PhD Research Fellow in Artistic Research: songwriting

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 30 Oct 2023

30th October 2023

  • Norsk Bokmål
  • English

PhD Research Fellow in Artistic Research: songwriting
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About the position

At the University of Agder, Faculty of Fine Arts, there are up to two full-time positions available as doctoral research fellows in artistic research within popular music, affiliated with the Department of Popular Music, for a period of three years, possibly four years with 25% mandatory work. The workplace is Campus Kristiansand. Start date to be determined in agreement with the faculty.

Our PhD program in artistic research is a joint degree offered by the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Agder, and the Faculty of Performing Arts, University of Stavanger. The faculty offers PhD education as well as several master's and bachelor's degree programmes in the field of fine arts, including PhD specialisation in performing popular music and master's specialisations in performance, electronic music, songwriting, world music, and music business management.

The Department of Popular Music is Norway's largest educational institution within popular music, and it has highly qualified staff members with strong artistic competence in popular music performance, as well as staff members who possess extensive national and international networks. Additionally, the department has solid expertise in musicological guidance. These individuals will be important contributors to the support environment for the doctoral candidate and may also serve as potential supervisors for the appointed individual. The department was also awarded a Centre for Excellence in Education (SFU) in 2022.

The faculty has made significant investments in recording studios which meet high international standards and, in addition, has its own 3D audio system, excellent concert halls, and well-equipped practice rooms.

The University of Agder is looking for performing songwriters/composers/lyricists who want to complete a PhD program in artistic development research at the Faculty of Arts, Department of Popular Music, and we are looking for applicants with a clear performer's perspective within songwriting as an artistic and creative practice.

The creative songwriting process often involves lyrics, composition, and production simultaneously – songwriting and production are now considered two sides of the same coin. Both encompass a wealth of facets and operate across the entire spectrum of commercial and experimental popular music. Research from an insider's perspective is lacking today, and it is crucial for UiA to be an active participant in current and future practices, both for the sake of research and art, as well as for our students and the education we offer. The discourse surrounding songwriting as an artistic and creative practice, and how we can better understand it as an overlapping activity between different focus areas, will have significance for current and future songwriters, organisations representing songwriters, educators and researchers, and the role that songwriting has and will have as an artistic expression in society in the future.

The PhD programme in artistic research is the equivalent of organised research training in the field of arts, where artistic practice takes centre stage in the doctoral work. Simultaneously, artistic practice should be accompanied by an explicit reflection that, through project presentations, allows others to engage with the working methods and insights generated by artistic development work.

In accordance with good academic practice and research ethics standards, the doctoral education aims to qualify individuals for artistic development work of an international standard and for other positions in society that require high levels of artistic insight and competence.

Candidates should be at the forefront of knowledge in key practices, trends, and discussions within the artistic field. Upon completion of the education, candidates should also be capable of developing, articulating, and executing artistically complex and academically relevant projects, as well as communicating their own work in a manner that generates attention around the themes addressed in their work. Throughout the doctoral education, candidates should be able to identify relevant ethical issues and exercise their artistic practice with academic integrity.

For more information about the doctoral education , please visit our website.


The University of Agder is seeking performing songwriters/composers/lyricists who, over a period of 3 (4) years, wish to develop and explore a specific area of knowledge within the field of songwriting, where creative processes in artistic practice are the overarching theme. The project can address, but is not limited to, areas such as innovation and tradition, co-writing, toplining, AI and technology, and songwriting as an artistic expression.

In addition to the academic and personal qualifications, the project outline will be central to the evaluation of the application. In the project description, we request a comprehensive overview of the key artistic activities and outcomes in the project, as well as highlighting which aspects of the artistic practice will be of particular interest for reflection in the PhD work. It is important to us that candidates develop projects that complement their own academic strengths, interests, and artistic profile.

Project proposal 

The applicant must prepare a preliminary project outline for a doctoral project within the field, which should clearly define the research question, relevance, and theoretical and methodological approach. The project outline will be included in the competence assessment. During the first three months of the employment period, the project outline and work plan will be further developed in collaboration with the supervisors and refined into the final plan for the PhD project.

You can find a template for the project outline here.

UiA aims to organise application seminars for potential candidates to assist them in the application process.

It is expected that those who are appointed will actively participate in and contribute to one of the research groups established at the Department of Popular Music and the Popular Music Research Unit (PMRU). The PMRU is a research unit under the Department of Popular Music and the Faculty of Fine Arts, established to organise the five research groups and promote research activity in popular music at the national and international level. Further information about the research groups and PMRU can be found here:


Further criteria relating to the position as PhD Research Fellow can be found in the “Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the position of Post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident”.

Applicants must hold a master’s degree/second degree level, or the equivalent in a relevant professional field. Artistic competence and production, after special assessment, can provide a basis for admission to the programme.

