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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Further Researching Beneath the Surface (Volume 2).

From 2009 to 2017, I was a doctoral student connected to the Centre for Psycho-social Studies at UWE in Bristol (now called the Psycho-social Research Theme Group of the University of the West of England). I started this journey at the age of 64, and I ended it at age 71. During this period, as an experienced organisational consultant transitioning to the identity of researcher, I sought out the support of various "others". As I have reflected on these support systems, I have begun to think of them as, so to say, third spaces, each of which provided (and contained) a certain aspect of my learning and experience. The aim of this chapter is to articulate the nature of these spaces, especially in light of Mitchell's (2014) theory relating to family and social axes. My thesis is that the combination of both vertical (family; supervisory) spaces and horizontal (social; collegial) spaces makes for a truly integrated research journey and helped me in developing a new professional "skin" as both consultant and researcher. This chapter has important implications for the "mature" doctoral student and his or her supervisors.