Lopsided Week

Well, after the bank holiday Monday and with my forthcoming conference trip I’ve ended up writing this one a Monday rather than a Friday.  This may be the single most thrilling fact encapsulated in the blog this week.  Which tells you just what level of hi-jinks* I got up to…

Conference Preparation

Wrote my talk for Austria.  Stressed over it.  Rewrote it.  Rehearsed it.  Cut it down a bit.  Then a bit more.  Then more or less got it under 15 minutes.  Wrote the outline of my talk for the Leicester media conference the following week, as once I’m back in the country I’ll only have 3 days…and I suspect I might be a bit conference-lagged (and having missed the weekend by working through it, just a bit lagged).  Think I’ll worry about writing my Manchester (end of the month) workshop once I’m back.

Most thrilling thing I’ve done is change hotels at the last minute, after I saw how hot Austria’s going to be.  Now my hotel has a/c…but is about a mile from the conference.  Ah well, a bit of walking will be good!

Annual Review

As is traditional on Wednesday I got the notification that in 15 days (Thur 11th June) the annual PhD review documents are due.  In order to do this I need to write a 2,000 word report, fill in a form…oh yes, and have a meeting with my supervisors, internal examiner, get them to write a report and then sign all the documents in triplicate (okay, perhaps not quite triplicate but close).  Thanks Graduate Office!  I did mail them to suggest the chance of getting my supervisory team all in a room at such short notice (and with myself and m y supervisor being out of the country for most of this time) was “somewhere between slim and laughable”

Apparently this amused them so much…they explained that the rules are very strict, but I might get an extension if I write to them in blood**.  So had to stop my research preparation, and write the report, plan out my next year’s activities and get my team to read it.  As it is they’re really happy with my progress, but I’m having my review meeting the day after I fly back into the country.  Not much of a lie in then.  So I’ve also written a presentation on my progress over the last year.  Sheesh.  Fingers crossed I can get this done in time!

Amusingly a survey from the AHRC landed in my in-box this week asking about the whole PGR experience…I spent quite a while filling that in, with various comments about dealing with the Central Bureaucracy!

Actor and Academic Interviews

So after writing my long document with my plan of action, my supervisors both sent it through more or less on the nod.  I’ll take that as a mark of confidence in me.  I’ll do an additional post when I’m back in the UK about whom I want to talk to (publishers, funders, academics, learned societies in short), in case any of them pass this way and are willing to talk to me briefly…

Face to Face To Facebook

In the run up to the exam I was still answering emails from concerned students on the morning of the exam!  Again, sheesh.  Hope they’ve all done well – one’s already asked me when the marks are out.  Well, put it this way – if I’m marking any (which I assume I am)…it’ll be after I’m back in the UK!

Anyway, let’s end on some light relief this time – critical analysis of TV shows first (click on image for the original site):

As a media academic, amused me no end.


Also, Mrs Llama alerted me to this interesting article on the BBC: Why do people waste so much time at the office?  I ended up writing her a very ranty email in reply…reproduced here for interest:

This is perfectly in line with Hardt & Neary’s construction of the “social factory”; wherein work spills beyond the workplace to subsume the entirety of existence (within a capitalist society). Thus working hours beyond your pay, work/life balance being pretty much blurred. And if we consider the “IT revolution” of the 80s would free us all to work 3 day weeks, the truth of the matter is it has actually been embraced not to free the labourer from the monotony of work, but to extract/exploit yet further productively useful labour time from them.

And yes, there’s the commuting issue…why do we all jump into a car and drive to a central point when so many jobs in the knowledge economy can be conducted away from a “factory”?

I’d argue this article is perhaps a little flawed in that it perpetuates the mythologisation of the “post-work future”. But I think what it does do at least (in a basic, dumbed down for the BBC readership kinda way) is indicate those flaws in the capitalist society where we have neoliberal government predicated on an ideology of wealth creation, while increasingly the multitude are surplus to productive (and waged) use. Little wonder we’re likely to see more movements like #Occupy I would suspect over the next decade as it becomes less an issue of the “unemployable and unskilled young” and branches out into the professional sector.

As you can see, the emails between me and the Wife are just scintillating reading…I’m sure the NSA loves them!

*The answer is, none
** I may be exaggerating.  I may not.


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