PhD Network

PhD Network activities at the Annual Conference around the concept of “failure”

22 June 2024

Since our embarkment on the umbrella theme “questioning the unquestionable” in the academic year 2022-2023, we each year choose one specific focus that has the lead during our events. The aim is to question matters and practices generally left undiscussed, yet normalized. In our view, this entails cultivating a space for critique, self-doubt, and mutual support in academia, as we are taking the first steps in our academic journey.

With a focus on mental health during the PhD trajectory last year, this year’s attention goes to the concept of “failure”.

Each year, the PhD Network hosts special events tailored to PhD students participating in the IMISCOE Annual Conference. Also, for this year’s conference in Lisbon, we prepared three different sessions that will take place during the first half a day of the conference (on the 2nd of July 2024).

Inspired by fruitful discussions during last year’s workshop on imposter syndrome at the Annual Conference in Warsaw, our first session - “Setback session – Redefining “failure” in academia” – invites different speakers to reflect on what failure means to them and to draw on personal examples in doing so. During the imposter syndrome session, PhD students shared their reflections on how the feeling of being an imposter might be, at least to some extent, related to the overfocus on success in academic careers, while at the same time setbacks are very rarely addressed, shared or discussed. We are honored to have three valuable speakers willing to walk this path with us: Dr. Norma Schemschat, Prof. Dr. Sayaka Osanami Törngren, and Dr. Apostolos Andrikopoulos.

Besides this first session that engages with more experienced academics, the second session aims to be fully interactive. “The one where we connect and challenge notions of “failure” is meant as a space for PhD students to reflect and share their thoughts on the matter. We will delve into what constitutes “failure”, who defines it, and whether “failure” is always negative or if it can be embraced as a catalyst for collective learning and change. Hence, the ultimate underlying question that drives the session is whether we can reclaim and redefine “failure” to promote a more compassionate academia.

The IMISCOE PhD Network strives to be as inclusive as possible. Therefore, we provide an online session for those who are unable to attend the Annual Conference in person. Our third session – which will happen in parallel to the second in-person session – is organized by the IMISCOE PhD Blog group. During this panel, five contributions from the 2024 IMISCOE PhD Network special issue “How to make research more engaged: Positionality, inequalities and access” will be presented. This initiative is an attempt by the blog group to provide a panoramic journey through the practice and politics of conducting engaged migration research. The panel analyses and unpacks three research dilemmas - positionality, inequalities, and access - as intertwined yet distinct ethical concerns within the field, involving difficult choices in theorizing, methodological application and co-production of knowledge about migration. We are very glad to announce the following speakers: Khaoula Stiti, Istikhar Ali, Irene Praga Guerro, Jami Abramson, and Imen El Amouri.

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