Recently, our KIN blog generated some attention and activity, both positive and negative. An issue emerged that led us to question our relationship to the institution in which we learn, those we learn from, and how much right we have to be provocative in a space such as the KIN blog.
It gave me much to ponder. First up, are we privileged to get away with more as we are mere PhD candidates—untenured and naïve with the freedom of rangatahi to find ourselves, our way, and our voice? Or are we kept under the thumb much more closely, due to our naivety, our tenaciousness, our potential recklessness?
Who is KIN answerable to? A group of young scholars who got together off their own back to set up a support network for each other. Of course we pay homage to the introductions that were made through our mentors, colleagues, and friends, but we, as a group, hold fiercely to the thought of our independent establishment. Although, perhaps too, that is part of our naivety. Actions of our predecessors set the stage for us to come together as KIN, so as a cohort, we are the new revolution of the dynamic spiral. But does this make us accountable to those before us? If this is the case, then where and when does the accountability stop? If not, does it still align with Indigenous values of kinship?
Each KIN scholar belongs to an institution, and naturally, due to the circles of engagement, we are made up of more students of a particular university, of a particular department. Does this then make our group answerable to that department, that institution? And what of those from outside?
The KIN blog blurs this even further. We have 56 posts, 11,929 views, 6,985 visitors, from 61 countries. We have guest bloggers from global institutions, some with academic interests outside of business. We have had contributions from Associate Professors as well as those not currently in the academy. Our only criteria is an Indigenous kaupapa. Who then, is the blog accountable to, and who has the right to determine our tikanga?
I know we are not the first group to enter into such an identity crisis, and as we keep growing, and defining ourselves, it will arise again. We must learn to balance the inevitable tensions that exist in life. We act within the institution, we have been given resources by a department to manage this group, and (possibly the trickiest) we have loyalties in many directions. I feel there is no right or wrong, there is only group consensus. For now, we have managed to navigate these waters. We make collective decisions, we critically and strategically discuss our options and our stance. We don’t individually speak for the group. We are KIN. KIN belongs to us.
A snapshot of KIN