The School for Studies in Art and Culture at Carleton University and Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation are accepting applications for a postdoctoral fellowship in Electronic Music History. The anticipated start date will be September 3rd, 2024 with a flexible duration of either one year (full-time) or two years (part-time).

The postdoctoral fellow will join a project investigating the history and significance of the 1948 Electronic Sackbut: a keystone artifact in Ingenium’s national electronic musical instrument collection. Designed and built by Canadian physicist Hugh Le Caine, in Ottawa, between 1945 and 1948, the Electronic Sackbut is widely recognized as one of the world’s first synthesizers—and is likely the oldest surviving example of its kind. The instrument was acquired by the museum in 1975 and is currently the subject of a multi-year reconstruction project.

Department Background Information

Carleton’s School for Studies in Art and Culture (SSAC) is an interdisciplinary school with programs in Music, Art and Architectural History, and Film Studies. Carleton Music offers two undergraduate streams, the Bachelor of Music (BMus) and the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Music, as well as a graduate program, the MA in Music and Culture. SSAC is closely affiliated with Carleton’s Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture (ICSLAC), which offers two interdisciplinary graduate programs: a PhD in Cultural Mediations, designed to advance understanding of cultural theory and practices that inform literary studies, cinema studies and work in music, art history, and new media; and a Graduate Diploma in Curatorial Studies, designed to train curators in the practical and critical skills of the curatorial profession.

Ingenium (located in Ottawa, Canada) is the crown corporation that oversees Canada’s three national museums of science and innovation: the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. Ingenium’s state-of-the-art collection facility is home to more than 150,000 artifacts, two million library and archival objects, a Digital Innovation Lab, Conservation Lab, and Library and Archives. It is also home to the Ingenium Research Institute, which supports research projects on-site and across the country, including a dedicated sound museology project called Sound Artifacts.

Research Project Overview

The postdoctoral fellow will be engaged in situating the Electronic Sackbut in the history of electronic instruments in general, and the history of the synthesizer in particular. Current understandings of the Electronic Sackbut are predominantly based on the foundational work of composer Gayle Young, most notably her 1991 biographical account of the instrument’s maker: The Sackbut Blues: Hugh Le Caine, Pioneer in Electronic Music. The field of electronic music history has flourished in the decades since, leading to the development of new artifact and archival collections, new digital resources and repositories, and a growing international community of enthusiasts and scholars. Today, this field continues to deepen our collective understanding and appreciation of the history of electronic music and the many 20th century instruments and instrument makers that helped shape it.

As Ingenium museum staff work toward building a full-scale, fully-functional reconstruction of the Electronic Sackbut artifact—which hasn’t been playable for 70 years—they seek to generate new insight into the instrument’s original design context, broader influence, and enduring technological and musical significance. As a research associate of the Electronic Sackbut Reconstruction Project team, the fellow will be responsible for: seeking out relevant historical evidence, in artifact and archival collections, to support the team’s research goals; establishing clear, evidence-based connections with contemporary (ca. 1930-1970) electronic musical instruments and makers; and producing a clear and engaging scholarly research report, firmly situating the Electronic Sackbut among the world’s first voltage-controlled synthesizers.

Research Project Supervisor and Principal Investigator

Dr. Tom Everrett (Principal Investigator, Co-Supervisor)
Adjunct Professor, Curatorial Studies (ICSLAC), Carleton University

Curator, Communication Technologies, Ingenium

Dr. Jesse Stewart (Co-Supervisor)

Associate Professor, Head of Music (Department of Music/ICSLAC), Carleton University


The postdoctoral fellow will be offered a salary of $50,000 per annum (1 year, full-time) or $25,000 per annum (2 years, part-time), inclusive of any required travel. The fellow will have the ability to opt into an extended health and dental benefit plan. This position is non-unionized.

Position Duties and Responsibilities

The incumbent of this position will, under the direction of Dr. Tom Everrett and Dr. Jesse Stewart, be responsible for leading the research activities of the project, including but not limited to the following core responsibilities:

  • Assembling a finding guide of primary source research materials, located in international artifact and archival collections, that document the early development of the voltage-controlled synthesizer (ca. 1930-1970)
  • Submission of a well-researched and engaging scholarly report that clearly identifies the Electronic Sackbut’s place in the history of electronic musical instrument design. This will include: clarifying the instrument’s status among the world’s first voltage-controlled synthesizers; establishing tangible connections with other international electronic musical instruments and makers from this period (ca. 1930-1970); defining exactly what a “synthesizer” is and how the Electronic Sackbut factored into its technological development, broader public acceptance, and enduring significance
  • Distillation of this scholarly work into a series of engaging, public-facing materials (e.g. blog posts, photo essays) to be shared in the context of Ingenium’s Electronic Sackbut Reconstruction Project website, which aims to cultivate a wider understanding of, and appreciation for, the Electronic Sackbut’s contributions to the history of electronic music

Job Requirements

  • Candidates must have a PhD, or expect to receive a PhD, before the start of the appointment
  • Candidates must be familiar with analogue electronics design (i.e. can understand the architecture of electronic musical instruments, interpret circuit diagrams, and compare the design of different electronic instruments from both a technical and musical standpoint)
  • Candidates must demonstrate strong research and writing skills
  • Candidates must be prepared to spend considerable research time in Ottawa, where the majority of the Hugh Le Caine artifact and archival collections are located
  • Candidates should have a background in the history of electronic musical instrument design, though candidates with a background in related disciplines (communications, musical instrument history/organology, acoustics, electronics, etc.) will also be considered


Accommodations and Accessibility

Should you require a copy of this posting in an alternate format, please contact us as soon as possible and we would be happy to get one to you in a timely manner. We believe in the importance of supporting on-the-job success for the incumbent and are pleased to discuss and/or provide specific tools, resources or other requirements for day-to-day work requirements, as needed.

About Carleton University and Ingenium:

Carleton University and Ingenium are dynamic and innovative research and teaching institutions with national and international reputations as leaders in collaborative teaching and learning, research and governance. To learn more about Carleton university and the City of Ottawa, please visit To learn more about Ingenium, please visit

Carleton University and Ingenium are committed to fostering diversity within their communities as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our institutions including, but not limited to: women; visible minorities; First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples; persons with disabilities; and persons of any sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. Carleton and Ingenium understand that career paths vary. Legitimate career interruptions will in no way prejudice the assessment process and their impact will be taken into careful consideration.

We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. If contacted for an interview, please inform us should accommodation be required,
and arrangements will be made in a timely manner. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.


Application Instructions

Applications must be sent electronically in a single PDF file containing a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information of three referees, to Dr. Tom Everrett ( and Dr. Jesse Stewart ( by June 15, 2024. Please indicate in your application if you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada.