Session 4: Mastery over writing?

This week we had the second ‘peer led’ session of the group. We spent some time discussing the article by Barnacle and Dall’Alba, the idea of mastery and how we handled this vis a vis our writing. We talked a lot about the blog post  “showing my knickers” which came up in our conversation. For some this was a moving account, nudging us towards more self -exploration in our PhD journeys; for some of us it seemed that such a note would not fit in in our cultural contexts and our academic audiences

We talked about what makes us write and stumbling blocks we face ever so often; the need to demystify grand theories and something we seem to come back to repeatedly – why the supervision space ought to be one of trust and ease and not one where we are judged.

We then spent some time writing about what we wanted from these sessions. Some of us want a space where we can write without fear or pressure; some want feedback on writing (this could be a small group activity), some of us want more sessions of free writing, some want to learn to write for an academic audience, some want to nurture and strengthen the ‘researcher’s voice’. One researcher wants by end of these sessions to write a piece and share a part of it here.

Some participants used this opportunity to do further free writing about the idea of ‘mastery’ and their writing and wrote moving pieces which I hope they share on the blog below.

Some readings mentioned during the discussion which may be of use to the group are:

Dunleavy, P (2003) Authoring a PhD how to write, draft and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation  Palgrave, London

McNay, Lois (2004) Agency and Experience: gender as a lived relation, in Adkins, L and Skeggs, B (Eds) Feminism after Bourdieu, Blackwell Publishing  175-190, Oxford, UK

Happy writing! (Suvasini)


3 thoughts on “Session 4: Mastery over writing?

  1. rebwebb50 says:

    Hi Suvasini
    Thanks for sharing the breadth and depth of your thoughts from this session. This will certainly be helpful to Tamsin, Emil and I as we plan the sessions ahead. No-doubt you will all have more to say when we meet this week.

    Thanks, too, for the reading recommendations. We will add this to our Reading page.

    I know that a colleague has a beautiful vignette to add from the session that others will enjoy as much as I did!



  2. Christine says:

    A summary of my reflections on the sharing and engagements we had so far in the ‘Writing into Meaning’ sessions:

    Feelings of excitement, confusion and fear typify an expectant mother. Sometimes not sure what to expect, other times very certain and fantasizing about it. Indeed, very sure especially when one had similar experiences. But then, babies are never the same, stories are told of bridge-births, still-born, delayed and frustrating deliveries; the list is endless. Nonetheless, it reaches a point a mother says; enough is enough! Let it come, whatever! Wherever! This is the situation I found myself in at the “writing up” point. The initiative, “writing into meaning” brought excitement in my nerves, it gave me great expectations; probably, seemingly too appealing, and somehow head-on in response to the writing tensions deeply felt in my nerves. Struggling with the heavy writing emotions just like an expectant mother, the unborn baby ‘Writing-Up’ seemed to have found a home of refuge, comfort and support.; the maternity of livelihood, pain-sharing and great expectations for bundles of joy wrapped up in ‘Writing into Meaning’. At long last, the expected baby; Coming to Birth.


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