Archive

Monthly Archives: August 2015

It’s a day to update profiles. I might even have to brave facebook soon. It’s a day to change email signatures. The first days in a new job.

Not just any job, either. The Dream Job. The Holy Grail and other metaphors. The full-time, permanent academic post, in the same city as my family. No more fly-commuting (bye bye SAS gold card, I’ll miss you). No more leaving the goats. No more late nights in the office so I can spend more time with them on my home weeks. Instead it’s matpakker and preschool drop-offs and regular hours. Maybe even a dog. Just like a ‘normal’ family.

It also means teaching. I’ve missed teaching, funnily enough. Oh, I haven’t missed the random midnight emails or the marking. But I’ve missed the interaction with students. I’ve missed the challenge of presenting complex material in a way that it can be learnt by not-yet-experts. This time I have the added bonus of getting to do it all in Norwegian. Ditto syllabi, exams, assessments. It’s going to be a steep learning curve, and I am not ashamed to admit I’m nervous about that. I’m also confident the students will help me. It’s OK to not be infallible. I’ve never let the fact that I can’t sing very well stop me from singing musical examples in class, thereby showing that perfection is not a requirement and encouraging timid students to join in. The same will, I hope, prove true for my language. It’s OK to make mistakes, folks, we’re all here to help each other. Plus it’s a great excuse to teach multimodally.

But for now, the tea bowls are in place, the pink crocs too. The essential task of decorating the office door is underway. People to meet, names to learn and get muddled up, equipment to get to grips with, keys to get confused over… All the fun, messy stuff that is the first few days. The new life starts here.

Official, like.

Official, like.

Advertisements

‘I’m not a linguist, I’m a musicologist.’

So why did you come to this conference?’

A question I heard many times this last week. The short answer: to talk about multimodality in research communication. The longer answer: to put forward the methodology of the Idélab Fellowship Project, that of researching in the middle.

‘It’s not beginnings and endings that count, but middles. Things and thoughts advance or grow out from the middle, and that’s where you have to get to work, that’s where everything enfolds’ – Deleuze, Negotiations (trans. Joughin, 1995), 161.

Researching in the middle – a phrase that can be read in a number of ways, and intentionally so. First, we stand in the middle, between the four other projects to come out of the Idélab and the ‘outside world’. Secondly, we are in the middle: our project is now in its second year of three, we are learning all the time. Thirdly, the viewpoint from the middle offers a different perspective, but one which is rarely explored: we like to publish results, results, results. Why not publish methods? Even failures? If we want to engage audiences with our work – audiences beyond the academy – then being part of things, being in the middle of things, is the attraction. Process is something many researchers publish, in one way or another, via conference papers (that well-known stalwart of conference bingo is the phrase ‘this is very much a work in progress’), blogs, twitter… We are researchers to learn, as well as to spout the fruits of our learning.

’It’s not easy to see things in the middle, rather than looking down on them from above or up at them from below, or from left to right or right to left; try it, you’ll see that everything changes.’ Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (trans. Massumi, 2004), 25.

If you want to follow a blow-by-blow account of the conference, then the storifies of the twitter tag #IPRA2015 is a good place to start (days 1-3; days 4-6 – with big thanks to Martin Siefkes aka @stilomet for making them). If you want the short version, then below are five postcards, one for each day I was able to attend, tracing the developments, inspirations, musings. They are unedited, they are brought to you from the middle.

Introductory postcard

Introductory postcard

#IPrA2015, 26th July

Monday 27th July

Tuesday 28th July

Tuesday 28th July

Wednesday 29th July

Wednesday 29th July

Thursday 30th July

Thursday 30th July

Friday 31st July

Friday 31st July