Alongside Claire Malakia at UCL, I put together this series of workshops and informal meet-ups to raise awareness and build community around mental health issues in academia. Sessions focused on topics such as: the writing process and isolation, thinking about how we can support and bolster personal mental health, isolation, imposter syndrome, competitiveness, unclear measures of progress and success, a lack of structure, and “toxic” institutional cultures of overwork and ableism (Catherine Oakley, 2017). We began from the belief that academia exacerbates existing conditions where wellbeing and lifestyle changes (as well meaning as this outreach can be) are not always enough.
We focused on tactics we can share to support ourselves and each other in striking the balance between research and personal mental health. Creating opportunity to share tools for research, as well as creating a supportive community beyond academic disciplines.
The project ran other events on this topic, including a teach-out ‘University/Interrupted’ during the 2018 strike.