Thank you to everyone who helped my crowdfunding campaign succeed! I’m now in the process of organising and sending out rewards for those who selected them. For those who didn’t select a reward and for those who helped in other ways, spreading the word, helping me make a new video or giving me a boost of moral support when I needed it, I hope my thanks is enough! Crowdfunding is about community – I am so grateful for the web of kind and passionate people who share my life.
This is my last week in Melbourne before I fly back to Geneva for the rest of the year, which is a busy week.
Monday to Wednesday I’m hosting Open Knowledge Australia open development drop-in sessions; you can also participate online: https://pad.okfn.org/p/opendevaus .
Wednesday night I’m telling a story about Rachel Carson at The Laborastory.
Finally this Friday the 17th of October, I’m co-hosting The Privacy Workshop. I’m honoured to be part of a fantastic team of innovative and passionate people driving discussions Australia needs to have. This is a forum created by people living and working in technology about Australian human rights in this digital era. If you have the opportunity to participate in person, I look forward to seeing you there – it’s going to be an invaluable experience.
Following an intense 3 months in Geneva I’m flying back to Melbourne this weekend to present my first-ever Melbourne show, Delusions of Slander, in the Melbourne Fringe Festival next week. I’m also doing a bunch of other things while I’m back for three weeks, but at this stage Melbourne Fringe Festival is occupying most of my attention.
I’m running my first-ever crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs of the show. I’m running it through Pozible, because I’ve been involved Pozible as a supporter from their earlier days when we coworked in Hub Melbourne at the same time. I’ve supported 25 projects on the crowdfunding platform before creating my own. I’ve been a supporter of many projects that reached success and shared in the joy of creators when they reached their goals. I’ve also supported some projects that didn’t make it over the line, or cancelled their campaign before the end.
So I knew it was going to be stressful, but of course knowing this doesn’t stop it from being so. I know I’m in the awkward middle bit where people considering supporting see there’s still some days left to pledge, so why not wait until the end when it’s all the more exciting? I did that for the first few campaigns I supported, then when I got to know people running campaigns, I realized it’s so much more valuable to people in the early stages. It’s so valuable to give someone a little boost of confidence and hope during an uncertain lull.
If you’d like to give me that little boost now, I would be so grateful!
One of the beautiful things about crowdfunding is feeling a sense of connection with people that I haven’t seen perhaps in a long time, but who decide to support my campaign. People from different parts of my life have pledged support – people I haven’t seen in person since high school, people I’ve worked with in the past, peers in science communication. These people emerge from the forest of my network into my conscious awareness, like trees. The kind of trees that make my network like an old-growth forest and not a plantation.
I don’t know how to thank these people, beyond rewards – and some haven’t chosen a reward at all. So I’m trusting that they will experience the fulfilling emotion of shared joy if I reach my goal. That’s what motivates me to support other people’s campaigns, so it makes sense that it motivates others to support mine. Experiencing that feeling of connection from the creator side of the project has an intensity I’ve not experienced before.
Where does time go? Suddently I’ve finished my time as a Visiting Scholar in Melbourne Law School and started a contract with UNITAR-UNOSAT, based in CERN in Geneva, focused on geotagx.org & citizencyberlab.eu.
Over the weekend I participated in the CERN webfest as a mentor, workshop presenter and team member. It was an intense hackathon but worthwhile – evidenced in our team winning the ‘best design project’ prize.
[Photo by James Doherty]
Working within CERN and the UN is invaluable experience. I’ve been impressed by CERN’s great computer security training. I’ve done a UN course on Psychological First Aid, based on WHO guidelines with inspiring participants from across the UN system.
I’m learning so much and meeting so many talented and inspiring people.
I feel incredibly lucky to be living in Melbourne right now – the weather’s suspiciously stunning, I can walk from where I’m living to my office and I can indulge in the entire Melbourne International Comedy Festival season.
I’m in a writing groove, averaging about 1000 words a day. This would have seemed challenging at the start of my PhD, but now that I’ve reached the other side of the gaping canyon that is the middle of a PhD, I can look into the chasm and use it as inspiration, rather than feeling paralyzed with vertigo. Now I’ve plenty to say and unlike at the start of my research, I can draw on others’ work to back it up.
I’m also feeling like less of an impostor as a Visiting Scholar at Melbourne Law School, after being a guest speaker in Global Governance, participating in a day-long intensive about governance of REDD+, drawing on my recent experiences living in Asia. I was able to raise awareness of indigenous peoples’ concerns about how international agreements are being implemented, while having fascinating discussions about forest and development governance with Masters students from places including Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Palestine. Thanks to the inspirational Margaret Young for asking me to be involved.
To balance my serious PhD work, I’m also delighted to be participating in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s professional development program for funny women this coming weekend.
I’m back in Australia! I have much updating to do, but here’s a quick note to report that I’m based in Melbourne for the next while. The University of Melbourne have kindly accepted me as a Visiting Scholar within Melbourne Law School, allowing me a room of one’s own (or a carrel of one’s own at least) and access to wonderful resources, which should allow me to finish writing my PhD in the coming months. The first peer-reviewed paper emerging from my PhD has finally been published earlier this month (DOI: 10.1177/2158244014523791). I went to great lengths to make it open access, so please enjoy reading it paywall-free!
