It’s been a while since my last post, but settling in after the Christmas holiday has taken a while. To put it mildly, there was A LOT of work to be done. Luckily, most of it is great fun.
For example, the first Public Intellectual event of 2014 has already taken place. It focused on creating connections with art galleries, museums, and other public institutions. The good thing I learned is that academics actually have things to offer to the public, such as their expertise. The slightly disappointing thing is that most institutions are quite bureaucratic so bringing your idea to life is not easy by any means. Nevertheless, I’m curious about the next event (next Friday) about engaging with non-academic audiences. I’ve done outreach work with Year 10 students, which was lovely, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from academics who have more experiences to share. Of course outreach is rather “cool” at the moment (rumour has it that it will be a major aspect of the next REF cycle) but I truly believe in the value of communicating with non-academics. Not only to “share your research” as if you’re some kind of brilliant genius, but also to learn from the perspectives of non-experts. It is so easy to take aspects of academia for granted because its “just the way we do things”. I always find the confrontation with others quite refreshing as it makes me think about what I do and why I do it.
I’ve also managed to get accepted for the BAAS conference in April. More will follow soon.
And I will be leaving for Sheffield in a couple of weeks time to compete in the BUCS karate championships. I am a realist and don’t expect to win anything, as it’ll be my first competition ever and I only have a year and a half of karate experience under my belt (pun totally intended). But it will probably be great fun, I’ll get to see some truly good writers, and it will be a welcome break from all the hard thinking I’m doing right now.