Making visible the affective dimensions of scholarship in postgraduate writing development work
Keywords:academic writing development; emotional labour; writing blocks; doctoral writing; writing support
Many university writing and student academic development centres serve both under- and postgraduate student-writers. However, it is not always clear that the training and development of those who work with writers accounts fully for the affective dimensions of postgraduate writing, specifically. Especially at the doctoral level, where an original contribution to knowledge is required, writers need to take on a confident authorial voice in their work, both written and in conversation with others. Research, however, shows that many doctoral students struggle with this. This paper argues that, to be truly successful and fit for purpose, peer writing development work needs to understand the nature of postgraduate learning and writing from more than just the technical perspective of writing a successful thesis. Writer-focused work at this level needs to account for the affective dimensions of writing and research as well, to engage students in more holistic, critical, and forward-looking conversations about their writing, and their own developing scholarly identity. The paper offers insights into the different affective dimensions of postgraduate writing, especially those under-considered in much practical work with postgraduate writers, and offers suggestions for a whole-student tutoring approach at this level.