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(M/F) PhD student in visual and sound anthropology, sound and visual perception of the impacts of human activities in the marine environment

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : jeudi 2 juin 2022

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General information

Reference : UMR8562-CLAJOL-005
Workplace : MARSEILLE 02
Date of publication : Thursday, May 12, 2022
Scientific Responsible name : Boris Petric
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 September 2022
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

The research project to be proposed concerns the sound and visual dimension of human nuisances around the Marseilles coastline (Calanques National Park, Etang de Berre). The research will focus on the perception of visible/invisible, audible/non-audible phenomena of the impacts of human activities in the marine environment. It will enable the identification, collection and recording of underwater sound and visual nuisances identified by the members of the project. The thesis will be part of the interdisciplinary research project "PrésHuMer" and will address questions of measurement, perception and feeling in order to renew the forms of representation of the impact of human activities on marine life. The objective will be to present a thesis in the form of a manuscript combined with visual and/or sound supports.
The candidate should have skills in Anthropology and Visual Anthropology; a strong interest in Ecology, Marine Environment, diving and a curiosity for marine chemistry and biology.
The candidate should have a profile with particular skills in sound recording.

Work Context

The PrésHuMer project, which includes the thesis, proposes a collaboration between the Centre Norbert Elias (CNE), the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanology (MIO) and the Observatory of the Sciences of the Universe Institut Pythéas (OSU Pythéas).
The candidate will carry out his/her project under the direction of an anthropologist from the Norbert Elias Centre, Boris Petric, in co-direction with an oceanographer from the MIO, Stéphanie Jacquet.
He or she will be attached to the Norbert Elias Centre and will join the team of La fabrique des écritures. He or she will work on the Vieille Charité campus in Marseille, but will also travel to other parts of the region, in particular for sea trips on the Marseille coastline.

The Norbert Elias Centre brings together researchers from different disciplines (anthropology, history, information and communication sciences, sociology) who are convinced of the unity of the human and social sciences. The laboratory is located on the EHESS Marseille campus at Vieille Charité and on the Hannah Arendt campus at Avignon University. It brings together nearly 50 researchers, 80 doctoral students and a support team of about ten people who work on the analysis and description of social worlds.
Coming from different intellectual backgrounds, the researchers claim to have a variety of sociological, anthropological and historical references and theories. They share a conception of the social sciences in which investigation, both archival and fieldwork, is an essential feature. This is linked to a sustained attention to forms of description.

Constraints and risks

Presentation of the collaborative project "PrésHumer":

PrésHuMer will start from a common question: What can we perceive of the human presence under the sea?
Behind this question of sound and visual perception, three main lines of thought are emerging as the basis of our project, namely

1/ How to measure the impact of human activity on underwater ecosystems?
- anthropic nuisances and their impact: solid/liquid discharges, noise, introduced species, modification of landscapes
- measure: water colour (turbidity, water density, presence of photosynthetic organisms, elements/molecules/particles), flow. quantitative measurement (count, abundance/concentration, diversity), behaviour

2/ How to measure and/or imagine the perception of human activities by the occupants of underwater ecosystems?
- making nuisances visible/perceptible through sound recordings, different ranges of perception between different organisms, multi-sense perceptions (auditory but also bodily depending on the size of the organisms evolving in a viscous environment), dynamic waves of phenomena (distances between the activity and its repercussions, sound circulating more quickly underwater)

3/ How can these first two lines of thought be made visible to the public, in particular by using sensory devices (or how to put humans in the shoes of fish)?
In particular, it will be a question of imagining immersive devices that allow the public to feel the nuisances caused by human activities.
Each of these areas will have to be developed in its own right, as well as through cross-referencing, for example, to compare a scientific measurement with a "feeling".

This exploratory project will be based primarily on video and sound recordings at a number of sites identified by OSU Institut Pythéas researchers, in particular the Institut Méditerranéen d'Océanologie and the Centre Norbert Elias.
The development of immersive devices will allow the apprehension of scientific study devices through images and especially sound, but also to film and capture sounds from "bottom to top", highlighting the impact of human activities on the surface or underwater and attempting to restore the disturbances that they may generate on underwater habitats and their communities.
The device will thus seek to visualise / capture the sounds by looking / listening from the bottom to the top, the various anthropic flows and traces:
- Ephemeral flows such as passing boats (jet skis, cruise ships, shuttles, boats, sailboats, windsurfers, paddles etc)
- Permanent or regular flows (wastewater, urban/industrial effluent discharge)
- Permanent additions/inputs and traces in the underwater landscape (pipes, cables, vehicles, bottles, tyres, shipwrecks, etc.).
The underwater environment will then be considered as a social landscape where humans and marine communities interact in a context where the underwater environment remains largely represented as an exotic world, foreign to humans.

Sensory devices will thus be imagined to "immerse" the public in these underwater worlds with the aim of making the invisible visible or the inaudible audible through new forms of sensory writing of the sea bed where a human presence is present.
The objective will be to represent and make perceptible the impact of the human presence on the living marine worlds.
Moreover, for its development, this project will rely on the experience of several members who have participated in different arts and sciences projects, offering the opportunity to restore the sound and visual landscapes of the seabed thanks to their skills of sound and visual capture.

Additional Information

Please attach to your application a CV, a letter of motivation, scientific (publications) and artistic references (portfolio links), copy of Master's degree or transcripts (for Master's students)

Please note that the auditions of the pre-selected candidates will take place on 8 June afternoon.

The candidate must be available by 1 September 2022 to start his/her doctoral contract.

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