Creating Care-full Academic Spaces?
The Dilemmas of Caring in the ‘Anxiety Machine’
Keywords:graduate supervision, care, feminist pedagogy, neoliberal university, wellness, PhD, emotion
Good supervision is understood as key to successful graduate research, and recent years have witnessed a proliferation of handbooks and critical accounts of how to be ‘good’. Amidst this growing volume of conceptualisations and accounts of the function of the supervision process very little literature addresses the emotional labours of being a good supervisor. This is despite an acknowledgment within the literature that practices of care and empathy are a key component of good supervision. This essay draws together feminist work from within and beyond geography on institutional intimacies and pedagogic practice with recent work in this journal and elsewhere on ethics, self-care and wellness to reflect on the challenges of being a ‘good’ supervisor in the context of the ‘anxiety machine’ of the neoliberal academy. As well as addressing the ‘dilemmas of care’ the paper reflects on the evolution of a wellbeing programme for graduate students and the challenges and ambiguities of such a programme as a critical care-full space.
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