Mothers and Myths: A collaborative autoethnographic account of navigating domestic academic life

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


Autoethnography is a qualitative research methodology that values personal storytelling and autobiographical insights gathered through research, writing, story and method that connect the autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social, and political. The process of telling and sharing stories can be transformational and empowering, allowing for a more expansive and liberated self. As two white female academics, privileged in some regards but oppressed in others, we have found that autoethnography enables us to critique and resist the audit culture, synonymous with processes such as the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) that have turned universities here in the UK into anxiety machines. In this chapter, we employ a collaborative autoethnographic account and a method of storying ourselves that:
• is about women and can be used by women
• does not oppress women
• develops feminist perspectives that challenge dominant intellectual traditions and can be used to support a variety of intersectional struggles.

In this chapter we identify a creative and playful approach to storying ourselves in our research that has developed our connection with each other, offering a safe space in our professional lives to discuss our lived experiences as mothers and academics - juggling our time and always feeling guilty – that also offers a critique of the relentless pressure in HE to do more, be more and produce more. Our method of storying ourselves as reimagined characters from established fairy tales and myths (Marr & Moriarty 2021, Moriarty & Marr et al 2020) involves mutual respect, dialogue, sharing stories and a discussion of their potential meaning, in terms of lived experiences of HE and the uncomfortable overlap of our personal and professional lives – the domestic and the academic, the mother and the tutor – all jostling for space. We argue that our method of collaborative autoethnography has supported us to value this overlap, strengthening our sense of identity as domestic academics and mothers who make.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCareer Narratives and Academic Womanhood
Subtitle of host publicationIn the Spaces Provided
EditorsLisa Ortiz
ISBN (Electronic)9781003240501
ISBN (Print)9781032146805
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2023

Publication series

NameAuto/biography Studies


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