Daffodils in time, daffodils not mine.
Feeling heavy and bloated, big and small.
Can’t breathe so I reach for my red polo neck jumper. It’s cold for March.
Bought some shoes feeling the blues, but I still feel the same –
disrupted narratives continue to bother me.
Analyses pound my head as I look outside at the family tree.
Draft three gone and I’m still looking at the tree.
Connective branches rooted at the base,
So beautifully structured, I still try to see her face.
I see no closure; I’m still not free.
I’m thinking about her, is she praying for me?
‘Crack on poor dear,’ I hear myself say.
Draw from the base, no time for retreat.
Get back in the race.
‘You better crack on my dear for there is no other way.’
I hear her say.
Daffodils in time, daffodils not mine.
Meet me in the yellow field one more time and show me the way.
A few nights ago I watched 20,000 Days On Earth (a wonderfully creative and beautiful documentary on the life of Nick Cave) and think I might integrate some quotes into my thesis as there were a few key moments in his narrative that I can draw parallels with regarding my own experiences of doing a doctorate. A brilliant and inspiring title that also made me reflect on the concept of time in a more considered way (something I have been avoiding for quite some months now) involving the need to schedule workload (words according to distance) more methodically to engender a sense of discipline whilst en route to completion.
Lets do the Maths:
70,000 divided by 253 = 277 (x7) = 1937 x 36.
I presented my research findings so far at my first international conference at this year’s Media Education Summit 2016 and what an amazing place to do it – Rome.
All roads lead to Rome, mine certainly did. I’ve visited before over a decade ago now but it felt different, I felt older and appreciated its beauty, vibe and energy more compared to then. So many people talking, hanging out and relaxing as life evolves around them. Local kids were creating snapchat films late at night in the Ghetto area as we watched on. What’s gone wrong with our culture? The pictures aren’t great, I just didn’t have time to think about their composition and I didn’t care. I still enjoyed showing off my Spanish skills whenever I could whilst haggling in the late night markets – my good old comprehensive teacher still serving me well, nod to Mr Brooks.
Our Lady overlooking all living and breathing smokers in the John Cabot campus made me laugh, the furniture was exquisite, food outstanding, fashion as confident as always, the streets very cool without trying and Yoko Akama’s keynote in many ways signalling the way forward regarding how I see the future of education praxis…
uncertainty for disruption
“strategies to disrupt our own certainties,
interrogate social norms/ habits
‘breakdowns’ as generative
demands reflexive, open and candidness”
uncertainty is at the centre of our inquiry
“feel our way forward toward unknown
question knowledge in disciplines
explore this together with people”
At this moment in contemporary academic history, the theme of disruption resonates with me because my own action research cycles were about disrupting what we do in ‘subject media’ by dismantling and then articulating the transferable skills elements. It is also about disrupting the agenda and curriculum in many ways which wrongly (in my mind) sustain a dominant focus on Maths, English and IT and discount (data/ statistics/ assessment/ Ofsted remit) the important employability stuff that our students need to be conscious of and confident conversing about.
Interestingly the theme of ‘disruption’ also ties in with disrupted Journal of Media Practice peer review online experiment I have been part of over the summer months: http://journal.disruptivemedia.org.uk. The experiment seeks to internationally unify diverse researchers/ practitioners by exploring/ sharing how we might challenge the traditions of academic norms and communicate our findings whilst questioning and celebrating newly emerging pathways to knowledge generation. Janneke and her team are bravely and rightly dealing with such issues at Coventry University.
In an age of uncertainty (on multiple levels – political, technical, economic, educational etc.), the challenge is to remain certain in the paradoxical situatedness that our knowledge lacks certainty and in fact our role is to disrupt taken for granted assumptions on not only how we validate research but what counts as research. Some people will not agree or might think the process of questioning knowledge in this way does not bear any weight or credibility but my simple response is why not? There needs to be a justification for the counter argument as to why our starting point should not be ‘uncertainty.’
In fact I am beginning to think myself, should the validation of research degrees be a collaborative process that actually engages the participants themselves and/ or non-academic panel members? Just because the current system continues to represent the traditions of the way things are done, this doesn’t mean that they are necessarily the way things should be done in the future.
