Carruthers Thomas, K. 2021 Diaries of a Pandemic. COVID-19: An Unequal Impact, 9 July, Birmingham City University. Email for copy. Carruthers Thomas, K. 2021 Collecting Diary Data. Blog. MethodSpace. [online]. Available at: Collecting Diary Data | MethodSpace
Principal Investigator: Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas Research Assistant: Bally Kaur Project Date: March 2021 - March 2022
This research project is the recipient of a SRHE Research Award 2020.
The project aims to:
investigate female academics’ experiences of working practices, career progression and academic identity during and post-COVID lockdown,
identify ways in which remote working and other shifts in higher education (HE) practice may have impacted existing gender inequalities in the sector,
highlight overarching challenges/actions for the sector (and SRHE) in terms of HE practices and gender equality in the short and longer-term.
To achieve this, the project will:
recruit 20-30 female academics at all career stages as research participants,
combine a solicited diary method with individual semi-structured interviews, to collect data over a six-month period,
analyse diary and interview data using a feminist geographic perspective on gender, space and power,
create and publish an illustrated digital archive to widen engagement with the findings across the sector,
identify and disseminate implications, challenges for individuals and the sector in terms of in HE practice and gender equality.
This project focuses on female academics' experiences of living and working in lockdown. It investigates longer-term impacts of recent changes to working practices in HE, exploring implications for productivity, career progression and precarity in the contexts of continued restrictions, uncertainties and remote working. It applies Massey’s concept of ‘power geometry’ (1993, 2005) to interrogate the distinct positioning of female academics within a sector in flux. It aims to make visible and urgent, implications and potential mitigations for gender equality across the sector in the shorter and longer-term. The project will use a hybrid methodology to capture rich, subjective data, combining diary research and semi-structured interview, an approach building on the foundational anthropological tool of DDIM (the diary, diary-interview method, Zimmerman and Weider 1977) since updated in multiple forms (eg: Latham 2003, Milligan et al 2005).
project update November 2021
Data collection is now complete and my data analysis has started to examine common and emerging themes, considering how space, place, gender and power are embedded in the diary entries and interview transcripts. I have now begun the process of creating the illustrated digital archive in collaboration with a professional web designer, Ben Robertson. Look out for a forthcoming page: Illustrating the Archive which will record work in progress on this aspect of the project.