Grim tales: Meetings, matterings and moments of silencing and frustration in everyday academic life

Carol Taylor, Susanne Gannon, Gill Adams, Helen Donaghue, Stephanie Hannam-Swain, Jean Harris-Evans, Joan Healey, Patricia Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Universities are dominated by marketisation, individualisation and competition, forces inimical to individual flourishing and collaborative endeavours. This article presents four stories from a collective biography workshop in which a group of women academics explored everyday moments in their university lives. The stories are grim tales of damage, silencing, frustration and cynicism, whose affects continue to reverberate. The article makes two contributions to higher education research. One, its focus on mundane moments offers insights into embodied dynamics of gender, power and affect within the neoliberal university. Two, it demonstrates how collective biography as a feminist methodology can mobilise increased awareness of shared experiences and, thereby, enable participants to work together to recognise and contest the affective grimness of their workplaces.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101513
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Early online date28 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • collective biography, power, academia, gender, affect

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