I can hardly believe that this time last year we were preoccupied with face masks, hand sanitising, and Covid-19 tests. This summer, Covid-19 seemed very much a distant memory. Instead, we bemoaned the cost of living and alternated between enjoying and cursing the heatwave.
At a more personal level, in July and August we celebrated child 2’s 15th birthday and my parents’ 53rd wedding anniversary, welcomed guests, visited friends and family, and read a lot (for book reviews, check my Instagram).
There were graduation ceremonies, including the one for the newly-minted Dr Al-Atiqi.
At the end of the month, I was interviewed by Fundação Eugénio de Almeida about the impact of doctoral scholarships, as part of a collection of testimonials to celebrate FEA’s 60th anniversary (FEA offered me much valued support, when I was doing my PhD at the LSE).
I also tried something new: a couple of coaching sessions. I found it really helpful in understanding why I was feeling anxious about not getting enough research and writing done in the summer (and specially the handful of weeks between completing the marking and going on holidays with the family) and, then, developing some strategies to tame that anxiety and prioritise what to work on.
The main event, on the research front, this summer was to hold the first focus group discussions, for the project on the role of images in communicating research. It went really well, I think. Others to follow. We are still recruiting academics interested in public engagement and practitioners interested in academic research for additional focus groups. Let me know if you could participate in one of our meetings.
In addition, I am working on a grant proposal related to digital information literacy. Furthermore, my research expertise was mentioned in a report by the House of Lords, while the project on “Traveling in England, post Covid-19” was featured by Brunel University. Oh, and had some really interesting meetings with colleagues about future work on NFTs and Metaverse as they relate to digital fashion; and a promising contact for further work on the mobile shopping project.
On the writing front, it felt that I had not done much (see note above coaching sessions). However, on reflection, it wasn’t such an unproductive period after all. Writing my end of month round-up has really reminded me why journaling (including writing these blog posts) is so helpful for my productivity, and for my mental wellbeing. Journaling is really helpful in terms of keeping me accountable, as well as in terms of allaying unjustified fears that I am not doing enough. If you are on the fence about keeping a professional journal (research or otherwise), give it a try. I write a little bit about the process, here, but always happy to go deeper into the process, if you think it would be helpful. So, what did get ticked off, despite all the marking, the school holidays and the summer break?
- The Food Waste paper was accepted, and is now published. I will write a short blog post, soon.
- I co-authored and submitted a conference paper about the use of NFTs by visual artists in Nigeria, and it was accepted.
- The Gender and Money paper has been submitted, and… desk rejected 😦 The editor felt that it wasn’t a good fit for the journal. Alas, that’s life.
- Got some feedback on our mobile shopping paper; revised it; and submitted the revisions.
- Did some work on the Covid-19 app paper.
- We were approached by Routledge to write a second edition of the book “Management Research – Applying the Principles”. We held an initial meeting to discuss the updates needed; and the publishers sent out some requests for feedback which were really positive.
- Was approached by a colleague at another institution to co-edit a special issue.
- Reviewed a couple of submissions, as Associate Editor, for the Journal of Marketing Management, and reviewed a paper for another journal.
As for teaching, I did two PhD reviews, and read and gave feedback on various PhD thesis and masters dissertation chapters. There was marking. Lots of it. I also helped tutees with appeals and extenuating circumstances’ applications. The main event, though, was that one of my PhD student submitted her thesis, which is a major milestone for her.
As I am moving to a new job at the start of September, I also spent a lot of time wrapping up tasks such as writing annual reports, handing over responsibilities such as ongoing supervisions and marking, and actually clearing my office at Brunel. Conversely, I also spent some time preparing for the new job, as Professor in Digital Business at the University of Sussex. This included discussing which modules I will be teaching next year, and when, as well as getting set up on the university’s IT systems which, I have to say, went remarkably well. I even got my new e-mail address and login credentials well ahead of my actual start date!
How did your summer (or winter, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere) go?