oa African Journal of Inter/Multidisciplinary Studies - Theoretically speaking – an autoethnographic journey in crossing disciplines to being-becoming a practical scholar

Volume 1 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2663-4589



Becoming a PhD scholar requires a change in identity and new ways of thinking. This is difficult for those from practical backgrounds who struggle to merge the theoretical/scholarly with the creative/practical. Moving towards the scholarly often calls for the unlearning of previously held truths. Starting autoethnographically, metaphorical drawings opened up space for critical reflection – crucial to researching oneself. Three metaphorical drawings were made for seminal points in my journey from a fashion design lecturer to a PhD scholar. Each drawing is accompanied by a short narrative and further analysed through conversations with my PhD supervisor. In writing the narratives and dialogue, deeper insights were gained in understanding the role of theory, allowing me to see how my identity was shifting into that of being a scholar. Simultaneously, using visuals as tangible objects allowed me to challenge the familiar while drawing on the resources of my practical background. The result was the inherent alignment of theory and practice, a deeper understanding of the changes within my identities and the alignment of my disparate selves. The use of visual methods has value for others wishing to find a way to bring the strengths of their current disciplines into a more scholarly realm whilst easing the transition.

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