Journeying from “I” to “we”: assembling hybrid caring collectives of geography doctoral scholars

Completing a PhD is difficult. Add a major earthquake sequence and general stress levels become much higher. Caring for some of the nonacademic needs of doctoral scholars in this environment becomes critical to their scholarly success. Yet academic supervisors, who are in the same challenging environment, may already be stretched to capacity. How then do we increase care for doctoral scholars? While it has been shown elsewhere that supportive and interactive department cultures reduce attrition rates, little work has been done on how exactly departments might create these supportive environments: the focus is generally on the individual actions of supervisors, or the individual quality of students admitted. We suggest that a range of actors and contingencies are involved in journeying toward a more caring collective culture. We direct attention to the hybridity of an emerging ‘caring collective’, in which the assembled actors are not only ‘students’ and ‘staff’, but also bodies, technologies, objects, institutions, and other nonhuman actors including tectonic plates and earthquakes. The concept of the hybrid caring collective is useful, we argue, as a way of understanding the distributed responsibility for the care of doctoral scholars, and as a way of stepping beyond the student/supervisor blame game.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in "Journal of Geography in Higher Education" on 15 June 2017, available at:
Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 2018, 42 (1), pp. 80 - 93