hand and coloured powder

slow research in the fast lane

I’ve been posting less regularly recently, the result of a busy gword tour schedule coinciding with fevered preparations for the month-long xCHANGE festival marking International Women’s Day 2019 at Birmingham City University (of which more in my next post).

So far this month, I’ve performed the research poetry sequence Glass, in front of – or rather, amidst, 90 students at the BCU School of Jewellery and 20 staff members at the University of Birmingham.  I’ve discussed my research paper The Workplace Glassed and Gendered with 12 female staff on the Catalyst Development Programme at the Diamond Light Source research institute.  I’ve delivered the Mapping Career Workshop to 15 staff at the University of Westminster and another 12 at the University of East London – generating tantalising new ways of describing the lived experience of ‘career’. 

Each time I present and re-present my research in these different formats, I have the opportunity to revisit, to reconsider, to move beyond my initial analyses.  This is a privilege; an unexpected opportunity, to see the data through other eyes, to ask different questions of it.  Academics on the REF-treadmill are generally encouraged to capture their ‘findings’, present them and defend them,  then move on.  But through the tour (November 2018 – June 2019) I’m not only disseminating my research widely (22 stops in total), I’m also engaging in a slower, less linear, more cyclical version of research. It’s an opportunity, as proposed by MacLure to ‘risk working with the lively disappointments of wonder, and for a while at least, play with the cabinet of curiosities as a figure for analysis and representation’ (MacLure, 2006: 737).

MacLure, M. (2006b). The bone in the throat: Some uncertain thoughts on baroque method. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 19(6), 729-745.

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