Doctorate Supervision in Virtual Borderland Spaces

Katherine Wimpenny, Liezel Frick, Ferdie Gerber, Virginia King, Elphina Cishe, Mmampho Gogela-Smith , Israel Kariyan, Belinda Musodza , QueAnh Dang, Luca Morini, Nompilo Tshuma, Peter Rule, Oluwafunmiso Ayoola

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


This round table will discuss the design, delivery and first year experiences of a transnational, structured dual award doctoral programme between Stellenbosch, Walter Sisulu and Coventry Universities. We will focus on the programme’s embedded mechanisms for training, development, and practice-sharing amongst the cohort of supervisors from across the three institutions. We will briefly share how an international cohort of doctoral candidates was recruited for the dual award programme in order to meet the funders’ profiling and equity targets and explain how the research programme itself is addressing complex challenges in contemporary higher education in South Africa and the UK.

The aim of the discussion is to centre our ideas around doctorate supervision of fellow academics in virtual Borderland spaces (Billot et al., 2021). The use of “border” not only referring to geo-political borders across our education landscapes, but also the territorial borders linked to research knowledge versus indigenous and societal knowledge (Le Grange, 2012; Mignolo & Tlostanova, 2006). In these Borderland spaces, we will share the coming together of our diverse perspectives and in how “cultural, social, and epistemological change” is prompted / encouraged / taking place, as our knowledges and discourses are brought into “conversation” challenging and potentially reshaping the way, as programme partners/supervisors, we are thinking and acting (Moje et al., 2004:44). Further, being appreciative of the supervisory relationships within which we are involved, issues of power, gender and cultural differentials will be acknowledged in our discussion on how as ‘Border-dwellers’ our relational hierarchies, as programme participants (being territorial) are open to scrutiny (Mignolo & Tlostanova, 2006).

Main points/issues: Significantly, we will discuss the virtual Borderland space within which we have all dwelt since the dual award programme began (Year 0 - September 2020). The virtual space itself having displaced us all, whilst also highlighting how the conditions and possibilities of Border thinking relate not least to having access to computers and the internet with acknowledgement of one another’s digital learning ecologies (Gomes & Chang, 2021).

Presenters: 12 contributors drawn from all three participating universities with Dr Gerber as moderator.

Implications for the practice of supervision: We will promote discussion about how students and supervisors are collaborating culturally, institutionally, disciplinarily, and technologically, to foster a virtual Border-transcending supervision practice.

Billot, J. et al. (2021) Borderlanders: Academic staff being and becoming doctoral students. Teaching in Higher Education, 26(3), 438-453.
Gomes, C., & Chang. S. (2021). Introduction. In (Eds.), S. Chang & C. Gomes, Digital Experiences of International Students: Challenging Assumptions and Rethinking Engagement. (pp xx - xxix), London: Routledge Taylor and Frances.
Le Grange, L., (2012). Ubuntu, ukama, environment and moral education. Journal of Moral Education, 41(3), 329 – 340.
Mignolo, W. D., & Tlostanova, M. V., (2006). Theorizing from the Borders. Shifting to geo- and body-politics of knowledge. European Journal of Social Theory, 9(2), 205-221.
Moje, E. B. et al. (2004). Working toward third space in content area literacy: An examination of everyday funds of knowledge and discourse. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(1), 38 – 70.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2022
EventStellenbosch 8th postgraduate supervision conference 2022 - Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Duration: 15 Mar 202218 Mar 2022


ConferenceStellenbosch 8th postgraduate supervision conference 2022
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
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