Writing up a thesis induces anxiety. The mechanics of the process alone, compounded by tiredness and frustration, may diminish the very thing you have passion for. However, I count myself truly blessed, that my journey has endowed me with a network of phenomenologists. A collective who exude energy, wonder, openness and kindness; to help me remain orientated to the project.
It is not lost on me, that this, ‘The Networked Learning Conference (NLC) 2022’, at Mid-Sweden University, Sundsvall, in my final months of doctoral candidacy, has been a key source of scholarly and personal support. Almost two years to the day, after learning about the NLC from my supervisors Dr Alex Bell and Dr Louise Emanuel, I recount nervously shaping a round-table discussion for NLC202O, Denmark, which was switched online as covid broke. My worries were ill-founded, as the warmness, humility and depth of the response, relationships and networks seeded from this community would shape an unfaltering commitment to, and growing respect for phenomenology. Enthusiastic discussions between roundtable attendees led to Dr Mike Johnson, based in Cardiff, offering me the chance to co-run a NLC sponsored node event to promote phenomenology in a networked learning context. And from these activities hanfod.NL was birthed. With this society, my researcher journey would be further enriched with the generous trans-Atlantic mentorship of Professor Cathy Adams.
So, this week, two years on, I celebrate, at our double symposium ‘Phenomenology and networked learning – a found chord‘, a hanfod.NL co-ordinated project contribution to NLC2022, Sweden. In order of appearance at NLC2022, I call out Dr Mike Johnson, Dr Kyungmee Lee, Professor Nina Bonderup Dohn, Assistant Professor Greta Goetz, Dr Jean du Toit, Professor Gregory Swer, Professor Catherine Adams, Sean Groten , Yin Yin, & Dr Joni Turville.
Reflecting upon the conversations and support from a community that genuinely align with embodied thinking and writerly practices, I am keenly aware that they all contribute to my ‘being’, as a researcher. The ‘becoming of a researcher’ is a long process, and so much more than the honing of the skills of research practice and writing, but encompasses a crossing over into new type of ‘dwelling space’, for thoughts, thinking, and relation with others. Often represented as an individual challenge (Roos, Löfström, and Remmik, 2021), I acknowledge the profound influence of ‘being-with’ (Heidegger’s ‘Mitsein‘) in my doctoral journey. Much earlier on in my doctoral programme, I had reflected upon the influence of my literary collection, but I now register the impact of those I have been talking to, or writing with. I can recognise the traces left upon my own expressions, ruminations, thinking, quest for meaning, and the shape of ‘what’ matters, that now drives my researcher endeavours.
Aside from a more academic pursuit of an ontological conceptualisation of ‘being’ a researcher, I simply share that my own learning journey has been ’embodied’ and ‘enacted’ (Barnacle & Dall’Alba, 2014; Merleau-Ponty, 1945/62). And, joyfully and proudly encourage a listen in to hanfod.NL’s linked daisy-chain recordings, which began as a prelude to the NLC2022 symposium, which we will continue to grow :
Thank you NLC