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SKILLNET – Sharing Knowledge in Learned and Literary Networks


BA or MA Internships at SKILLNET (History Department, UU)

Enthusiastic Bachelor or Master students are welcome to join the SKILLNET team as interns. The project ‘Sharing Knowledge in Learned and Literary Networks’ (SKILLNET) studies early modern scholarship, concentrating on scientists who transcended religious, political and linguistic boundaries. From about 1500 to around 1800, these scholars belonged to a European knowledge-based civil society known as the ‘Republic of Letters’. The people who constituted this community have left behind hundreds of thousands of letters, manuscripts, and other material. Thanks to an unprecedented body of digital data of such documents, at SKILLNET we combine methods of close and distant reading to unravel the social structure of the Republic of Letters. This analysis will allow us to, for example, trace changes in the way the scholars related to the ideal of sharing knowledge and to look at the methods they used to communicate this ideal to future generations. You can find more information about SKILLNET and the projects of its team members on this website.

The specific responsibilities will vary per intern (based on your BA/MA, interests and skills), but in general students will be expected to:

  • support the researchers in collecting and managing historical data (working with datasets, online material as well as printed and archival sources). For instance, collecting and structuring biographical information about scholars and reconciling a list of names against a virtual authority file, geocoding place names and visualising relational data;
  • support the researchers in our contact with the public (working on the website, newsletter, our crowdsourcing platform CEMROL, and other outreach initiatives);
  • contribute to the organization of seminars and conferences and participate in the other activities of the SKILLNET team (located at the Drift 6 in Utrecht).

We are looking for BA and MA students (in History, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Literature, Philosophy, Taal- en Cultuurstudies, at the UU, UCU or another Dutch University), who have:

  • the motivation to work hard, learn a lot, and participate as a member of our team (this motivation is key, not your skills as such);
  • a strong interest in the history of the early modern period;
  • an affinity with cultural history and/or the history of science and knowledge;
  • knowledge of datasets and digital tools in history, or a willingness to acquire this;
  • good command of English (since we have an international team);
  • the ability to work both independently and as a team player.


We offer:

  • internships to BA or MA students (1-3 days a week, 5-15 ECTS);
  • the opportunity to experience what historical research looks like ‘from the inside’ and to be part of a large, international research team;
  • training in Digital Humanities research and acquisition of transferable skills, such as text mining, data management and cleaning, collective biography, quantitative approaches to historical questions, and archival research;
  • the possibility to present your work at one of our seminars or conferences;
  • reimbursement for travel expenses related to the project.


Interested? Get in touch with dr Karen Hollewand (k.e.hollewand@uu.nl).