Cross-institutional collaborative autoethnography as an inclusive and flexible way of researching pedagogies and practice.

  • Date:
  • Time: 3pm to 4pm
  • Location: Zoom - For registration, please see instructions below

Speakers: Clare Maxwell (University of Leeds); Clare C. Carr (University of Durham); Ania Rolinska (Glasgow School of Art); Jennifer Sizer (University of Portsmouth).

*If you would like to attend this event, please register here.


This talk reports and reflects on the use of collaborative autoethnography (CAE) as a flexible and accessible method for engagement in scholarship and CPD for EAP and language teaching practitioners. As practitioners teaching EAP in creative disciplines across four different HEIs we will reflect on our use of the method as part of a longer-term collaborative scholarship project.
While autoethnography is an established method of making sense of personal experiences (Ellis et al., 2011), the collaborative variant is less frequently used. We found that through cross-institutional collaboration CAE generated rich data, and allowed us to ‘analyse and interpret [our] data collectively in order to gain a meaningful understanding of sociocultural phenomena’ of the academic communities of practice in which we work (Chang et al., 2012, p.24).
The presentation will outline the practicalities of setting up the CAE and sustaining the process of data generation and analysis. It will then reflect on the perceived benefits of such research collaboration. We found that CAE enabled us to create a safe ‘circle of trust’ in which we could articulate and refine tacit understandings of our practice within an under-researched context, resulting in deep reflection and the potential for lasting impact on practice.
Our experience demonstrates that a cross-institutional, collaborative autoethnographic approach can be a method appropriate for use in a wide range of contexts. It can incorporate a process of dialogic and critical reflection that allows practitioners to explore practice in a way that moves from the ’ontic to the ontological’ (Ding & Bruce, 2017) giving the outcomes a wider relevance beyond the individual, and enhancing understanding of contexts, pedagogies and practice.

Chang, H., Ngunjiri, F. W., & Hernandez, K. C. (2012). Collaborative autoethnography. Left Coast Press.
Ding, A. and Bruce, I. (2017). The English for Academic Purposes Practitioner. Operating on the Edge of Academia. Palgrave Macmillan.
Ellis, C., Adams, T. E., & Bochner, A. P. (2011). Autoethnography: An overview. Forum: Qualitative Research, 12(1), Art. 10.


Clare Maxwell is a lecturer in EAP within the Language Centre at the University of Leeds. She is currently seconded to the School of Design where she is responsible for the design and delivery of bespoke in-sessional programmes for taught postgraduates. Her interests are in academic literacies, academic writing pedagogy, genre, and disciplinary difference and specificity, with a particular interest in EAP in the creative arts.

Clare C. Carr is Assistant Professor (Teaching) within Durham Centre for Academic Development at Durham University. Her current role involves collaborations with academic departments to develop embedded EAP teaching. Her interests lie in teaching EAP to Music students, working closely with music specialists within Durham University Music Department.

Ania Rolinska is an English language lecturer working with Art and Design students at the Glasgow School of Art. She is responsible for designing and delivering EAP on the International Foundation Programme as well as leading the bespoke pre-sessional course for the Creative Disciplines. Ania’s research interests include academic literacies, learner identity and agency, use of educational technology, creativity in academia, and the interplay between multimodality and academic discourse.

Jennifer Sizer is a senior lecturer in the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics at the University of Portsmouth, where she is pre-sessional course leader and Language and International Education Research Cluster convenor. She is currently working on her EdD project investigating the language of architecture at university. Her interests include linguistics and language teaching, EAP, ESAP, ESP, and academic literacies. Jennifer is also co-convenor of the BALEAP Creative Disciplines SIG.

For more information, please send an email to Alex Ding ( and Clare Maxwell (