ECAs and PhDs in an Age of Anxiety


Dr Sarah Lewis, KCL

Dr James Grande, KCL

In his inaugural lecture as Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London in May this year, Sir Simon Wessely examined the rise in mental disorders in younger people, which he described as ‘the first true risk in psychiatric disorders in this country in several generations’. It is beyond question that increasing numbers of our students are reporting problems with anxiety. ECAs and PhDs are also living through this ‘Age of Anxiety’. Rosalind Gill, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at KCL, identifies some of the ‘hidden injuries of neo-liberal academia’ and of cultural labour more broadly in the twenty-first century: ‘a preponderance of temporary, intermittent and precarious jobs’; the intensification of workloads; the ‘erasure of boundaries between work and play; poor pay; [and] high levels of mobility’, all of which lead to ‘profound experiences of insecurity and anxiety about finding work, earning enough money, and “keeping up” in rapidly changing fields’.

In this workshop, we will explore one of the most significant causes of anxiety for both students and ECAs / PhDs: feedback. We will think about the part feedback plays in our own teaching: how do we give feedback to students, and how do they give feedback to us? We will also consider the ways in which we receive feedback on our own work, and the effect it has on our research. The aim of the workshop is to share experience, and to identify some strategies for easing our own and our students’ anxieties through feedback processes.

Thursday 6th July, 5.00