Pipped to the post – and thoroughly glad about it

What is your contribution to knowledge? This question haunted me and probably haunts any academic when contemplating their own research and scholarship. We are all aware that although there is undoubtedly value in scholarship which corroborates previous discoveries or arguments, the real clincher is what’s new and different. What is your unique contribution to theContinue reading “Pipped to the post – and thoroughly glad about it”

New adventures: the ‘way of Wendy’

I am embarking on the ‘Way of Wendy’ (hashtagwayofwendy). …But instead of beginning straight away, I am procrastinating by writing a blog post about my intentions to begin. Such is the way of things. Wendy (Imma call her Wendy) has a term for this: writing dysfunction. It’s like erectile dysfunction except it’s unlimited by gender/sexContinue reading “New adventures: the ‘way of Wendy’”

The genius of genuflection: considering embodied memory/belief

“Ah! Sainsbury’s! We stand on hallowed ground! We have to genuflect!” Thus spake the father, and both father and daughter knelt accordingly. This actually happened. I was quite young, less than ten years old. I remember giggling, and being both simultaneously embarrassed (because who genuflects to the fruit stand at the entrance of the supermarket,Continue reading “The genius of genuflection: considering embodied memory/belief”

Black swans and the Apocalypse

(I’m feeling fatalistic today. Can you tell?) Whenever I hear some conservative ding dong going on about how people should stop whining and “carping on” (thanks, Jacob Rees Mogg, embarrassment to all British Catholics due to his apparent total lack of empathy for, y’know, other people), I recall Karl Popper’s black swan. *I am notContinue reading “Black swans and the Apocalypse”

Short- and fixed-term contracts: a rant about research culture

I recently heard an established academic say that they didn’t really see there was any issue with short- and fixed-term contracts, as staff in their organisation were generally redeployed. Obviously, I have some T H O U G H T S on this. Redeployment does not address the real problems experienced by those on STCs/FTCs.Continue reading “Short- and fixed-term contracts: a rant about research culture”

Put up or shut up

Current calls for ‘interdisciplinarity’ are frequently little more than lip-service. The Arts are worth more than that. I recently had a funding application rejected. I was upset for a few days, but I’ve moved on. There’s no point in stressing about the past. BUT. There’s one thing I really, really need to say. The feedbackContinue reading “Put up or shut up”

Where is my home?

Guest blog! Thoughts on finding ‘home’ as an immigrant to the UK from Sangeetha Mani. When Caroline asked me to write something for her, I thought to myself, I am not ready! Not because I do not have a voice that needs to be heard but because I have never written it down without theContinue reading “Where is my home?”

I can’t believe other people don’t do this. (practical tips for academic researchers)

I have noticed that it is common-place for newly-minted PhDs to write a blog post along the lines of “what I wished I’d known at the start of my PhD.” This post will be in a similar vein, but there’ll be less of the “I wish I had known” and more of “This really helped”Continue reading “I can’t believe other people don’t do this. (practical tips for academic researchers)”

I’m ‘waiting for Godot.’ Are you?

Samuel Beckett’s famous play has been… playing on my mind Ages and ages ago,* I submitted a fellowship application. It was by far the most complex application I have ever made, and the total number of pages surpassed 30. “Gosh!” I hear you exclaim. “This must have been for a major fellowship scheme. Three years,Continue reading “I’m ‘waiting for Godot.’ Are you?”

Gene drive for conservation. What’s natural?

Gene drive researchers are noticing how their work intersects with societal assumptions about nature and ‘natural-ness.’ Gene drive is an umbrella term for a suite of gene editing techniques and processes enabled by the CRISPR-Cas9 revolution. Scientists have long known that sometimes, ‘selfish’ genes can override the typical Mendelian laws of genetic inheritance. Until CRISPR-Cas9,Continue reading “Gene drive for conservation. What’s natural?”