Introduction: Entrance hall and cloakroom

Bristow, Alexandra; Ratle, Olivier and Robinson, Sarah (2024). Introduction: Entrance hall and cloakroom. In: Robinson, Sarah; Bristow, Alexandra and Ratle, Olivier eds. Doing Academic Careers Differently: Portraits of Academic Life. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 1–5.



This book is an outcome of more than a decade of research, conversations, and writing about contemporary academia. It is an outcome of many collective years of experiences of being academics, raging against academia’s many challenges and injustices, and trying to do things differently. It shares collective wisdom acquired by going against the grain of the suffocating linearity and normativity that are so often presumed necessary to achieve what narrowly counts as academic career success. The book is part of the project to give voice, space, and hope to visions of an alternative, more nurturing, diverse, and inclusive academia. The emphasis on academics’ official public profiles is subverted, delving beyond them to explore alternative ways of leading fulfilling academic careers. The book takes the form of a portrait exhibition consisting of nine galleries through which visitors can meander at will. From rejecting the pressure to focus on ‘one big thing’, to prioritising nurture and care, transcending disciplinary boundaries, reshaping own daily practice, connecting with communities, and being academics outside academia, the galleries offer those considering, starting, or developing an academic career a treasure trove of many alternative possibilities to forge their own career paths.

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