Supervision beyond borders: Perspectives on a mutual process of becoming in higher education

Kathrine Liedtke Thorndahl, Lasse Nørgaard Frandsen

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/konference proceedingKonferenceabstrakt i proceedingForskningpeer review


Student: I’m at a local bar in Ntinda, Kampala, Uganda, 6616 km away from home, enjoying the view of a group of passionate Ugandan men in a variety of Premiere League jerseys. Suddenly my phone vibrates to let me know I have an incoming message. It’s from my supervisor in Denmark. I’m surprised… well, actually I’m not surprised that she texts me on a Sunday at 23:45 because our way of communicating while I’m doing fieldwork in Uganda is not exactly conventional. Skype, Messenger and regular phone calls have become our preferred ways of communicating. We don’t email much anymore. I open the message. I’m always curious when she contacts me. Her passionate approach to my research, our way of discussing and sharing ideas and reflecting together is beyond what I have ever met in my whole life as a university student. We have talked about it, this collaborative relation with regards to supervision and research and I still remember her words about supervising being something requiring mutual involvement and affecting the both of us academically as well as personally. Law’s words about methods creating realities ring loud in my head. I get the feeling that my supervisor’s approach will somehow change my future realities.
Supervisor: This is so much fun! I think to myself as I return to the space allotted to my writing in our shared document on GoogleDrive. Alas, it takes a lot of time, but it also inspires new thoughts and ideas and I can honestly say that I very much welcome the chance to practice my academic writing skills in a safe and supportive forum. I wonder if Lasse feels the same way. I hope so. But I still have to supervise his project. Should I worry about my ability and responsibility to keep a professional distance and try harder not to get overly involved in the project? Of course, by now, having written about and made public these worries of mine, I have already transgressed into forbidden territory. It is too late to turn back now, however. And on closer inspection, maybe the fact that I cannot undo the writing I have just done, does not have to be considered a problem. On the contrary, if I am truly committed to the ideas I hope to convey to students and based on values of equality, sharing, and collaborating, I should not strive towards sustaining the status quo characterized by asymmetric relations of power that serve to keep a particular hierarchy in place and me in a hegemonic position. Instead, I should practice what I preach by thinking of the relationship between a student and his/her supervisor as one characterized by mutual respect and a shared sense of genuine curiosity towards the topic of the project. Maybe this alternative approach to supervising will constitute my own private little contribution to installing an ecology of ethical relations at the center of educational practice in higher education.
TitelECQI 2019 Abstract Book
StatusUdgivet - 2019
BegivenhedEuropean Congress of Qualitative Inquiry - Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, Storbritannien
Varighed: 12 feb. 201915 feb. 2019


KonferenceEuropean Congress of Qualitative Inquiry
LokationEdinburgh University