Wednesday, 16 July 2014

another conference!

I had the great fortune to meet Licia Calvi at CHI in Paris last year. We've been looking for a way to work together ever since, and thanks to her initiative and persistence, we've found one.

We'll be presenting together at the DRHA conference this year. It's a great joint effort - we're analysing approaches to engagement in museum spaces, looking at how different types of performative interactions with digital technology can create a sense of place.

So if you're at DRHA this year, held at the University of Greenwich between 31 August and 3 September, come by and say hi!

And if you have invented a time machine that will give me the extra hours to do this presentation justice while writing up the last three chapters of my thesis in six weeks, punctuated by working for RE-DrAW... and fantasising about the kick-butt CHI paper I still want to write... and going away on a long-planned holiday right when all these things will be coming to a head in September... please let me know...

a research post!

Then I got another offer that was too good to refuse: the chance to apply for a part-time research post working with my ever-stupendous supervisor, David Frohlich. Here's my LinkedIn update:

I am a part-time Research Fellow for RE-DrAW, Research and Development for the Digital Arts in Wales. RE-DrAW is an academic consortium, led by Professor Hamish Fyfe at the University of South Wales, which supports the work of the Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts in Wales.

With Professor David Frohlich, I am helping to mentor a project helping visually impaired people access theatre and arts spaces. The technology is being developed by a partnership between UCAN Productions, a Cardiff-based organisation supporting visually impaired young people in the creative arts, and Calvium, an app development company based in Bristol, England.

A good time is being had by all! The folks at UCAN and Calvium are brilliant to work with, and I'm getting to do user research on - gasp - a different project from my own PhD! You can see what we've been up to at their blog. I must stress that this is not my project - I'm just mentoring them so that their (brilliant) work is publishable in an academic context. But it's a fantastic project to be involved with.

And it gives me something to do with all my free time, HA! Did I mention I'm trying to finish my entire thesis by the end of August? Which brings me to my next topic...


I might have planned to work only on my thesis, but that doesn't include previous commitments to other projects - like Recalibrate! It went off without a hitch on 5 June 2014 at ARC in Stockton-on-Tees. What an amazing experience!

ARC very kindly let us use the studio space for the entire work week leading up to the Thursday evening performance. Claire and I had a fantastic time getting a feel for how the performance would come together in the actual space, with all our projections working for real (and not just in our imaginations). We pared the piece down still further, and I got the privilege of being the first to see Margaret's Anatomy in full. (This is the short one-woman show that Claire wrote as a companion to Recalibrate.) We did the two as a double bill.

We had an appreciative and very respectable audience - in terms of size, if nothing else - and even got some press coverage. We'll be doing it again at the Ivy Centre, University of Surrey, on 17 December 2014. So put it in your diary, snag some tickets, and come see us! If you're Up North, we're hoping to do at least one performance in Newcastle, as well. Wander over to Facebook if you want to see photos and links.

back in the whirlwind

If I really wanted to earn my digital stripes, I would figure out how to back-date blog posts and make it look like I have my act together enough to make regular updates. Last I said anything, it was the middle of winter and I was on medical leave. Well, I came off of medical leave on schedule - April 1 - and since then have been struggling to find the time to say anything sensible about what I've been up to. So I'll divide things up as if I'd been posting in a sensible order, at sensible intervals, all along.

As of April 1, 2014, my only academic goal was to finish my thesis. I'd already been derailed by a few months by my insane conference schedule in 2013, and then I got derailed by a few more months. The clear path forward was to take a machete to my life and, well, create a clear path forward. No conferences, no papers, no exciting side projects. Just me and my thesis, and for the first time in years, a commitment to taking off at least one day per weekend, if not both days. Gasp! Yes, it's true, I'm trying to combine writing a thesis in record time with having a life.

I'll wait a while until you stop laughing.

Then I'll wait for you to say, 'Yeah, right, she's going to turn into a monk and do nothing but write her thesis. I'll believe that when I see it.'

Then I'll wait for you to feel smugly amused, because you know you're right...