A moment in and out of time: precarity, liminality, and autonomy in crisis teaching

Hayley Glover, Fran Myers, Hilary Collins

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This paper explores tensions and ambiguities for UK HE teachers during COVID-19. It analyses changed behaviours and routines for existing hybrid workers experienced in online pedagogy through three core axes of precarity and security; time and perceptions of time; and communication.

Twelve participants supplied photographs and written narratives depicting their teaching during the pandemic. To understand working lives at this liminal time, we undertook three-level photographic and content analysis, examining the interplay between homeworking challenges and extremities with an accompanying range of emotional responses.

Findings include changed routines, new independence, and tensions around resulting autonomy in a liminal lockdown phase when everyday life was anything but. Recommendations for HE management are to ensure that effective communication and collaboration are privileged between management and academic staff. Moving forward, the value of academic judgement and voice should be acknowledged as much as teaching capacity in strategic planning and tuition delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-740
Number of pages18
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jan 2024


  • liminality
  • extreme work
  • precarity
  • online teaching
  • pandemic


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