Goal achievement unlocked

You might remember these lofty goals, posted in January.

2015 Academic goals:

  1. To be published (or accepted for publication) in one academic journal
  2. To present at a conference, or PhD workshop as part of conference (AIMAC application currently outstanding)
  3. To successfully deliver new ‘Cultural and Creative Leadership’ course at UNSW Art & Design (Semester 2)
  4. To publish one piece in non-academic platform, such as The Conversation

As of today I am well underway in achieving a few of them.  I’ve tried really hard this semester to work on my writing, not just the quality of it (which sure needs work) but also my confidence to put it out into the world for real discussion – not just hiding away on this blog site.  For me is a little terrifying to say “I know this, I have an opinion on it, you should read it.”

This week I published two pieces that I’m actually pretty proud of.  First, a short, anecdotal piece about the impact of language on PhD students appeared on Nick Hopwood’s academic blog here, and second, an opinion on cultural leadership in the wake of the 2015-6 budget on The Conversation.   Big tick for goal number four there.

In other goals, I’m redrafting my first real submission to an academic journal at the moment and it WILL get published somewhere/somehow, and I’m hoping my leadership course at UNSW is set to go (meeting about that today, so here’s hoping there aren’t any surprises.)

And I’m off to France in 6 weeks for AIMAC 2015 to be part of the PhD workshop.  So without jinxing it, 2015 is travelling along pretty well!

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Oh hai….

So I’ve fallen off the radar, again.  The cause has been two fold. Firstly, I have some ‘blog drama’ with my personal blog being cited in inappropriate ways, and then the address was published online in a news article without my permission. Long story.  So I’ve been less inclined to blog (and made my other site private.)

Secondly I fell down a rabbit hole PhD wise.  For a while I was trying to do too much and not doing anything well.  If I look at the tasks I was hoping to achieve in February I didn’t really get anywhere on any of them, but I dabbled in each.  I realised I had to focus on one thing and do it well.

I did review my Cultural Policy class, and I am in week 5 of delivery.  Content wise it is fine, but I’ve been crippled by a bad room and session time, leaving me with only about 9 students.  It’s been demoralising to say the least. I’m doing my best to make those 9 have the most fabulous semester, but it’s a struggle.  It also makes my ability to invite guest lectures a challenge, as who wants to take time out of their job to speak to 9 students when Uni of Sydney have over 100 in their class? It has made me question whether it is my ability too.  Knowing I’m launching a brand new subject in second semester, when I haven’t really got my head around it, is worrying me a lot. But enough of that.

PhD wise headed to Adelaide in March and interviewed five people from the theatre world. It was the best trip ever. I could not have planned it better.  The content is golden. I have about 20,000 words of pure unadulterated magic.  So I have decided to focus my proposed journal article solely on this group and their relationship to career development.  I had to throw out some of what I’d done in the past, but I think it will be worth it.

Transcribing has been done and I’ve pulled together four themes – Relationship to formal education, peer learning and communities of practice, organisational development and the structural nature of theatre.  I’m really hoping that a) this will become a publishable article and b) it offers some learnings for those in the industry.  And I hope that this may become a case study chapter in my PhD itself.

Interview wise I have done just over 20, and have another 2 scheduled and about 8 people I’m waiting on.  My biggest frustration is still getting people to agree, and confirm times. And I have one primary candidate who was a great subject, but hasn’t given me any secondary people to speak to.  So without that her data will become unusable, which would be a great shame.  Once I hit 35 or 40 I’m going to break for a while to catch up on transcription and research, returning in July to see what gaps I need to fill in.  70 is still the target.

I can’t believe it is Easter already.  It’s concerning how fast this year is going.

Ticking boxes

Half way through week 2 and how am I going?  Checking in on my goal completion.

By the end of last week I was to:

  • Get organised for the year: clean desk, order new equipment (mouse, printer cartridges, new iPad – all things that I need and have avoided doing.)

Big tick. And can’t believe I put off getting a new iPad for so long….I feel like I don’t need glasses any more, the screen is so clear!

  • Update my interview schedule project plan for 2015

Big tick. Not contacting people for another week yet, summer in Sydney, but the plans are there.

  • Begin transcribing my outstanding interviews – finish by end of the month

Tick, three done, four to go.

  • Get back into reading, and importantly, note taking.

Read one book, not really notes, more a flurry of post-its.  Probably not as good as it should be. A good book though, will definitely help both my thesis and my teaching.

  • Lay out the thematic areas I need to review this semester

I’m kicking off with a focus on the creative industries – what are they, why am I focussing on them, why are they important and what are the HR/people issues involved with them. I’d like to write a draft of this chapter in the next 6 weeks.

Also need to think about actor network theory….

So not a bad start to the year. This week has been highjacked a little by the Golden Globes (v.important, don’t knock) and a unexpected trip to Melbourne for family reasons, but back on track as of…..now.

Organisation or paralysis

I’ve stepped away from feminist readings and writing.   I got to 1400 words before my brain gave up, and I haven’t sent it to S1 or 2 as I don’t think it is worthy.  That said, it will form the basis of section of feminist theory, so it ain’t all bad.

I’m taking a break from reading for a few days, to start organising my notes into sections within excel.  After only about 2 hours I have a satisfying list.  I like lists.  It gives me the ability to visually identify key themes, and how may articles I have attached to those themes.  Allowing me to quickly view where my reading is weak.  I’ve decided to do this for a week, then plug in the gaps next week, and then spend the two final weeks in April re-writing my section on leadership theory.

It does make for a challenge writing wise, given my aim of still trying to write 500+ a day (as practice.)  As I get into re-writing territory I don’t really want to add things here for the sake of posting.  Don’t forget I have another personal blog I write on 3 times a week or so.

So if I seem to be AWOL for a week or two, don’t think I’ve abandoned my (blog) post.  I am plugging away.  In fact I have a full four days at home with nothing by PhD work ahead of me, so I expect this to be a productive week.