ECHER meets online

Maybe you were wondering what early-career higher education researchers around the world are doing these days. You probably weren’t, unless you are one. Anyhow, here’s a short report on what some of us in ECHER have been up to.

A little less than a month ago, Tugay Durak – a doctoral researcher at the Institute of Education (IOE), University College London, and a member of ECHER – reached out to me on Twitter and asked if I would be interested in setting up an online meeting for ECHER members to introduce ourselves to others and to discuss research-related matters together. The only rule would be: no talk about covid-19. Because, although being a severe matter dominating everyone’s lives at the moment, it seemed like there was already enough talk about it going on. Instead, we wanted to talk about our research while being isolated and perhaps quite lonely as a result.

Since March 26th, we’ve now had three online meetings for our members, once every week. The first was an informal introduction meeting, where we also talked about our research in small groups of 2-5 people. In the second meeting, I held a 50-minute lecture about academic writing, discussing the similar kind of topics as we did in the ECHER academic writing clinic last August. The most recent meeting took place last Wednesday: We had an informal coffee break, where we caught up and discussed whatever was in our minds at the time. The rule for the last meeting was: “bring your coolest mug”, which turned out to be a fun personal twist to the whole thing.

Although being used to distance work myself, I have tremendously enjoyed these meetings, as it has given me and others a chance to meet other early-career scholars, some of which we’ve never met before, and to share ideas while sipping some coffee or tea. Moreover, it has been amazing to be connected with the different parts of the world simultaneously: with Canada, Brazil, Portugal, Turkey, the Netherlands, Russia, Finland, Hungary, Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, Austria, and so forth.

So, as long as the situation remains unchanged regarding the pandemic and all the measures in place across the world, the plan is to keep organising these weekly meetings. If you want to join but you are not a member of ECHER yet and are not on our mailing list, head for the “Join us” page and fill in the short form! Once you do it, we will add you to our mailing list and you’ll get a weekly reminder about the meetings via email.

See you online, and remember to stay at home and keep yourself and others safe!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Melina Aarnikoivu (@MAarnikoivu) is a final-stage doctoral researcher at the Centre for Applied Language Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her work can be found at ResearchGate.

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