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Research Assistant

University of Birmingham - School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Location: Birmingham
Salary: £26,495 to £28,936 per annum, with potential progression once in post to £32,548 a year.
Hours: Part Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 8th August 2018
Closes: 15th August 2018
Job Ref: 59761

Part time – 5.75 hours per week

Grade 6
Full time starting salary is normally in the range £26,495 to £28,936. With potential progression once in post to £32,548 a year.

Job summary

The Plastic Childhoods project explores the multiple entanglements of plastics with children’s everyday lives. This element will trace online-offline traces of plastic childhoods through social media and children’s everyday lives. It will focus upon selected plastic-containing objects often perceived to be emblematic of modern (‘plastic’) childhoods – recognising that those childhoods are diverse. These include dolls/figures, nappies, toy building blocks/bricks, foods and food packaging, and smart technologies (including smart toys and phones). This will involve three phases: (1) harvesting social media traces of these objects, and their association with childhoods, through Twitter (using a Twitter API), flickr  and Instagram (Hochman and Schwartz 2012), (2) analysing social media traces, diagramming and (where geolocation data available) mapping networks via hashtags, retweets and likes; (3) manual, ‘online archaeologies’: searching for objects such as dolls on eBay, paying attention to the narratives and values associated with (particularly vintage) objects as part of their ‘biographies’.

Main duties

  • Collect research data; specifically through harvesting and analysing a range of online and social media
  • Analyse research data as directed
  • Present research outputs, including drafting academic publications or parts thereof, for example at seminars and as posters
  • Develop or adapt techniques, models and methods
  • Provide guidance as required to support staff and any students who may be assisting with research
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines
  • Carry out administrative tasks related directly to the delivery of the research.

Skills and Experience

  • Degree or equivalent in relevant subject area
  • Practical experience of applying the relevant skills and techniques, and especially of analysing Twitter, Flickr and Instagram
  • Ability to analyse information and communicate effectively
  • Ability to access and organise resources successfully

Closing date: 15.08.2018                  Reference: 59761

To download the details and submit an electronic application online please click on the Apply Online button below; please quote Job Reference in all enquiries. Alternatively information can be obtained from 0121 415 9000 or visit

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