And back to the grindstone with a bit of a shock, as I had to drive Mrs Llama to a job interview first thing. This would have been easy enough as it was relatively local, but thanks to the heavy rain and subsequent flooding we’ve experienced in the last few days most of the roads out of our village are underwater, shut or log-jammed with traffic. Turned a 15 minute drive into close to an hour – but she made it there okay. Thence back here to pick over what I need to get on with. I sense today will be all about rediscovering what I was doing, along with finding all the papers and so on that I was working with before Christmas. They’ve got slightly buried during the festive season, so I need to get everything back into order so I can start work properly. Tidying my two desks might be a good first thing.
Likely to be a fairly busy week as my Wednesday is pretty much blocked out with lectures and meetings, and then teaching prep and teaching for Thursday; but I’m hopeful by the end of the week that I’ll be at a point of full steam ahead for the new year. Which is just as well as I’ve got a lot of work to do over the next 12 months.
Spent the day chugging through another book on social theory as I continue to try and develop my appreciation for the philosophy and thought in this area. It’s not a thrilling topic to blog about, and like all these kinds of books goes from the very accessible to the head-scratchingly baffling in a matter of pages, but I can feel some of it going in.
In to campus early today to run off some print outs, and then attend the first lecture in the communications module of the term, which this week was looking at the print revolution from 8th Century wooden block printing to Gutenberg in the 15th Century; and thence the subsequent societal and cultural impact. Found this lecture a little less information dense than some of the others in the series, and I confess the topic didn’t quite grab me as much as some of the others. Did enjoy watching some of Stephen Fry’s The Machine that Made Us though as part of this session.
After this I had to drive to City campus to attend the University Research Degrees Committee (URDC) in my position as Arts and Humanities research student rep. Interesting to hear plans to bring about small conference funding for all students (looking at being £300-400 out of pocket for the two day OER 2014 conference in Newcastle in April as I have no dept funding to cover attendance. That’s close to half of my month’s income, and probably the only conference I’ll be able to afford to attend this year. Wish they offered student discount! Might have to see if there’s someone’s sofa I can crash on rather than forking out for a hotel to try and rein costs in.
The other very interesting bit came at the end when I presented my hastily prepared proposal for a graduate careers exchange day. Was delighted to see it warmly received by the meeting, and especially the Dean of the Graduate School who was taking the following day to his meeting with the Senior University Management. Quite chuffed that effectively I’ve brought something across the VC’s desk now, and hopefully it’ll be something of benefit to a wide range of the PGR students at NTU. Think I’ve earned my rep status!
Experiencing the joy today that comes with having MS Office on the home PC finally, thanks to a new deal from NTU that makes it available for free for students. Saves me time sitting in a PC classroom with hundreds of hackingly infectious undergrads surrounding me. Also, I get to drink tea while working which makes it much nicer. Today’s seminar I prepared was about comparing old and modern newspapers as cultural artifacts from the times and societies they come from, drawing a little on the work of Innes and McLuhan. It was a fun topic, and the students as usual managed to dig a little way into the idea though perhaps not quite as far as I might have liked. All the same, I’m hoping that I managed to provide them with enough to go away and chew over in their own time on the topic.
Followed this up with a meeting with my supervisor, where in between discussing the Wire and Christmas we looked at the analysis I want to do on my interviews. Much clearer idea of the approach now, which is a little lighter in method than I was developing which means it might take a little less than a month to do. Although I could be wrong. Either way, I’ll jump into this full speed on Monday. Met up with Kornelia for our usual post-seminar discussion after this and then came home to sort out a few minor and not especially exciting admin things.
Back to a bit more background reading today, before cracking into analysis mode on Monday. Yes, it is another thrill a minute day!