Associate Professor Samantha Hardy is a pracademic who works for a number of organisations in a variety of roles. She is an Associate Professor at James Cook University teaching in the Masters of Conflict Management and Resolution programme and supervising RHD students. She is also the Student Ombudsman at the University of Wollongong. She is a founder, coach and trainer at Conflict Coaching International. In addition, Sam is an adjunct at various universities in Australia, Hong Kong and the USA.
Where does research fit in your professional work?
Research for me is a form of reflective practice – research informs my practice and my practice informs my research.
Why did you become interested in the dispute resolution field?
As part of my LLM in 1997 I did a dispute resolution elective and received my Certificate 3 in Community Mediation. As a litigation lawyer at the time, I experienced a kind of epiphany that transformed the course of my work and study since then, leading to me leaving my job as a lawyer and re-focusing on mediation and other forms of conflict support in both my practice and my research.
What is your particular area of dispute resolution research interest?
I’m interested in conflict narratives, and how the way we tell stories about conflict impacts on our capacity to manage it effectively. I am interested in particular in how this can play out in conflict coaching. I am particularly interested in conflict in the university context (e.g. between PhD students and their supervisors).
Whose research has influenced you? Why/How?
Jerome Bruner’s work on the narrative construction of reality is fundamental to my work on the narrative construction of conflict. His background in psychology and particularly the psychology of learning has also had a significant impact on how I think about coaching.
Sara Cobb’s work on narrative in the area of conflict is by far the most advanced theoretical scholarship in this field, and she continues to inspire and mentor me.
What dispute resolution research are you involved with at the moment?
I’m working on research into conflict in the HDR student/supervisor relationship, and also a book on The Melodrama of Conflict (focusing on conflict narratives).
Where would you like to take your dispute resolution research work over the next ten years?
I would like to expand the quantity and quality of work in the field of conflict narratives and their impact on how people manage conflict. I am also hoping to do more narrative analysis research into conflict in the future.
What advice do you have for emerging dispute resolution researchers?
Read widely, find something that you are passionate about, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Also, if you read something that has an impact on you, write to the author and tell them – great friendships and collaborations can start in that way, and also it’s so nice for people to receive some positive feedback from a reader!