PhD fellowship in the field of Playful Learning in Aarhus, Denmark

PhD fellowship in the field of Playful Learning: A passionate and playful teaching culture in pedagogue education at VIA University College (5+3)

The Graduate School at Arts, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University, in collaboration with VIA University College, invites applications for a fully-funded PhD fellowship in Playful Learning: A passionate and playful teaching culture in pedagogue education at VIA University College provided the necessary funding is available. This PhD fellowship is available as of 1 April 2020 at the latest for a period of up to three years (5+3). The candidate who is awarded the fellowship must commence his/her PhD degree programme no later than 1 April 2020. 

The PhD fellowship will be financed by the 2 parties.

VIA University College in collaboration with DPU, Aarhus University, invites applications for a PhD.-fellowship that will explore how passion among students and teachers may contribute to a playful teaching culture in pedagogue education.

The PhD.-fellowship will be part of Playful Learning Research, which is a research extension of the Playful Learning program. The Playful Learning program is a long-term partnership between the LEGO Foundation and the six University Colleges in Denmark. In this program, The LEGO Foundation and the University Colleges in Denmark are working together in a comprehensive effort to support professional development among pedagogues and teachers. Initially, the Playful Learning program focuses on the development of professional knowledge that supports a playful approach to learning and development within pedagogue and teacher education. The focus is on working with PlayLabs, experiments with a playful approach to teaching and on capacity building among employees in the UC-sector. In a long-term perspective, the program has to lay the groundwork for more playful approaches to development and learning in Danish childcare and school settings.

In general, Playful Learning Research aims at creating new knowledge about play in relation to pedagogy, didactics and learning in pedagogue and teacher education, and at strengthening the research area of learning through play. Playful Learning Research is set to investigate how learning through play can become a cornerstone in the education of future teachers and pedagogues.

We are therefore offering a PhD-fellowship under the following topic: A passionate and playful teaching culture in pedagogue education at VIA University College.

We ask candidates to address the following in their project proposal:

  • To suggest how the subject may be explored when the ontological premise for human passion, experience and culture is assumed to be based on interrelated and mutually influential exchanges between our consciousness, body, other people and the world.
  • To suggest important connections between for instance passion, play ("leg"), teaching culture, communities of practice, curricular aims, existential meaning-making, and playful attitudes.
  • Attend to the dilemmas that may arise when, on the one hand, the aim is to create a passionate and playful teaching culture in pedagogue education that is experimental, unpredictable and wild, and which respects the existential and non-instrumental values of play. While on the other hand the aim is develop certain professional skills and virtues among students.
  • Methodologically, the Ph.D.-project has to be founded in the tradition of Design-Based Research with a special focus on generating empirical data through a series of design experiments made in close collaboration with teachers and students of pedagogue education at VIA University College.
  • To suggest how Playful-learning experiments may be designed that can explore how both students of pedagogue education and their teachers can contribute to the creation of a passionate and playful teaching culture.
  • To suggest how lived, existential and intersubjective dimensions of the study may be the subject of investigation and dissemination for instance by experimenting with aesthetic, poetic, audio-visual and / or other creative research and dissemination methods. Overall, it is emphasized that the candidate - in addition to scientific rigor - has a playful and experimental approach to the project.

The application must include a project description of max 5 pages and a motivation of max 1 page in order to be considered. This must include an introduction with project title, motivation, delimitation and problem formulation; a short state of art in the research field; a theoretical framework for the project; a brief description of Design-Based-Research as methodological approach; and list of references.

The PhD student must complete the studies in accordance with the valid regulations for the PhD degree programme, currently the Ministerial Order of 27 August 2013 on the PhD degree programme at the universities:

Description of the graduate school’s PhD degree programme:

Rules and regulations for the PhD degree programme at the Graduate School at Arts:  

The PhD fellow will be enrolled as a PhD student at the Graduate School at Arts, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University, with the aim of completing a PhD degree at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University.

The PhD student will be affiliated with the PhD programme Learning and Education.

The PhD student’s place of work will be both the Danish School of Education/Aarhus University

and VIA University College. As a guideline, the PhD scholar is expected to work an average of 60 percent at VIA University College and 40 percent at the Danish School of Education/Aarhus University during the overall period of study. The specific distribution of working hours will be agreed on at the time of employment/enrolment. In general, the student is expected to be present at the place of work on a daily basis.

The PhD degree programme is expected to include a lengthy research stay at a foreign institution, cf. Description of the graduate school’s PhD degree programme.

Danish School of Education’s research programme: 


5+3 programme

When you apply for a 3-year PhD fellowship (5+3), you must have completed your two year Master’s degree (120 ECTS) no later than the day before commencement of studies (i.e. 31 March 2020 if the enrolment is 1 April 2020).

The PhD fellow will be employed as a PhD student at the Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University. The terms of employment are in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (see section 6.1.4), as well as with the protocol to the agreement covering staff with university degrees in the state sector (see enclosure 5). The agreement and the protocol including amendments are available online:



If you require professional guidance regarding your application for the PhD fellowship please contact the PhD programme director at Learning and Education:

For further information, please contact Assistant Professor Ole Lund,, Phone +45 87 55 34 25.

The application can be written in both Danish and English.

All applicants must document English language qualifications comparable to an 'English B level' in the Danish upper secondary school ('gymnasium'). Please see this page for further information:  

Applications for the PhD fellowship and enrolment in the PhD degree programme can only be submitted via Aarhus University’s web-based facility.

Guidelines for the application facility:


Deadline for applications: 1 October 2020 at 23.59 Danish time (CET/CETS).
Reference number: 2019-16

During the assessments, Aarhus University can conduct interviews with selected applicants.