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Researchers reach out to support international careers

26 July 2021 @TeessideUni


Teesside University academics have been leading a project to help South Asian women writers and researchers advance their careers.

Dr Madeline Clements and Dr Rachel Carroll, from the University’s Centre for Culture and Creativity, set out to promote original new research on South Asian women’s writing to help advance the careers of next generation women scholars.

Supported by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund and working with the International Islamic University, they curated a three-day workshop for 25 women early career researchers (ECRs) from across Pakistan with the aim of promoting gender equality in writing and research.

The workshops combined specialist talks, practical workshops, one-to-one mentoring and networking, with guest speakers including the highly acclaimed Pakistani writer and editor Muneeza Shamsie.

Dr Madeline Clements said: “Women writers, both past and present, have played a vital role in raising awareness of gender inequality, while women researchers have been at the forefront of new thinking in this area, inspiring social and cultural change.

“In Pakistan, ECRs have made real strides in amplifying the voices of South Asian women writers, yet they continue to face socioeconomic barriers to developing their own research.”

The workshop was developed following a nationwide survey of researchers in Pakistan, ensuring it was targeted to the needs of women early career researchers in the region.

Though planned as a physical event in Pakistan, the workshop was adapted for a virtual setting due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19. However, part of the project funding was used to create a smart classroom at the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) which will be able to facilitate future events and support the ongoing work of ECRs in Pakistan.

Feedback from workshop delegates was overwhelmingly positive, citing the ‘sincerity and sensitivity’ with which feedback on their work was delivered, as well as the opportunity to learn ‘the latest techniques and aspects of research in-depth’.

Women writers, both past and present, have played a vital role in raising awareness of gender inequality

Dr Madeline Clements

Dr Rachel Carroll added: “In creating a community of ECRs, academics and writers, the project has provided a platform to enable the delegates to set the agenda for future research in South Asian women’s writing.

“Not only this, but many of the 25 ECRs are practising teachers, and have been equipped with knowledge, skills and confidence to assist them in inspiring the next generation of women writers and researchers in Pakistan.”

Beyond the workshop, participants also had a chance to undertake 12-week supervised and funded research projects on topics of their own choosing. These include Women and Leadership in HE in Pakistan and Women Editors in Independent Journals and Magazines in Pakistan.

Munazza Yaqoob, project partner (IIUI), said: “Thanks to the contribution of Dr Rachel Carroll and Dr Madeline Clements we have trained 25 women ECRs from different parts of Pakistan and established a fully equipped smart classroom exclusively for young women in the Department of English, Female Campus, IIUI.

“This is our humble attempt to bridge the digital gender gap and support young women in academia to step into the future equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge.”

Sofia Hussain, project research assistant added “The workshop was a wonderful opportunity for the early career researchers from different parts of Pakistan to enhance their research skills. It was inspiring to see young women who participated in the workshop from remote areas of the country. The establishment of a state of the art, fully equipped smart classroom for women ECRs is an important outcome of the project which will serve as an important resource for women ECRs.”

In the News

Researchers run workshops to support international careers
Northern Echo, Print and Web, 29/07/2021
Professors at Teesside University's Centre for Culture and Diversity have set out to promote original new research on South Asian women's writing.