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Doctoral Student

Lindsay Jordan is a doctoral student in the School of Education at Oxford Brookes University, where she is researching different ideas about the role of universities. She is also a lecturer at the University of the Arts London, leading a postgraduate course on the philosophy and practice of higher education.

Before embarking on the final stage of her thesis, Lindsay was required to write an autoethnograpic study of her doctoral journey to date. Feeling uninspired by examples that focused on academic identity and the challenges of combining doctoral study with work and family life, she asked her tutor if she could write about how psychedelic experience had influenced her work. Having described and exemplified authethnography as a ‘transgressive’ research method allowing the subversion of social and academic boundaries, he could hardly refuse, and – with a few conditions – she was given the green light.

The resulting paper – ‘Where were you while we were getting high? An autoethnography of psychedelic experience and doctoral study’ – not only enabled Lindsay to progress to the final stage of her doctorate, it also won the 2017 Breaking Convention student essay competition.


‘Unprofessional’…’Irrelevant’…’Fascinating’: A story of academia and psychedelic pride

Within a few days of my first psychedelic experience, aged 34, I was accepted onto the Doctorate in Education programme at Oxford Brookes University. Three years in, being required to submit an autoethnography of my doctoral journey, I chose to reflect on how psychedelic experience had influenced my educational and personal development – and vice versa.

I was delighted to win the Breaking Convention student essay competition and to have been invited to present my work at the conference. Rather than merely regurgitating the contents of the original paper (which you can read online), I would like to share with you my experience of writing about psychedelics in this context; my motivations and reservations, the negotiations with my tutors, the conditions I had to work with, and the reactions of those who assessed my work. I will also talk about what I learned from researching and writing the paper, and how it affected my life in the months that followed.