Sunday, July 16, 2017

Academic without portfolio

It is just over a year since I graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy but my shibboleth access to online journals had been turned off almost as soon as I had submitted. My academic email lasted a little longer, but that was eventually replaced with an alumni one marking the transition from Doctoral candidate to what I have since seen described as "early career academic". That is to say I had transitioned from the highest status  for a University student, to the lowest rung on the professional academic ladder

Indeed it was somewhat strange to consider myself in this position given that I am presently less than 5  years away from age at which I can expect to draw my pension and realism has set in when you consider that only a lucky few PhDs walk into a well paid post doctoral research position within a year of graduation, and that times are getting tougher for academics, what with Brexit, and neo liberalism, notwithstanding that social research into autism is pretty much the cinderella of autism research at this time as the National Autism Project report says amongst many other things.

However am I really an academic without portfolio? One thing is for sure I have no funding to follow my interests further, and have to rely on what tidbits I can pick up in the way of expenses to attend conferences and seminars.

Nonetheless and surprisingly for me, I have kept my hand in, not just with the National Autism Project where I was one of a truly outstanding team of autistic advisors, but with such things as the Participatory Autism Research Collective,  the Shaping Autism Research seminars, and even more surprisingly being invited to present on my Thesis at the Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association. I have also found time to become a research subject (something I swore I would never do again) and seminar particpant concerning autism and the criminal justice system.

Finally perhaps I am not entirely without portfolio, as I after all the principal editor and founder of Autonomy which must count for something.

However in terms of actually undertaking any further research, the opportunities are simply not going to come my way by just waiting and persusing the academic vacancies. For someone like me, who struggles in this world, I have to take the dictum of Hannibal and make my own way, and I think I have actually found one, (which does not include elephants, {in the room or elsewise})

As my blog of some moments ago indicates, I have an interest in diagnosis, it is not a new interest either, as I have spoken on the topic at Autscape and elsewhere before, particularly in terms of what means for identity, the contradictions of it all notwithstanding.

I think I have a very good opportunity to put together a research project, for which there is currently no funding, but would not either be impossible to fund or undertake, and as with all good criminals, I have both the motive and the opportunity at the moment, so it is all looking up.

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