Where RW can take me

ECUlibrary
ECU Library, Joondalup, WA  |  Photo by Tseen Khoo

I’ve just returned from a brilliant trip to WA – to Perth and Edith Cowan University. ECU – Joondalup, to be precise.

I was invited to ECU by Con Wiebrands (ECU’s University Librarian), to give a presentation to her Library staff and Research Office people, too. It was the first time I’d been invited to give a presentation to an audience that was not higher degree researchers or early career researchers.

It felt like a challenge, and my presentation on “What ECRs want” aimed to generate intra-university connection and collaboration to create an enabling ECR research environment.

There were several notable things about this gig, which came about because of The Thesis Whisperer’s advocacy and my work on The Research Whisperer with Jonathan O’Donnell.

One of things I realise repeatedly and gratefully since about mid-2012, is that RW is truly the gift that keeps on giving. We have had so many lovely opportunities to meet with excellent colleagues and try out new audiences, and to be able to share the experiences and wisdom of so many researchers.

Knowing how much rides on invited speakers, it’s always an honour to be approached as an event guest. We often find ourselves giving talks and workshops at society conferences, as part of professional development programs, and within ‘research week’ activities.

For 2015, Jonathan and I have been invited to present across many topics, around Australia. Here’s our speaking trail: RW live!

As well as being invited presenters at others’ events, Jonathan convened the first Whispercon, hosted by RMIT, in August this year. If you want to have a peek at what went on, here’s the Storify from Whispercon, and a post that Jonathan wrote afterwards, How the Whisper workshop works. The 2nd Whispercon is planned for Canberra in 2016.

The second thing that was notable about this WA trip is I got to meet Con face to face.  Continue reading

Less blog, and moar blog

Photo by chrysics | www.flickr.com/photos/chrysics
Photo by chrysics | http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrysics

It’s ironic that I wrote a post about whether blogging could be a hobby for Research Whisperer, professed my love of blogging, and yet I haven’t posted here since mid-February!

The issue I discussed in the RW post was: if you’re blogging about work topics, and the blog profile adds to professional gravitas, can it actually be a hobby? Hobby implies something you do in your leisure time, not ‘work’. My lines were blurred, and have always been in academia. It’s a common problem.

The first thing I drop when I’m under the gun for other blog deadlines is this one. My personal and first blog.

I recently deleted a whole heap of posts from this blog. I had used this blog as a repository for AASRN-type info and updates for quite a few years, before the network developed into having its own identity and social media outlets. Even as I hit ‘delete’ on mass-selected posts, I was wondering whether I’d regret it.

Continue reading

2013 – backwards + forwards

Down the garden path (Photo by Tseen Khoo)
Down the garden path (Photo by Tseen Khoo)

Most people do their retrospective posts at the end of the year, but the end of the year was such a frenzied mishmash of work, outings, functions, and at-home time that I was lucky to get that final 2012 post out at all.

Not that this post is about making excuses.

It’s actually a wrap-up of my blogging and other writing from last year, and some musing on what I hope to get up to – writing-wise – this year. My semi-resolution from January 2012 was “to write more and to do it for fun, not academia”. This I did, in spades.

I churned out a lot posts, most of it split between RW and here. I was also invited to write several guest-posts for other blogs, a couple of articles for The Conversation, and was approached for a sponsored post. When I look back on it now, I wrote more consistently and faster in 2012 than I’ve ever done before.

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flickr-blogging – Lucy Naughton

There are many reasons I like working on The Research Whisperer blog with my colleague Jonathan O’Donnell.

One of the best things?

Having more in-depth access to Jonathan’s brain. He has a zealous appreciation for creativity and initiative and this leads him to know and find many things that are new to me (I live such a sheltered life). I’ve just joined a group he’s in that takes in art exhibitions at lunch times.

The latest thing he shared with me, just late last week, was Lucy Naughton’s flickr-blog. I don’t know if there’s another name for what Lucy’s put together, but that’s what I call it. She posts photos (many of them are of herself) accompanied by prose that’s often evocative and engaging. A few have nothing beyond a title; many have mini-essays.

Being in peak-grant-application-review mode + endeavouring-to-be-better-at-blogging mode at the moment, I’d only intended to skim the offerings at the flickr-blog. It proved too fascinating and I was drawn under straight away. I’m hooked.

Most flickr accounts I’ve browsed through are images only, with utilitarian captions; they serve a mostly archival function. Some have a few lines about the significance of the photo, or note the challenge/competition for which it was taken. Not Lucy’s.

There’s something very addictive about reading Lucy’s imagery and writing. I’m drawn to her honesty about life’s travails, unpacking of everyday anxieties and juxtaposition with sensuous (sometimes flagrant and exposing) pictures. Her photos are often complex counterpoints to, or triggers for, the writing that follows.

As I mentioned before, I lead a sheltered life, and am woefully unaware of much internet phenomena. The kind of thing Lucy does could be as common as dirt but, to me, it’s a fascinating personal project that I’ll be following from now on.

A few of my favourite entries so far:

Just in time before 2010

>It’s only recently that I’ve discovered a whole bunch of AA blogs. Many of them have been around for ages, but I’ve just found them.

Some were through Eurasian Sensation‘s various postings, and many through Asians Down Under (ADU). On the ADU site, there’s a dedicated area for AA blogs and updates. The tricky thing about this page is that it lists not only blogs that are overtly addressing AA material, but also blogs that just happen to be written by AAs. Good job by the maintainer of ADU, Yuey! I don’t know how they managed to track these down, but it’s fab to have them in one place for browsing and possible bookmarking.
On a tangent, prompted by one of the blogs I’ve found via ADU:
I’m fascinated by vegan AAs, mostly because most Asian folk I know are wildly omniverous and eschew (or openly scorn) any kind of restricted diet. On the heels of a Christmas feast where we very happily consumed fish, fowl, and hoofed beast, I found the writings and ratings for the vegan-friendliness of various eating places around town rather interesting. I dallied with the notion of vegan eating when I was temporarily on my gestational diabetes ‘diet’. I think my propensity to take things to extremes kicked in just because I had to monitor what I was eating and cutting down on portions/fats/sugars. I’ve kept a few good habits from those days, but I fell off the wagon immediately after having baby G.
I actually have a list of things I want to blog about. I’ve been adding to this list a lot. The problem is finding time to compose entries that I’m not ashamed to post. That said, I don’t want to keep a stagnant blog.
New Year’s Resolution #3: Make time to write more, and actually post it.
Bets on resolution longevity? Anyone…anyone…?
To the few faithful readers this blog does have:
Happy New Year for 2010! I hope to intrude on your reading time more often next year.