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Accepted paper:

Decolonising academic selves through auto-ethnography


Jos Beelen (The Hague University of Applied Sciences)
Katherine Wimpenny (Coventry University)
Karine Hindrix (the Hague University of Applied Sciences UCLL)
Ellen Sjoer (The Hague University of Applied Sciences)
Virginia King (Coventry University)

Paper short abstract:

Over the past ten years, academics have tried to internationalise their academic selves. The authors of this paper followed an autoethnographic approach and reflect on the decolonisation of the academic self on the relationship between internationalisation of the curriculum and decolonisation.

Paper long abstract:

This paper builds on by five academics from three western European countries Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. That earlier study is rooted in Sanderson (2008) and his argument that internationalisation of higher education requires the internationalisation of the academic self and follows up on Vandeyar (2019), who argues that academics need to decolonise first in order to be able to decolonise curricula in South Africa. We, five expert practitioners and researchers in curriculum development and internationalisation of higher education became curious about the state of our own decolonised selves as.

In the original study, we decided to adopt an autoethnographic approach to data collection (Hammersley & Atkinson, 2007). Autoethnography is a means of reflecting on the self so as to reveal true feelings and vulnerabilities that may otherwise lie hidden, not just from others, but from oneself (King, 2013). Autoethnography is particularly pertinent in the current context because it "lies at the intersection of discourses and experiences of Self and Other, Insider and Outsider, Native and Colonialist" (Anderson & Glass-Coffin, 2013). Each member of the team created a visualization of their decolonising self in the form of the 'map' of an island, following King (2013). Each map was complemented with a reflexive commentary. These two qualitative moves enabled each individual to explore their standpoint regarding their professional context and practices concerning decolonization. Subsequently, we shared our images and our commentaries, and collaboratively explored them.

The comparative analysis of our 'islands' includes a discussion to what extent internationalisation of the curriculum (Leask, 2015) and internationalisation at home (Beelen & Jones, 2015) are different from decolonisation of the curriculum.

One of the instruments of an internationalised curriculum is Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL). Such forms of collaboration form the core of the Erasmus+ Project iKudu and are usually associated with internationalisation but not with decolonisation. In this paper we explore the potential of online teaching and learning practices for decolonisation of curricula.

panel H50
How can curriculum decolonization operate in the third space in Global South-North collaborations?