Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Some people write blogposts every day. I just can’t do it. One of the reasons is that I spend 5 or 6 days a week working 8 or 9 hours a day, each week. Apart from not being very interesting, it leaves me exhausted. But it’s for the good cause. I just discovered that my colleague Hannah will have her panel on the same day as me, so we can either celebrate our success together, or get drunk to forget our failure.

Anyway. I just returned from Bangor, Wales. The weather was absolute amazing, the landscape impressive, the people very nice, the language impossible to understand. But I do love you, Wales. You stole my heart forever. I wasn’t on a holiday; actually I presented my view on the future (the world in 2050) to a group of ecologists, architects, scientists, and other interesting people. It was great to get feedback from people working in very different fields, in very different ways. And it’s nice to discover that ideas translate quite well if you make the effort to get rid of jargon and speak, as my dad would say, “like a normal human being.”

All the extra activities like conferences had already been planned before I agreed to present in July, and I sort of panicked when I realized that this might make things…difficult. But actually, it’s worked really well so far. Getting away from my desk for a couple of days allows me to meet interesting people and learn from them. Distance creates clarity and coherence, too.

Another cool thing that happened in Bangor: I got awarded the prize for the best paper. Apart from 150 pounds cash (which is very welcome) it’s a nice ego boost. One of the things I aspire to do is communicate my research to non-academic and non-humanities audiences, and its nice to discover that it works and is appreciated.

Tomorrow, another event is going to happen: my colleague David and I host the Annual Review Symposium at UEA. It’s a great opportunity for first-year American Studies  research students to share their research, and it’s also good for networking. I’m giving a paper which is basically an overview of what I’ve been up to since last September. Other people’s work focuses on women’s voices, agency, conspiracy theories or Eleanor Roosevelt. Again loads of variety, and I’m looking forward to it. More updates (and more regular ones) will follow soon.

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