Where have you been? What with personal/ family commitments combined with a sea- change of institutional restructuring at work, life has not so far allowed me any time to either reflect or realign my thought processes regarding my educational doctorate research.
Therefore, ‘Hello world, I return to you again,’ as I often feel no-one in my real-life context is listening or interested in listening. I am grateful for this platform to voice my thoughts, even if my methodological position has veered away from autoethnography my soul remains reflexive. Therefore although I have been somewhat absent over the last month or so, I have consolidated my framework, which is positive.
The data is waiting in digital files, waiting for me to reveal, analyse and write-up its’ contents. Why I am delaying this inevitable encounter, I don’t know for sure but trying to manage what seems like equal weightage regarding assigned ‘priorities’ at the moment might just have something to do with it.
I am going to London next week to talk about a forthcoming publication, entitled ‘Doing Text’ (Auteur) for which I have written a chapter entitled, ‘Making Text.’ In many ways the chapter is a re-imagining of what our pedagogic practices might look like without the associated boundaries and rules of curriculum, extending to ‘the subject’ itself for that matter.
My chapter is about hope and it is about not losing hope. In the same way my doctorate project is about instilling hope regarding media students’ readiness for employability. Sustaining hope is a key narrative I fully recognise now and a narrative I must not lose sight of.
The last few years have been a real test of patience and indeed a test of my own sense of hope as I try to survive and remain peaceful within conflicting agendas and tension-filled interactions.
Being a mum is tough, being a working mum is really tough. And being a working mum as well as attempting to establish and build a credible academic portfolio has, at times, proved excruciatingly (quite literally) tough. Now you might see why ‘hope’ as thing, is part of the assembly of my being at the moment.
HOPE – It is elusive and although I cannot draw a picture or take a photograph of it, I continue to hold onto it with all my might as I promise myself… I will prepare meals that don’t involve the freezer or a sprig of broccoli on the side (to make me feel better about being a good mum).
Taking about hope, it has been really interesting to contribute and be involved in, ‘The disrupted Journal of Media Practice’ online experiment: http://journal.disruptivemedia.org.uk with Janneke Adema and her team at Coventry University over the summer months. Engaging in this process has helped me feel connected to other scholars from across the world and it was an uplifting experience for me to read guest editor thoughts on my work so far. Their various acknowledgement(s) and support have given me hope to continue with the madness of this very personal academic journey. I am grateful for the editorial panels decision to accept my involvement in the project and for their interest and subsequent guidance from the onset. I see the online community that has evolved as a result of the experiment as something that might continue to develop in unexpected ways.
Great to attend the Troubling… Conference (7.7.16) hosted by Newman University Birmingham last week, met some interesting and interested people which is always good when researching anything/ at any level. Feel my confidence has increased and beginning to believe in my abilities as a researcher as time passes.
I conducted my first workshop on the problematics/ possibilities of integrating PAR with AE and took a research referendum at the end to consolidate general feeling of those who attended.
Research referendum: 13 in favour of a hybrid methodology, 3 against. In many ways I know the findings are neither scientifically conclusive nor were they an intended part of my methodology, however, the feedback received from attendees (generally) has given me motivation and I left the conference with a greater sense of community support and hope – something I am very grateful for. I am pleased I presented a convincing case, just not so convinced regarding how to frame my position in my final thesis and viva still… But this is okay because I know I will get there and it felt good to initiate conversations about blogging-as-method-as-enquiry-as-writing-as-AE.
Action based on findings: I have decided to transcribe and ‘write-up’ my data analysis first (and see how much of my own biography is involved/ the ‘writing in of oneself’ or ‘self-implication) and plan to readdress the issue in a couple of months. Maybe by then (post data analysis) I might have some other responses via the DisruptedJournal online paper currently in motion to help finalise how I shape things moving forward.
I regret that I didn’t interrogate the three attendees who voted against just to ascertain their reasons but time became an issue as other colleagues were waiting to present their research and I lost this opportunity. I did however talk about the DisruptedJournal experiment so hopefully the conversation can continue digitally…