Candidates who are currently in the closing stages of their master’s degree can also apply.

The working language at the University of Agder is Norwegian. In this position, Norwegian language skills are not required, but knowledge of Norwegian or another Scandinavian language is an advantage. A high level of proficiency in both oral and written English is required.

Regarding English skills, please check here to see if an English test is required. Possible categories of applicants from particular countries may be exempted. Please note that the English test requirement applies to applicants from most countries according to the list mentioned above. No other tests will be approved, and certifications/statements cannot replace a test. Applicants from some countries must document their English proficiency through one of the following tests with the stated results or better:

TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language with a minimum score of 550 on the Paper-based Test (PBT), or 80 on the Internet based Test (iBT)

IELTS - International English Language Testing System, with a result of at least 6.0.

Additional evaluation of English language skills may be done during an interview.

Furthermore, it is an advantage that the candidate:

  • performs music at a level that, by completion of the three-year programme in artistic research, will be able to demonstrate artistic performance at a high international level
  • has the ability and willingness to reflect upon one’s own artistic music performance and to cooperate in an artistic and academic work environment
  • is motivated, and well equipped to complete the PhD programme within the 3 year employment period
  • can work independently, as well as in a team, and be innovative and creative
  • is organised, and has a high work capacity

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We offer
  • Professional development in an exciting and important organisation
  • A good and inclusive working environment
  • Modern facilities [DRL1] 
  • Comprehensive welfare benefits
  • Membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

More about working at UiA.

The position is remunerated according to the State salary scale, salary plan 17.515, code 1017 Research Fellow, gross salary per year NOK 532 200. A 2 % compulsory pension contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund is deducted from the pay according to current statutory provisions.

General information

UiA is an open and inclusive university. We believe that diversity enriches the workplace and makes us better. We, therefore, encourage qualified candidates to apply for the position independent of gender, age, cultural background, disability or gaps in their CV.

The Faculty of Fine Arts aspires to engage more women in top artistic-/scientific positions, and from a long-term perspective, women are encouraged to apply for the position. 

The successful applicant will have rights and obligations in accordance with the current regulations for the position. Appointment is made by the University of Agder’s Appointments Committee for Teaching and Research Positions. For employees in PhD Fellowship positions at the Faculty of Fine Arts, there is a duty of residence during the period of employment in accordance with regulations concerning academic positions in the state sector.

Short-listed applicants will be invited for interviews, and possibly trial lectures/performances or additional documentation of artistic performance. With the applicant’s permission, UiA will conduct a reference check. Read more about the employment process.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act § 25 (2), applicants may request that they are not identified in the open list of applicants. The University, however, reserves the right to publish the names of applicants. Applicants will be advised of the University’s intention to exercise this right.

In case of discrepancies between the Norwegian and the English version of this description, the Norwegian version takes precedence.


The application and any necessary information concerning education and experience (including diplomas and certificates) are to be sent electronically. Use the link "Apply for this job".

The following documentation must be uploaded electronically:

  • Project description with a maximum of 5 pages, including the reference list. The outline should present and discuss possible artistic research questions, theoretical perspectives, methods, materials, and a progress plan with stipulated expenses within the given framework of NOK 150 000 in total.
  • Curriculum Vitae, including a full list of education, work experience and artistic work, with a link to Dropbox, Soundcloud, YouTube or the equivalent.
  • Certificates with grades for all education exceeding upper secondary level
  • Certificate from graduate studies, including a list of courses completed
  • For education from institutions outside of Norway, please include an official description of the grading system of the institution
  • Master’s thesis
  • Letters of reference
  • A complete list of Academic work and/or Artistic development work
  • Academic work and/or Artistic development work (maximum 5)

The applicant is fully responsible for submitting complete digital documentation before the closing date. All documentation must be available in a Scandinavian language or English. Translated material must be certified.

Application deadline: 30 October 2023.


For questions about the position:

  • Head of the Department of Popular Music Erik Gunvaldsen Tel. (+47) 917 13 715, e-mail
  • Head of the PhD Programme Per Elias Drabløs Tel. (+47) 90024437, e-mail

For questions about the application process:

Senior Adviser (HR) Tone E. Furre, Tel. (+47) 911 00 030, e-mail

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University of Agder

The University of Agder has more than 1500 employees and almost 14 000 students. This makes us one of the largest workplaces in Southern Norway. Our staff research, teach and disseminate knowledge from a variety of academic fields. Co-creation of knowledge is our common vision. We offer a broad range of study programmes in many fields. We are situated at two modern campuses in Kristiansand and Grimstad respectively.

We are an open and inclusive university marked by a culture of cooperation. The aim of the university is to further develop education and research at a high international level.

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30th October 2023


University of Agder




Fulltime (1 positions) Fulltime (%)


Fixed Term

Place of service
Gimlemoen 25, 4630 Kristiansand s


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