Higher Education Identities

Accepting identity and supporting growth

As part of our work on higher education identities we are carrying out a research project which aims to explore how students’ identities affect their experiences at LSE. 

We are working with a diverse group of undergraduates and taught postgraduates who are writing weekly self-reflective diaries about their student experience. These diaries capture a variety of moments across the year, which enables us to get a sense of day-to-day life, as well as how experiences and reflections change or persist over time. 

Core themes in this research so far are: belonging, success, privilege, and disadvantage. 

In this project, we understand student identities as multiple and fluid: in essence, in context, and in our perceptions. As such, the project prioritises student voice, allowing students to define themselves and tell us how their identities are relevant to their experiences. 

We are actively working to move away from a deficit approach which simultaneously blames and seeks to assimilate non-traditional students into the existing systems. Instead, we seek to understand how institutional structures, discourses, and cultures produce disparate experiences in their interaction with the individual.