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

Poppy Frances Gibson, Samuel Coombes


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.


Imposter syndrome; identity; confidence; conference; Higher Education

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