Not lone wolf: nurturing and valuing often hidden relationships in academic research practice.

Project: Research

Project Details


This 2-day flexible format workshop (predominantly zoom with an optional face to face component) will bring together a diverse range of human geographers including Honours and postgraduate researchers, ECRs, mid-career and senior academics, in full-time, part-time, continuing, fixed-term and casual positions. Community researchers will also be invited and the workshop will explicitly engage with non-human participants. In this workshop we will critically consider the (often ‘invisible’) relationships which shape and enable research. Academic researchers have never done their research in isolation; a range of interrelationships with other human and non-human beings have not only shaped, but enabled our research. Research participants and co-researchers, unborn children, children of all ages, parents, partners, friends, personal life stages, challenging research topics and a range of non-human beings including pets, glaciers, gardens, place and Country, all shape the way we do our research. They remind us that being a researcher is not the task of a Lone Wolf, of an imaginary, typically male academic, untied by external obligations – individual and individualised (Mountz et al. 2015). However, these often hidden research relationships are rarely explicitly acknowledged, reflected upon or written into the research process. This workshop will enable a group of geographers and community researchers to work collaboratively and draw on their diverse experiences to make visible and engage with the myriad legitimate and incredibly valuable ways of doing relational academic research and consider the disciplinary implications of explicitly engaging with and valuing these relationships.

In this workshop we will share and reflect on a range of research relationships and how we push back, reimagine or refuse conventional academic boundaries. We will work towards a relational analysis of academia. What does it mean to be a relational academic, how could academia shift to better value relational work? The workshop will enable more senior academics to meet their moral obligation to support, care for and mentor more junior colleagues.

The workshop will be centered around the co-authorship of a paper to be submitted to Dialogues in Human Geography as well as associated accessible outputs (e.g. a blog piece). Editors of DHG have already indicated they are favourable to a submission. The paper aims to make visible and honour the ‘invisible’ relationships which shape and enable research, which stimulates imaginative responses to these relationships, and which inspires readers to remain vigilant to and challenge neoliberal Lone Wolf institutional and disciplinary norms and practices which devalue deeply relational academic praxis.

The exact format of the workshop, paper and outputs will be collectively shaped, however, we foresee that a range of key themes will emerge (for example, issues around recognition of human and more-than-human collaboration and co-authorship, and valuing community praxis) and the paper will be shaped around a series of anecdotes and reflections.

Mountz, A. et al, 2015. For slow scholarship: a feminist politics of resistance through collective action in the neoliberal university. ACME: Int. J. Crit. Geogr. 14 (4), 1235–1259. Mulvihill, T.M., Swaminathan, R. (Eds.), 2017. Critical Approaches to Life.

Effective start/end date1/08/191/10/21