PurposeWorking in the academy can be both challenging and exciting as it can be trying and difficult to negotiate if one is unprepared. Past research has acknowledged the importance of reflective practice in order to face such trials positively. This study utilises arts-based/multimodal reflection to contemplate the lived experience of one early career researcher in her first five years of employment. Adopting an arts-based approach, the researcher regularly reflected via the medium of collage. The purpose of this paper is to report on recollaged artefacts that are analysed in relation to meta-semiotic meanings as well as how they correspond to Schwab’s “lines of flight”, revealing both positive and negative acuities. Findings show that taking the time to delineate feelings via arts-based reflection can illuminate silent thoughts and deliberations and support an early career academic in appreciating and improving awareness of higher education regularities. Implications highlight how recollage can be an effective tool for the self-care of early career academics.Design/methodology/approachAdopting an arts-based approach, the researcher regularly reflected via the medium of collage. This paper reports on recollaged artefacts. These were analysed in relation to meta-semiotic meanings as well as how they corresponded to Schwab’s “lines of flight”, taking both positive and negative acuities.FindingsFindings showed that taking the time to delineate feelings via arts-based reflection can reveal silent thoughts and deliberations and support an early career academic in appreciating and improving awareness of higher education regularities as well as self-care.Research limitations/implicationsImplications highlight how recollage can be effective for early career academics in reflecting on their everyday work and improve self-care.Practical implicationsPractical implications include the fact that readers will be able to adopt the arts-based methods used in this paper in order for them to reflect on their everyday work in the academy. The recollaged practice will improve their self-care and allow time to reflect effectively and creatively.Social implicationsSocial implications include that colleagues could do recollaged practice together. Reflection done collaboratively can also improve self-care and well-being for those working in the academy.Originality/valueRecollage is a new method of autoethnography the author has developed for the purpose of reflecting on my journey as an early career researcher. Now, in leadership roles, this approach has allowed the author to move forward positively in the academy.
Qualitative Research Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 2, 2019
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