Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm cheating on my blog with two other blogs.

I do love a side project. Maybe it's a hangover from my days working in advertising where I would often work for several clients at the same time. Or perhaps it's simply the product of an overactive imagination (or the inadvertent outcome of a short attention span). Whatever the reason, working several projects at the same time seems to help keep me feeling inspired, engaged and productive. An unfortunate side effect of this intellectual promiscuity has been the neglect of historypunk, a shortcoming I am determined to rectify with a series of new posts. And in the meantime? Here's what I've been doing over the past few months...

The Digital Antipodes

In September 2012, I co-founded the Digital Antipodes, an interdisciplinary Digital Humanities reading group at UWA, with my colleague James Smith. Since this time we've built a small but enthusiastic network of digital humanists and had some fascinating conversations. Professionally, it's been a great way for me to structure learning about digital humanities outside of my PhD thesis (which is not a dedicated DH project). I hope to blog about the process of building this network soon to assist others who may like to launch a similar group.

Exhibit A: The Digital Antipodes.

The History Diaries

I've also been teaching WA History and Heritage alongside Prof. Andrea Gaynor which I have been enjoying immensely. We recently launched an online platform where our students can express their ideas and analysis during the semester. They're working in four publishing teams to contribute to a class blog -  The History Diaries. This curriculum development project is an adaptation of a previous assessment which required individual students to hand in a 'Diary' at the end of the semester containing their reflections on heritage site visits. So many great ideas. We wanted to share them. We're encouraging our students to become critical thinkers and the aim of the project is to 'make thinking visible'. Students are not only required to blog, but to read and comment on each other's work. It's a way to extend thinking and learning outside of the classroom and engage our wider community. And once we're done, the blog will become a permanent archive of class conversations. My pedagogical approach benefited greatly from reading about the experiences of others who have attempted similar projects and I hope to contribute to this conversation soon with a blog post outlining the mechanics of the assessment in more detail.

Exhibit B: Our class blog,  The History Diaries

Of course, my day job is still my PhD thesis. At the beginning of the year I spent six weeks in Canberra conducting archival research at the National Archives of Australia and am currently writing my second chapter.  It's looking to be an action packed year!

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