The Mindful Researcher workshops are back



In doing research, the quality of our attention matters. It affects our ability to focus, our level of productivity and how we experience the process of working. When we’re busy or under pressure, it’s easy for our attention to scatter. Our self-awareness decreases and we find ourselves slipping into familiar habits of thought and behaviour.

Like any skill, attention requires practice. And in education, the type of attention best suited to learning involves not just concentration, but awareness. When focus is combined with awareness, we’re in a much better position to respond to challenges. And we’re more likely to have an experience that is genuinely open, curious, engaged and at ease.

The Mindful Researcher is a unique four-part workshop series that offers practical strategies for how to train your attention, develop good working habits and find balance in a competitive, high-pressure working environment. Specifically, it focuses on the role that awareness and our states of mind (both positive and negative) play in the experience of being a researcher.

A few facts about The Mindful Researcher:
·      The workshops are open to all research students (MRes and PhD) and staff members at Macquarie University.
·      This is not a meditation course. Rather, the workshops explore how mindfulness principles and strategies can be used to cultivate a sustainable, balanced research practice and a more enjoyable experience. (If you are interested in meditation, I run fortnightly drop-in sessions as a separate event on campus.)
·      Participants may register for any number of workshops in the series. However, most benefit will be gained from attending all workshops as a course, as the material builds week to week.
·      The workshops offer a space for participants to openly discuss their experiences of doing research and working in the university environment.

Workshop details

Part I. Mindfulness and Research, 11:30am-1pm, 2 July (11WW 140)
The first workshop offers a basic introduction to mindfulness principles and their relevance to research. It discusses the importance of awareness for both our understanding the research experience, and how we face the challenges it presents.

Part II. Time and the Research Environment, 11:30am-1pm, 9 July (07WW 149)
The second workshop examines the mental effects of working in a competitive, time-pressured environment. How does research culture and the university space impact how we do our work and see ourselves? How aware are we of these effects? And what can we do about them?

Part III. Attention and Distraction in the Research Process, 11:30am-2pm, 16 July (07WW 149)
The third workshop addresses the issues of concentration and focus. What is the quality of your attention when you work? How well do you deal with distractions? Together, we explore some of the internal challenges of being a writer including procrastination, perfectionism and writer’s block.

Part IV. Cultivating Balance, 11:30am-1pm, 23 July (07WW 149)
The final workshop takes a fresh look at work-life balance. It explores balance as a lived experience and an ongoing practice, rather than a rigid scheduling exercise. It discusses the important related topics of discipline, self-compassion and rest.

Register here.

Testimonials from past participants

‘The Mindful Researcher was one of the most significant training courses I have undertaken in the course of my PhD. Michelle creates a safe space in which to discuss the pressures and anxieties that attend HDR study and life in academia. She provides wonderful, practical suggestions for working effectively and efficiently in this high pressure environment without sacrificing your physical or emotional health. Highly recommended for any HDR student or staff member feeling the pressure.’

‘The Mindful Researcher workshops have been a unique way to learn about mindfulness. What I have particularly enjoyed is that we have an opportunity to share experiences and ask questions at the end of each session. This has given me insights into the diverse experiences of other researchers and a chance to reflect on my own experience. I have taken away from the workshops an increased ability to be conscious about emotions that arise and not to judge them… The PhD experience entails a raft of emotions and being able to notice and accept them is very valuable. I felt significantly calmer for days after I attended the workshops.’

If you'd like to know more about the course, please get in touch via the comments or email michelle.jamieson@mq.edu.au.

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