Postdoctoral Fellow will also have theoretical/conceptual understanding and/or lived experienced of Indigenous epistemologies in visual culture.

Summary of Responsibilities:

  • Lead the development of “Indigenous views of the other” project
  • Provide knowledge of ways to evaluate the art and material culture of “others” and how this changes over time
  • Develop new methods for analyzing, interpreting, and compiling data on gaze theory, the central concept that guides this research and which will significantly develop our understanding of Indigenous representations of “others”
  • Engage with Indigenous voices to decolonize Indigenous history through a rigorous deconstruction of general interpretations and to re-evaluate Canadian and US history “through Native eyes”
  • Conduct literature reviews and keep abreast of newest developments in the field by collecting data on the topic of Indigenous views of Europeans from primary and secondary sources
  • Manage and supervise graduate and undergraduate research assistants
  • Present results at academic conferences, prepare and publish peer-reviewed articles, and participate in the preparation of grant application packages


  • PhD degree in Art History or Canadian Studies (graduated with a PhD on or after January, 2018 or will graduate with PhD by December, 2018). Exceptions will be considered.
    • A solid theoretical/conceptual understanding and/or lived experienced of Indigenous epistemologies in visual culture.
    • Experience with historic and contemporary Indigenous art
    • Research skills that draw from the disciplines of history and art history, cultural studies, museum anthropology and contemporary art practice
    • demonstrated ability or potential to teach at the post-secondary level and show an aptitude for innovative curriculum development and delivery
    • Proven ability to multi-task in a deadline oriented environment with minimal supervision 
    • Effective oral and written communication, analytical, and interpersonal skills 
    • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to learn new skills quickly
    • Demonstrated ability to work independently and participate collaboratively in a team environment
    • Accuracy and attention to detail


    • Works independently under direction of principle investigator, Dr. Gerald McMaster
    • Opportunities to work collaboratively on and with other researchers at OCAD University 

    About the Indigenous Visual Culture Research centre (INVC/RC):

    The Indigenous Visual Culture Research Centre’s (INVC/RC) primary objective is to map – on a local, national and international scale – the cultural translations that occur when Indigenous and historical settler cultures come into contact. To that end, the plan has been to focus on the ways in which such interactions reflect, stimulate, and produce original artistic expressions among Indigenous peoples in colonial and post-colonial contexts, and the influence of those expressions on mainstream society. Working primarily in the context of visual culture as an interdisciplinary practice that assumes broad contextual understanding of objects, the INVC/RC will be principally concerned with the visual art-related historical and contemporary consequences of contact and interaction between Indigenous/non-Indigenous as well as Indigenous/Indigenous artists.

    INVC/RC research and development activities focus on four main areas:

    • Research: on gaze theory and contact zones; building of research and knowledge-exchange links with Indigenous communities, scholars, and national/international collecting institutions
    • Collaboration: Development of an international network of Indigenous visual culture scholars, art historians, anthropologists, and artists to collaborate and generate innovative ideas related to history, theory and practice; creation of a website that will provide a hub for the research centre’s work in the digital humanities and that will be dedicated to raising public awareness about the issues being explored
    • Exhibition development: Production of major exhibitions, publications, and symposia that encourages scholarly, curatorial and public debate

    For more information, please visit or contact Dr. Gerald McMaster (

    Hours of Work: Full-time; Grant funded, Monday to Friday for a total of 35 hours per week. The expected duration of this contract is 24 months, beginning October, 2018 or when post is filled.

    Application Deadline:  The position will remain open until filled (review of applications will commence on receipt.)

    Applicants should provide a one page covering letter indicating their research interests and highlighting their strengths, an academic C.V. and three references.

    As an institution committed to art, design, digital media and related scholarship, OCAD University recognizes the profound and essential value that diversity brings to the creation, reception and circulation of creative practices and discourse.  OCAD University understands that valuing diverse creative practices and forms of knowledge are essential to, and enrich the institution’s core mission and vision as an art and design university with a local and global scope.

    As an employer committed to employment equity, we encourage applications from members of equity-seeking communities including women, racialized and Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions. We encourage members of equity-seeking groups to self-identify within the voluntary Applicant Questionnaire.

    OCAD University is committed to providing an inclusive and barrier free experience to applicants with accessibility needs. Requests for accommodation can be made at any stage during the recruitment process. Please contact Human Resources for more information or refer to OCAD U’s Policy of Accommodation in Employment for Persons with Disabilities

    All qualified persons are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority. While we thank all candidates for their interest, only those short-listed will be contacted.

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