It has been radio silence from me around these parts for the better part of a month – a function of how ridiculously busy I have been between organising an event, defending my thesis and shifting my life from York to Denmark! I will be back to my usual posting as of the 1st of October but I thought (now that I finally have 2 hours spare on a train between Sheffield and Norfolk) to quicly write up what I have been up to and portent what you can expect over the next few weeks of blog posts!
So to kick it all off – on the 1st till the 5th of September I was in Glasgow for the EAA conference, at which I spoke about the tensions involved in current publication methods regarding new-media forms (especially those involving interaction and multivariate outcomes). This talk (which I will write up and post as a full blog post) was a somewhat selfish attempt to raise some of the walls I have been running into with getting my current (and past research) published in a way which makes sense to its structure. Overall the event was an incredible (though exhausting) experience – which I was lucky to top off by staying with an incredibly good friend and meeting up with another who travelled all the way from NZ to start his masters.
Following on from this I travelled back down the country, picked up my belongings from York and the next day flew from York to Aarhus to start a year of research at the brilliant department of archaeological and museum studies. Again – another fuller blog post will follow on about this, but in short, I have absolutely fallen in love with the place and all the fantastic research opportunities it has on offer for the next year – not to mention my flatmates have been a huge help in getting me acclimatised to life in Denmark (read this as: acclimatised to the beer drinking culture here).
From Denmark I was very quickly on the move back to the UK to defend my thesis at the 6 monthly “thesis advisory panel” meeting which went exceptionally well – writing this up now I have become aware that I have failed to actually write about how my research is developing since the very first month of my research – as such I will (at some point when I find the time – hah) endeavour to write up my research as it stands now alongside all the things that I have been doing (technical outputs) over the last 8 months. Long story short the usual questions surfaced about whether I was trying to cram 5 PhD’s into one (somthing I will genuinely need to think about over the next few months) but other than that the outlook was incredibly positive – it is such a boost to my confidence to see, after years of being told that it was either not possible or not valuable, to see the implications of research in this area start to be made evident and others get excited about it. Anycase! A PhD write up post will be incoming ASAP!
Directly after the TAP meeting I started working with the fabulous Katrina Foxton and Paul Montgomery to create a movie evening at the historic red-tower on the York walls. The event, which most definitely deserves its own write up in the near future, was a roaring success and really demonstrated how these historic structures can be used in modern contexts for engaging events. A key highlight was when we mashed up Hasslehoff’s “True Survivor” to silent era films of berlin.
The very next morning I was up and waiting at King’s Manor for 6.30am – rushing madly around to get the Heritage Jam organised. The event has been somewhat of a labour of love for me over the last 3 months, and has truly been an eye-opening experience to the amount of time, energy and effort that goes into running events within the heritage sector. I think there is about 3-4 blog posts based on the experience and outcomes of the jam, so I will hold off talking too much about it here! The one thing I will say, however, is that you should in the mean-time go and check out the fabulous entries HERE -as well to check out the discussions happening on twitter HERE. The work submitted this year was of the very highest standard and so many of the entries absolutely floor me with how technically able, artistic and inspired they are! Commenting and liking systems are in place for all the entries so I would also encourage you to have your say on them!
Finally I headed off to Sheffield to give an invited lecture on my research as well as on the role of games in archaeological work-flows. I had planned to do some live-coding but due to technical issues I didn’t quite manage to implement that as much as I had hoped, instead falling back onto a multilinear presentation written with a couple of my macros for twine. I will pop this presentation up online as a blog post soon as part of a wider discussion of the role game technologies can play in disseminating and communicating academic ideas as I have found it a hugely valuable experience coding and creating different ways to present leveraging code systems as the basis for facilitating this.
As I start gearing up to head back to Aarhus and I start to get carried away once again in the new and exciting possibilities ahead I am also reminded of what I will be leaving behind in York – over the course of the last year I have made some incredible friendships and been lucky to work with some of the brightest, most inspired and hardest working people hailing from a huge range of departments. The support and opportunities which the Centre for Digital Heritage, Department of Archaeology, Computer Science Department and most recently the Digital Creativity Hub (and all the brilliant individuals involved in these departments) have been invaluable for shaping and facilitating both my research and personal growth – I truly will miss the culture of cross-disciplinary camaraderie and innovation and I have my fingers crossed that mine and Peter Jensen’s research will help to build bridges to more great cross-disciplinary and international collaboration!
And now that I have exhausted my hour of “free time” on the train it is time for me to catch up with my parents for one night! Looking forward to writing up these September adventures (as well as the many more that I have neglected) into blog posts over the next few months!