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Author: Preeti Vayada


The relationship between students and teachers is an essential factor that shapes learning, engagement, and students’ sense of belonging. Naming the student-teacher relationship a partnership: students as partners (SaP), has gained attention and grown in practice over the past decade. The metaphor of SaP challenges assumptions about what students can contribute to enhance learning and teaching. It argues for values-based interactions, which are based on the ethos of respect, reciprocity, and shared responsibility. The underlying principle of these ethos is to treat students as adults. What happens when student partners are adult students—mature-aged people with rich life experiences accrued over decades of work, parenthood, travel, and careers who return to higher education? In this chapter, I share my story of being in an extracurricular “Student-Staff Partnership Project” through a series of vignettes. I follow this with reflective discussions drawing on both SaP theorisations and literature on mature-aged students. My story outlines the joys of being accepted into a partnership project with the disappointments of not being regarded as a partner but instead being a student intern in a well-structured project aimed at getting me ‘job ready.’ I argue that when SaP is conceptualised as a structured project to build employability skills, mature-aged students will be alienated and excluded by design because programs assume a deficit view of students as young and inexperienced, in need of help and guidance to become ‘good future workers.’ The role of age, particularly the experiences of mature-aged students, has gained little explicit attention in SaP scholarship. It is time to acknowledge and name the myriad of contributions mature-aged students can bring to the co-creation of learning through partnership in order to enhance educational endeavours.

In: Adults in the Academy: Voices of Lifelong Learners
Chapter 10 100 Words Exactly


The capacity to write sits at the heart of academic work and is crucial to achieving success. For higher degree research students, academic writing calls for various skills, competencies and knowledges, and is experienced as a process of participating and becoming adept in the textual and discursive practices of specific disciplinary cultures. In this chapter, we share our collective experience of experimenting with the genre of ‘drabbles’ as a way to share the theoretical story of our thesis and academic work, and to gesture towards the ways in which higher degree research and writing might become a rebellious pedagogic and performative praxis. Drabbles are short works of fiction of exactly 100 words which explicitly aim to tell a story in a way that is short, sharp and snappy. The drabbles we share here were written while away on a week-long DRAW (Departing Radically in Academic Writing) writing retreat. In 100 words we departed radically from academic writing, to show not tell our thesis stories and our delight and love for words that world. The chapter weaves these together along with our thinking and wondering about our work as a way to, through and for rebellion in thesis and academic writing more broadly.

In: Doing Rebellious Research
Chapter 11 The Affect of Writing to It


This chapter presents the refrains of collaborative writing in response to a workshop presented by Professor Jonathan Wyatt (Edinburgh University) on the ideas and writings of Deleuze and Guattari at the University of Queensland’s DRAW (Departing Radically in Academic Writing) retreat held on Minjerribah in December 2020. In this piece, we share our encounter with the words, language and theories of Deleuze and Guattari as calls and responses in between twos and aim to share the ‘affect’ of ‘writing to it’. For many of us, this was our first encounter with the post-structuralist duo and, rather than enter into discussion about their work per se, we share here the ‘affect’ of listening to Jonathan speak about Deleuze and Guattari and the affect his words about them had on each and every one ‘between us’. In doing so, we hope our collection of words stammering in the storm shows that there are creative and critical ways of becoming academic writer in collaboration, and that these, in and of themselves, may be the best hope we have of departing radically in our work to change the world.

In: Doing Rebellious Research