Creative industries Research Cluster Journal – First steps for the anxious PGR


By Martin Cox, Editor of CICJ


The work of a PhD researcher pulls in multiple directions; constantly squirrelling back and forth between our research and an intractable mountain of ‘literature’ in pursuit of the illusive ‘original contribution to knowledge’.

We are supposed to be conference socialites, networking ourselves into agreeable publications while all the time originating exciting, innovative ideas that serve the demand of the REF that we are relevant, publicly engaging and totally awesome in all that we do. It feels as though Universities require a small army of Brian Cox’, brilliantly schmoozing the public and industry partners into appreciating the vital importance of the work that we do.

For people like me, this sort of pressure is not conducive to my natural state of being – anxious. Phrases like ‘auto ethnographic reflexivity,’ ‘a-priory knowledge’ and ‘ontological inquiry’ fall off the tongue like anvils. Reassurances from peers that ‘imposter syndrome’ is normal and something all academics share offers little succour when I’m experiencing the effects full blown Charlatanitis. Extra help is needed.

The solution conjured-up by a group PGRs at BCU ADM is the Creative industries Research Cluster Journal (CICJ). Initially the idea was to bring together researchers that have similar scholarly interest to collaborate, pool knowledge and create a framework for developing ideas. This remains the primary objective. However, the most useful aspect for me has been the opportunity to learn the craft of journal writing and participate in the peer review process in a relaxed low-pressure situation.

Organising my brain onto the page and sending out into the world feels like a risky business, particularly for someone with predilection towards provocation and relaxed attitude to detail. CICJ has provided a framework for me to make mistakes without shooting my foot off in the process. I have also been able to experiment with my writing style and positionality as a researcher (see, I’m learning!).

CICJ is new journal that acts as a steppingstone for PGRs into the world of academic journals. It’s in its embryonic stages, but with more participation it could develop into something capable of supporting many more underconfident and overwhelmed PGRs through their precarious first steps into the unforgiving world of peer review and publication.

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