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University of the Arts London

“See you on the other side”: researcher identity, threshold concepts and making a ritual of confirmation

Illustration of PhD student writing at his desk, surrounded by surveillance cameras. Illustration by Paul Jackson, LCC.


With the requirement of making a contribution to new knowledge in the field, in doing a PhD the researcher creates a curriculum. The researcher is also changing, in relation to what matters to them and the world they are making. But when the ritual of the ‘PhD confirmation’ is instrumentalized, the format of confirmation doesn’t relate to the scholarship of doing a PhD as ‘doctorateness’, threshold concept, or liminal process. If the PhD and its supervisory processes are to remain relevant, we need to re-situate the centrality of the pedagogical and ontological practices at stake in original knowledge production.  


Author Biography

Dr John O'Reilly

Dr John O’Reilly is Senior Lecturer in Academic Practice in the Teaching, Learning and Employability Exchange. John teaches across the PgCert and MA Academic Practice. His research explores the pedagogy of the concept in the relation of practice and anticipation. His most recent book was Anticipation, Creativity and Design (2020) co-edited with Dr Jamie Brassett, which included his chapter, ‘Becoming Other-wise as the practice of anticipation’.