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Taylor and Francis Group


Early Career Scholars

So what exactly is an 'Early Career Researcher'? It's time to review this stigmatising title for our ASDS members.

As the Early Career Researcher Representative (ECR Rep) on the ASDS Council I am acutely aware that the ECR title of office on council does not encompass all the roles we find ourselves in following completion of a PhD. The reality is that only about 50% of PhD graduates go into academic jobs employed by a Higher Education Institution (HEI) and of those of us who do, many, like me, find themselves doing years of fixed-term (sometimes pro-rata/part-time) research and/or teaching contracts. Our job titles are numerous: Post-doc researcher, (senior) research fellow, (senior) research associate, research officer, (senior) teaching fellow and even lecturer (fixed term!). Therefore, I am keen to re-name my office title to be more inclusive/representative of those of us who are employed in the HE sector but are neither PhD/Postgraduate students nor academics on permanent contracts. In addition, I am also acutely aware that a number of our ECR membership are 'independent scholars' who fully participate in the death studies community and its scholarship, but who, by choice or not, find themselves working in a non-academic role or unemployed, whilst still actively contributing to journal articles, committees and research. We need to face up to the complex and fluid realities of 21st century employment in HE. So, as your Rep on the ASDS Council, I ask you, what title would best represent us? 'ECR', in my opinion, privileges research roles rather than being inclusive of our colleagues who are on teaching-only contracts or working in another sector. It is also aligned with 'junior' or 'young', but many us have had careers prior to academia or consider ourselves either 'mid-career' and/or 'middle aged'! I also wanted to find out what your needs/career challenges were and therefore how ASDS could try to meet them in the future. So please, if any of this strikes a chord with you then I want to hear from you! Email me at drhannahrumble@gmail.com because I, like so many of us, will once again shortly be unemployed having completed my current research contract at Bristol. Together with loss of income come the hurdles for maintaining our scholarship, because, by implication,we immediately lose access to our institutional email and library resources, as well as institutional affiliation to apply for bids, access conference attendance support; all 'challenges' (to say the least) that many of us face in pursuing our academic careers. ASDS Council want to come up with some creative solutions to overcome these challenges for ASDS members, but we need your feedback and suggestions first!

ASDS is committed to supporting professional development and to this end The ASDS is committed to supporting ECR's professional development, therefore, we have a specific representative on the Council for Early Career Scholars; Hannah Rumble.

Please contact Hannah if you have any news, views or issues relating to Early Career Scholars, which you would like her to raise with the ASDS Council.

You can email Hannah at drhannahrumble@gmail.com or, contact her via Twitter at @drhannahrumble

But more importantly, the ECR Representative needs you!

Hannah invites comments from all ECRs working in some field of death, dying and disposal to submit their views on what they would like her to facilitate for ECRs, either making resources available through this webpage or perhaps to organise an event or workshop. Are there particular resources you would like her to set up as a series of links through this webpage? Would you be interested in some webinars? Perhaps a one-to-one career skype consultation? All ideas are welcome so don't hesitate to email Hannah with your ideas and requests.

Similarly, if you are a Postgraduate student, you can email your ideas to the ASDS PGR Council Representative, Renske Visser. Drop Renske an email at r.c.visser@bath.ac.uk

Career Development Advice

  1. New Career Biogs
  2. British Sociological Association: Authorship Guidelines for Academic Papers
  3. Death, Dying, and Disposal Ph.D. Thesis Abstracts
  4. Postgraduate Representatives

  5. Laura Towers
  6. Renske Visser


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