On Friday, 20 April, CRLI students Billy Chan, Dwayne Ripley and Natasha Arthars ran a workshop (funded by the DVC (Education) Portfolio) for HDR students interested in starting their own reading groups. The aim of the workshop was to discuss key aspects to be considered when starting and facilitating a group, rather than providing a prescriptive approach. The workshop was attended by students from different faculties, some of which had already started reading groups and others who were planning to start groups either within or across universities. A common theme among participants was the interdisciplinary nature of their research.
Of particular interest to participants was the idea of inviting academics along to reading group meetings. We have found at CRLI that our best attended meetings have been those where the author of the paper has been in attendance. This has allowed us to not only engage with the reading on a deeper level, but also ask questions related to data collection, such as issues that emerged during data collection and analysis, and to find out more about their plans for future projects.
The workshop was only the beginning. All participants were given access to a Slack workspace in which the discussion could continue and a community could emerge. The aim of creating the online group was to allow students to continue the conversation, ask questions and discuss lessons learned in their own reading groups. Later in the year this will be followed up with a further face to face session to debrief and celebrate the successful reading groups that have emerged following the initial workshop.