In 2011, Island 41 was invited to develop a residential team working course designed to enhance collaborations between students from a group of three Centres for Doctoral Training. Authentity (a wordplay meaning “be the author of your entity”) was developed in response to the climate of Austerity, and is a transferable skills course built on the three principles.
Firstly, each course is individually designed, and runs on a voluntary participation basis only. Secondly, all participants are consulted individually in order to determine the course feel and incorporate any specific objectives within its framework. Finally, participants are given a real problem to tackle on the course; one which is unsolved and which results in a tangible output.
Throughout the course, they work closely with the delivery team, who coach them towards not only greater self-awareness, but a conclusion which has already been proved to provide positive impact in terms of their careers as researchers, as shown by ‘Hermes’, the successful student-led biannual conference. Its impact, described in Professor Adrian Sutton’s book Rethinking the PhD, was essential and long-lasting.
In 2018, some of the more successful elements of the course were used in the design of “From Chaos to Control”, a similar but less resource-intensive team working course with a similar purpose.