September had a sense of transition. There is a new monarch and a new PM. I have a new job. Child 1’s graduation signalled the end of education for her (for now, at least). And so on, and so forth.
At a personal level, September was a good month for me. In addition to having a lovely farewell party at Brunel, feeling welcome at Sussex, catching up with friends, and joining child 1’s graduation, I was at the receiving end of some lovely friendship gestures. Let me tell you about one such gesture. My father has been helping a researcher (RC) who is investigating the life of a major benefactor (VMEdA) my father was close to. My father has granted RC many hours of in-depth interview about the benefactor’s life and work. As part of a week of celebrations to mark the benefactor’s legacy, RC organised a public talk with my father (in Portugal). Without my parents’ knowledge, RC organised for me to watch the talk via Skype, and then, join in at the end. Predictably my parents were delighted to see me “show up” at the end. Less predictably, I was completely delighted to see my father talk enthusiastically about events in his life (as it crossed with the benefactor’s life) and hold the audience’s interest for much longer than the allotted time (as judged by the number of interested and very good questions at the end. My heart was completely full, at the end of that night, for RC’s friendship gesture and for being able to share this moment with my parents.
But, crikey, things are tough out there, in the big wide world. Putin. Ukraine. Nationalism in Europe. The Chancellor’s mini-statement. The currency crash. The rising price of gas, fuel and electricity. Hurricane Ian. The floods in Pakistan. Iran. And many, many other political, economic, and environmental “disasters” and threats. At times, I very much share Mark Carrigan’s difficulty in staying positive and focused on producing good work, while the world is seemingly collapsing around us. On those occasions when I am struggling to see the glass half full, it’s good to remember that we are not the first generation to face existential threats. Cal Newport talked about the need to look past the chaos around us, in episode 214 of his podcast, from 1:09:31 onwards.
So, what did I get up to this month (other than starting the new job)?
On the research front, I presented the NFT work at the 19th International Colloquium on Arts, Heritage, Nonprofit and Social Marketing, in Brookes. The presentation went well. The questions from the audient were really helpful in terms of thinking how to position the work. And it was lovely to catch up with some lovely women in my life. The NFT work stalled a bit, due to some factors beyond the team’s control. However, the digital literacy project is gathering speed. We have agreed on the work packages and secured interest from a key institutional partner. Now, we just need the funding!
Writing stalled a bit, too. With all the start of term upheaval, I found it hard to focus on the conceptual paper that I am developing at the moment, at the moment. We also didn’t make much progress on improving the Gender and Money paper though we did seem to have fund a suitable new place to submit it to. I also reached out to an academic in Hungary about potentially co-authoring paper about business intelligence systems, and she seems interested (though, it needs to wait for other projects to be completed). And, on a more exciting note, Susan Rose, Nigel Spinks and I got the green light from Routlege to start working on the second edition of our research methods book.
Teaching really was the aspect of my work that dominated my attention, this month. I spent lots (and lots and lots) of time finding my way around Canvas (the virtual learning environment for Sussex), and setting up my new module. I also delivered a couple of sessions, which went really well. My colleague asked me to produce a welcome video to the masters students (who I will be teaching next term, not this one). Another key event this month was the mock viva for my remaining doctoral student from Brunel.
We are entering the last quarter of 2022. Can you believe that there are, now, less than 100 days until the end of the year, and 12 weeks until Christmas?