Happy 2015! I’m attempting to be a hermit in southern Australia while writing my PhD thesis, with comic relief projects to keep me sane. I’m looking forward to emerging from my self-imposed writing bubble as a Fellow for the Link Festival, happening 16-17 February in Melbourne!
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.
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.
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.