Guess who’s back?

Well, Bonnie Charlie is gone for sure, but you lucky folks get ME! [after yet another unplanned hiatus – sorry]

Part of the reason for that hiatus has been The Summer and The Aftermath of The Summer. In short, I went to a really cool conference, reconnected with a group of amazing scholars, and got a job with them.

A bit of background…

I finished my PhD in a totally different discipline from which I started. I began a PhD about environmental attitudes to nuclear power and finished a PhD on how environmentalism is an implicit religion. That meant the networks I had built during my studies were not really related to the research trajectory I found myself on, and I was lost in a variety of terrifying ways.

At that precise moment, I saw a job advertised at the University of Birmingham, with a research group I had not come across before. I interviewed for the job and was unsuccessful, but I was invited to speak at the group’s upcoming conference in 2019. This was the inaugural meeting of what has since become a large and established group of researchers under the leadership of Professor Fern Elsdon-Baker, the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society. I attended the 2022 conference as well, which was the first in-person meeting since the pandemic.

Fern is also the director of the Institute for STEMM in Culture & Society (ISTEMMiCS) – which is my new home.

Through the wonderful group that Fern has gathered around her I met and connected with some amazing people who have inspired and supported me during the past two years of weirdness that has been Covid-19. I have made lasting friendships with scholars who really ‘get’ me and my interests, sitting as they do at the intersection of Religious Studies, Science & Religion Studies, Science & Technology Studies, Energy & Environment, Novel & Disruptive Technologies.*

*Now there’s a Venn Diagram for you…

It was one of these friends who alerted me to the fact that Fern and the ISTEMMiCS group were advertising for a Research Fellow to work on a strand of their Future Flight Challenge project. I would never have seen the post at all if not for that person. Hannah, I am forever in your debt.

So, I started working on my application for that role when I got back from the conference, and was invited to interview. I had just managed to convince myself that I had been unsuccessful yet again and should become a market gardener, when I receive The Phone Call from Fern. “You are our preferred candidate.” [insert jubilation here]

It’s been 2 months since then, and 1 month since I started working on the project. For a variety of reasons, I spent the first month working entirely remotely, which meant it didn’t really feel like I’d actually started a job. I had a ton of reading to do, so my days were not vastly dissimilar from before the job. The actual “I am EMPLOYED, yo” realisation came when I got my first paycheck. There is nothing like suddenly having money to really bring home how anxious you were about having no money.

All this to say, now that I have actual responsibilities to other people, I am scheduling my time semi-properly, and will be endeavouring to post more. The content will change a little. There’ll be less “Academia is broken” (even though it still is) and more intellectual offerings. I’ll be reading papers and giving my thoughts on them.

This change is also stimulated by the fact that my regular reading group (‘regular’ – aaahahahahaha) has made a decision to change its focus, so the reading that I would have done for that group I’m going to try and keep up with and put things I find interesting on here, instead.

First up – Johnson, A. L., & Franklin, R. G. (2022). The Influence of Evangelical Religiosity on Environmentalism. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 0(0).

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