Hands on History

I am exceptionally pleased to announce the publication of Hands on Media History, a book which contains a chapter about some of my earlier work and the wider world of rephotography. It is genuinely exciting.

Challenge Yourself

The majority of work on this chapter took place in Autumn 2017 while I was on research leave in Portland, OR. During that term of leave, I set 3 goals for myself to help get my research back on track after years of disruption by illness and traumatic grief. I decided I would challenge myself that Autumn to do 3 things that took me out of my comfort zone.

  • Write a proposal for an article or a book chapter.
  • Write a draft of a grant application for creative & critical practice.
  • Make & exhibit a new project with Palmarin Merges.

In that period of leave I managed to pitch a book chapter idea and get it accepted for publication (so I only had to then write it!). I also wrote a grant application (and submitted it and it was successful!). The work with Palmaring was exhibited as well. I’ll try to say more about those in future posts.

A Dyslexic in the Library

Readers who know me will know that I’ve struggled with dyslexia my whole life (though was only diagnosed in my early thirties when I took up my academic post in the UK). I found it reassuring that many of the tactics I’d discovered and developed over the years to help me concentrate on and manage large amounts of reading and writing were similar to those we recommend for our own dyslexic students.

I have always found academic writing to be exceptionally challenging. Like many academics I know, I too experience regular bouts of imposter syndrome. I am also fairly certain that my writing is not very good because it lacks the finesse of my former colleagues like the poetry of Caroline Bassett and the humour of Andy Medhurst. In some ways, it is the preponderance of excellent writing that has alway made me slightly fear libraries (or at least feel like they were no place for the likes of me).

Despite these challenges, I spent weeks one Autumn visiting various university, city and community libraries to find quiet and bright spaces in which to write. Exotic places like Beaverton, the PNCA and downtown Portland afforded me space to work.

I am thankful to colleagues whose own work inspired me to keep trying to write. I am also ever so slightly proud of the fact that my chapter was written by me, a dyslexic in a library.