Writing Through the Body: Considering the Construction of Identity in Higher Education

By Fay Stevens.

Published by The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper presents one outcome of a secondment placement at University College London (Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching and The Institute of Archaeology), and an Academic Literacies approach to writing at University. Academic writing has been said to pose a conflict of identity in higher education (e.g. Ivanič 1998). The aim of this project was to consider this conflict by exploring and engaging with issues encountered by students in both undergraduate and postgraduate writing. This was conducted by running weekly mentoring sessions and designing exercises and activities in writing development. Broadly, the project considers the role of mentoring in writing development, explores student perceptions of academic writing, evaluates the variety of transitions students go through at university and promotes an awareness of the benefits of writing development as part of a process of identity construction. For this paper, I will focus specifically on the mentoring sessions and how I designed a method that utilised the body as a conduit through which writing was explored, understood and engaged with. This will lead me to focus specifically on the emergent themes in the field of academic writing: writer identity and construction of self.

Keywords: Writing, Academic Literacies, Identity, The Body

The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp.61-67. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 241.949KB).

Fay Stevens

PhD Candidate, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, London, England, UK

Fay Stevens’ research interests include phenomenological research methods, visual media, academic literacies and the roles of material culture in prehistoric societies. Her publications include a forthcoming co-edited publication ‘The Archaeology of Water: Social and Ritual Dimensions’, papers that explore notions of identity and self in both archaeological and educational contexts and a number of published and exhibited photographic works. She is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London (UCL) and held a Teaching Fellowship at the Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (UCL) between 2007-2011 where she lectured in Academic Literacies. She also lectures in Higher Education at University of Reading, University of Notre Dame and Central School of Speech and Drama and in Continuing Education at the University of Oxford.