Collaborative research as community learning in a Higher Education context, or “What would Rod Stewart do?”

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This paper is a reflective study of a collaborative research experience involving four colleagues. We discuss our experiences to consider how to develop a supportive collegial relationship at a time when working in higher education is often framed as competitive and focused upon defined ‘outputs’. To make the analysis we explore the role of language in positioning us as Foucauldian subjects, we consider how self-identity is visually and orally produced within the sharing of life history narratives and personal inventories, and we reflect upon how we navigated the research process together, in particular noting the importance of our humorous invocation of the 1970s pop idol Rod Stewart to counter tensions. This article contributes to an emerging area of research that identifies a need for ethical approaches to co-working within academic circles. We conclude by reflecting on what we can offer to other academics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-491
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020


  • academic freedom
  • Life history narrative
  • co-constructed identity
  • qualitative research
  • learning community

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