Precarious Places Project

This is a space to tell your stories of experiencing precarity in academia however you want to – be it a narrative, a reflection, a poem, a picture, or a song. Your contribution can be as long or short as you like, and you’re welcome to contribute as many times as you like.

To make a contribution, click on this survey link: Working in Australian Academia 

Please note that all content will be checked to ensure anonymity prior to use.

More information about the research:

Scholars across disciplines have observed a cultural shift through which “academic landscapes are no longer guided by principles of community and collegiality but are governed via markets and competition” (Dufty-Jones, 2018, p. 1). The normalisation of (or capitulation and obedience to) market logics in higher education has prompted widespread casualisation of research and teaching in higher education and consequently concerns about teaching quality, employment conditions, and the growing ‘academic precariat’ in the academic literature (e.g., Bosanquet, Mailey, Matthews, & Lodge, 2017), in the wider media and in online fora. Whilst there is an emerging body of work that interrogates managerialism in higher education and its impacts on scholarship and teaching (Benneworth, 2013; Ferreri & Glucksberg, 2016; Gill, 2013), there has been less research that explores how PhD graduates navigate and sustain livelihoods in the margins of academia, and on how those in precarious or insecure employment conceptualise their professional identities, goals, and their relationship with their disciplinary communities. This research, therefore, seeks to generate a space through which the so-called ‘precariat’ (Standing, 2011) can articulate their understandings of what it means to work in the margins of academic teaching and research, and the impacts it has on individuals, on the academic workplace and on community. It is guided by the following aims:

  1. To create a space where PhD graduates that are currently precariously employed or have insecure work can safely voice their perspectives on their professional lives, the conditions under which they work, and on universities, research, and teaching;
  2. To develop a nuanced understanding of what academic precarity is, and how precarity is experienced and navigated, in the Australian context;
  3. To explore the implications of insecure and precarious work for professional identities, research and teaching, and universities;
  4. To contribute to building an understanding of precarity amongst the academic community (particularly those in ongoing or tenured positions).

The expected outcomes of this research include a stronger understanding of what precarity is and how it is experienced in academia, and its implications for research, teaching and disciplinary identities. The findings will be disseminated through academic publications and conference presentations, as well as through blogposts and social media.

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