A reflection on doctoral supervision as the co-production of differential space

Rob Smith, Tanya FItzgerald (Editor), J. Courtney Stephen (Editor)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    In this chapter I reflect on how undertaking doctoral study under Helen's supervision two decades ago influenced my growth as an educator in powerful and long-lasting ways. As with all doctoral study, the experience was developmental: it challenged and changed me and opened up new pathways of possibility. It was also anchored in a particular moment in the history of education in England, the establishment of marketisation across the education landscape and the gradual, adaptive neoliberalisation of education policy in schools, colleges and higher education ? the critique of which has been at the centre of Helen?s oeuvre. This chapter focuses on a historical reading of this period before moving on to reflect on the nature of the supervisory relationship. My doctorate studied the impact of marketisation on further education in England. The connecting of human experience to theory and research literature gave me a critical understanding that enabled me to sustain the social justice values that had informed my professional identity as an educator. But also, Helen?s supervision modelled a personalised dialogical model of knowledge production to contrast with the debased knowledge production practices associated with forms of accountability in the emerging marketised conditions. My experience as a doctoral student has subsequently informed my own supervisory practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCritical Education Policy and Leadership Studies
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Intellectual Contributions of Helen M. Gunter
    ISBN (Print)9783031368004
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 1 Aug 2023

    Publication series

    NameEssays in Honour of the Intellectual Legacy of Helen M. Gunter.
    PublisherSpringer Nature


    • Differential Space
    • Lefebvre
    • Doctoral supervision
    • history.


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