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Learned words: how poetry can be used to reflect on staff belonging in higher education

Illingworth, Sam; Grimwood, Marita


Marita Grimwood


This research uses poetry as a form of data to explore a sense of ‘belonging’ for staff working in higher education. Poetic content analysis was explored as a research method and using poetry in this way has allowed for a nuanced exploration of questions of belonging in the context of individual intersectional identities. Following an analysis of eighteen poems submitted by staff working in higher education four major categories emerged: ‘Community’, ‘Exclusion’, ‘Transformation’, and ‘Self’. These emergent narratives led to several recommendations that institutions and individuals might consider implementing to create a more positive sense of belonging for all staff working in higher education. These recommendations and emergent narratives are centred around a willingness for higher education as a sector to better recognise and nurture the deep-rooted commitment that is shared by many staff to the potential of higher education both now and in the future.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 22, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 15, 2024
Publication Date 2024
Deposit Date Jan 5, 2024
Publicly Available Date Feb 1, 2024
Print ISSN 0309-877X
Electronic ISSN 1469-9486
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 2
Pages 208-225
Keywords Belonging, wellbeing, innovative pedagogy, higher education, staff experience, poetry
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