New lecturers may find the notion of academic identity difficult to grasp, yet it potentially provides them with a means of revealing issues of self, career and work-life balance. In this paper, we introduce an innovative research strategy and democratic research framework which have enabled us to explore new lecturers’ academic identities in self-revelatory ways. This collaborative inquiry was undertaken by two teaching staff and four former students of a postgraduate certificate in higher education professional practice at a UK post-92 university. Through our innovative research strategy, one’s academic identity is conceptualised as the map of an island featuring actual or potential personal characteristics, qualities and interests. The visual metaphors and clustering of these attributes, together with individuals’ reflective commentaries on creating their own academic identity maps, lead us tentatively to characterise four alternative expressions of identity: the multifaceted whole, the layered self, the interlinked self and the fragmented self.
Bibliographical note"This is a pre-print of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Reflective Practice in 2014, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14623943.2014.883311
- academic identity
- early-career academic
- visual metaphor