Confronting the imposter: the role of conference presentation for confidence-building in academics




Imposter syndrome, identity, confidence, conference, Higher Education


We often hear that facing our fears is the best course of action to conquering them. It seems that many individuals are choosing to confront their deepest, inner fears when we explore the data that show that a fear of being an ‘imposter’ ‘runs thick in the veins of academics, from newly arrived graduate students to those nearing retirement’ (Revuluri, 2018: 1). This reflection piece shares the authors personal experiences of planning and delivering a workshop on ‘Imposter Syndrome’ (IS) that, ironically, helped to confront and conquer their own fears. This article highlights the key role that conference presentation can play in helping academics to overcome feeling like frauds through five key processes: reflection, feed-forward, perspective, support network and talk.

Author Biographies

Poppy Frances Gibson, University of Greenwich

Poppy Gibson is a lecturer in Primary Education in the Teacher Education Department, who has come into HE after over a decade working in several London primary schools. Poppy is Programme Lead of the University of Greenwich's Accelerated degree programme in Primary Education and is the Modern Foreign Language coordinator, teaching MFL on the PGCE and BA QTS programmes. Key research interests include identity, motivation and the integration of technology into our lives, with a dominant focus on social media.

Samuel Coombes, University of Greenwich

Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and Sport


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