Although English language teachers are increasingly being encouraged to engage in forms of collaborative practitioner research (PR), such as action research and exploratory practice, to date there are still comparatively few studies recounting the benefits of collaboration in research from teachers' perspectives. Drawing on cultural-historical activity theory, our study aims to address this gap. Set in a Turkish university context, where collaborative PR has been encouraged in recent years, it draws on semi-structured interviews with teacher-researchers, a reflective account of collaboration in research kept by the first author and an analysis of research outputs produced in the setting. It focuses on teachers' initial engagement in research within the university, and how they overcame challenges at this point and subsequently in sustaining engagement in teacher-research through collaboration. Finally, in the hope their stories will inspire others, it highlights the benefits research participants felt they had gained from engaging collaboratively in teacher-research.