I was under contractual obligations to limit public comment related to my work during the last year, which impacted this site. Those same contractual obligations meant I had to take leave from my PhD for a year to do the very interesting things I did, hence I’m coming back to it now. It was a profound year that changed my views of the world, in which I did many novel things. They included riding a motorbike in Thailand hundreds of kilometres, helping indigenous peoples to produce a comic book about human rights, presenting about Wikipedia and women in technology in Cambodia with Khmer translators, and helping organise a dance flashmob for women’s rights as part of One Billion Rising.
I’m still processing how all of these experiences inform my life now and dealing with some reverse culture-shock. I’m lucky to have a space to focus in Melbourne that is allowing me to segue into the post-PhD chapter of my life…
I’m now working as a freelance consultant while working on my PhD – recent projects include:
- a deliberative discussion about public perceptions of climate change;
- comedy and improvisational theatre (I mention upcoming projects, including science impro, in this Science on Top podcast);
- Science Rewired;
- my last project before resigning from RiAus about the mathematics of Alice in Wonderland.
I’ll be performing regularly in the 2013 Adelaide Fringe – information about some of those shows will appear here later.
I wrote this article for RiAus while I worked there.
I’ve recently returned from a round-the-world adventure, presenting at several conferences and workshops about my PhD research and exploring along the way.
During my adventures I was lucky enough to visit some of the world’s coolest places that do science-art projects, as well as compare notes with some people working in these spaces internationally.
While I was in California I visited the Exploratorium and was enthralled by their tinkering studio. I spent a good ten minutes playing with their oscylinderscope. Even though I know I perceive music when sound waves tickle hairs in my ears, there was something compelling and affirming about seeing this at the same time as hearing it. We’ve done some cool music-themed things in the past at RiAus and I hope to see something about the physics of music happen in the future.
I also visited Noisebridge, a hackerspace in San Francisco that blew me away. They had a collection of 3D printers just sitting around that dwarfed the collection we had at our 3D printing workshop with ANAT. They also have a dedicated sewing room, woodwork room and bike wall (pictured) – so much space!
It made me appreciate how awesome Hackerspace Adelaide is, given the limited real-world space and resources. I guess that’s why lots of projects end up happening out and about, like our Tour Down Under project in 2011.
I moved from the new-world technological frontier of California to a place steeped in science history – Florence. There I visited Museo Galileo and La Specola, fundamental to the history of astronomy and anatomy respectively. La Specola was fascinatingly creepy, while I found Museo Galileo profoundly educational for me personally.
I visited Museo Galileo fresh from talking about evaluation of science engagement at the Public Communication of Science and Technology conference, which made me more mindful of how I was engaging with the museum. At the moment I’m particularly interested in observational, ethnographic approaches to evaluating engagement, so was thinking about what someone might report from observing me interacting in the museum. I’m also interested in how engagement activities reinforce (or contradict) each other – and realised my own personal experience at Museo Galileo related to this.
e project, I worked with mathematicians and scientists to develop the interpretive signage for the final exhibition – as well as learning to crochet to contribute to the project as an artist. I was much more comfortable with the environmental science and biology in the project, so spent more time trying to get my head around the idea of hyperbolic space with mathematicians David Butler and Simon Pampena who kindly helped out on the project.
In the final, interactive section of Museo Galileo, I came to an exhibit (pictured). Had I not been involved with the hyperbolic crochet project last year, I may have quickly glanced at it, pressed a button, then moved on. As it was, I spent a good ten minutes there. I pressed the buttons that moved the cone mostly full of water around, which changed the type of curve within. I tried to integrate in my brain how the level of water moving within a cone related to my understanding of hyperbolic space from the crochet project last year.
It would have been clear to anyone observing that I was engaged with the exhibit. I spent longer at the exhibit than others who passed through the whole room while I was there. However if people had been observing alone they would never have known why I engaged with the exhibit. Yes, this exhibit in Italy clearly stimulated my genuine learning about mathematics. However this learning built on my prior learning about mathematics through a craft project in Australia. In my evaluation research I’m interested in the steps that people take between projects that lead to more active citizens or more aware people, so it was profoundly useful to understand these steps within myself.
I went on from Florence to London, where there are too many amazing people and places doing science-art projects to mention. Keeping on the crafty theme, there are some people doing projects beyond London that I met who inspired me.
Something that appealed to me as a potential project for our 300+ group of science-art crafters involved in the RiAus Adelaide Reef is the Knit a Neuron project, created by Helen Featherstone and Anne Cooke.
This project appealed because, like the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, it allows people to contribute an individually crafted piece which, combined with others, forms a new entity. Through creating their individual pieces crafters can learn some science or maths about what they’re crafting. Then the final exhibition gives everyone – viewers and crafters – something new to learn about, which in the UK version was the science of brain injuries and stroke.
I also had a great time throwing around crafty ideas with Julia Collins, who’s a doctor of knots at the University of Edinburgh. She does an awesome range of projects there now. We enthused about Vi Hart and got excited about the possibility of doing crafty maths projects for the Adelaide Fringe Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the same year – fringe festivals across hemispheres united through math and yarn!
Moving from yarn to other festive things – I was lucky enough to be in Paris for the launch of the science humour exhibition (pictured) at Espace des Sciences Pierre-Gilles de Gennes in Paris.
Even if you don’t speak French, if you can follow enough to click on ‘visionnez les blagues’ on this site you can discover a trove of science cartoons. I contributed by sharing my favourite cartoon and explaining why I liked it on a note – that cartoon and explanation are now part of the exhibition. I would love to see this participatory project happen in the RiAus FutureSpace Gallery down the track.