Diversions #2: Running and Research: Finding Solutions through Body and Mind

For the last six months, I’ve been training for the London Marathon. I am not what you might call a “natural runner”; running, for me, basically consists of trudging round London at a pace slightly quicker than walking. I might not be that speedy, but I do seem to be able to keep going somehow, and I managed to get around the course on 23rd April in 5:41:21.

What I have loved/hated about training for the marathon is the mental resilience it takes. What is primarily difficult about running 26.2 miles is not so much the physical element – although don’t get me wrong, I am writing this the day after the race and fear getting up from the sofa knowing my joints appear to have gone on strike. Instead, it is a question of what to think about for all that time, and what to tell myself when I want to stop but need to push on a bit further. That being said, there is such a deep satisfaction that comes from finishing a long run, knowing that I persevered and managed to meet my goal; crossing the finish line yesterday was such a phenomenal moment. Continue reading

Footnotes on Digital Selves

In a special edition of Footnotes on KCL Radio broadcast live on the 27 July 9-10am, hosts Fran and Char invited PhD researchers to take on the theme of The Still Point‘s first blog symposium: Digital Selves in Research.

From online facsimiles of manuscripts to social media profiles, PhD students from across King’s College London explore how they work with, analyse and are shaped by the digital. Thank you to Colleen Curran, palaeographer and historian; Anna Khlusova from Cultural and Creative Industries; and Rachael Kent, whose PhD spans the Digital Humanities and CCI as a member of the Ego-Media project.

The Still Point Journal‘s blog editor, James Fisher, also joined the panel to discuss all things ‘real’ vs ‘virtual’.

Links:
Colleen Curran https://twitter.com/cmcurran21
Anna Khlusova https://twitter.com/annakhlus
Rachael Kent https://twitter.com/RachaelCKent
European Research Council Ego-Media project https://www.ego-media.org

Four Selves

These are all creations inspired by the hectic digital life doing my masters Cultural and Creative Industries in London. The name of each painting says it all. Every time I was doing an activity/ attending an event, if I have a strong image in my head, I feel that I have to bring it to life on canvas. So these four were inspired when I was feeling that the digital had constructed me in such a subtly important way. When I was DJing alone, posting online, studying alone, I felt too that I was somehow connected but also disconnected. I was so intrigued to search and explore for the inner self.

Lonely self
lonely self
social media self
social media self
searching self (DJ alone)
dj self
free soul self
free soul self

Tianmei Chen is an explorer, constantly looking for the passion of her life. She was born in a small village in Hubei, Central China. She has worked in fashion and advertising as a producer and blogger in Shanghai since 2008. She also co-founded a flower brand named Flowerbox and created Queen’s Art spot, a painting studio for beginners in 2013 because her self-taught experience of oil painting inspired many more Chinese young women who wanted to join her. She believes that art is for everyone and everyone can paint. Her experience encouraging young Chinese women’s development made her stand out in the Chevening Scholarship selection among over 36000 applicants in over 170 countries funded by FCO, UK, which sponsored her to study Cultural and Creative Industries at KCL. Now, she is in love with this amazing city, London.

Instagram @maychenyolo  //  Chinese Blog on Wechat: MAYCHENYOLO

 

In Paris, 1913

Micro film

I’m sitting at my desk, time-travelling.

Outside, 21st century Paris is heavy with the first infestation of springtime tourists, snapping up the Opéra on selfie-sticks as they emerge, blinking, from the Métro.

Inside, in a stuffy room in the Bibliothèque national de France, unbeknown to those around me, I’m not there. I’m in 1913. Continue reading

#DigitalSelves Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon: Friday 29 July

Join the conversation @stillpointLDN   //   #DigitalSelves   //   Join our Facebook event

As part of our inaugural online symposium Digital Selves in Research, we’re hosting a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon at the beautiful Maughan Library, Chancery Lane, from 3-5:45pm on Friday 29 July.

Inspired by previous ‘Wikithons’ from around the world – including Art+Feminism‘s annual global event, which last year added a staggering 334 pages for women artists – we will be getting together to create or improve Wikipedia articles on the subjects closest to our hearts: from medieval sci-fi to Victorian agriculture to contemporary beat poetry.

Why are we embarking on such a project? Simply put, we love to share our research, and Wikipedia is the ultimate open-access journal. Quite often, our research pays loving attention to under-studied subjects, people, stories, and places: whether they are women, people of colour, from outside of Western Europe or the US. We might also be making ‘new’ discoveries: names, dates, works of literature or art that have been hidden away, uncatalogued and invisible in plain sight in archives, libraries, or homes. And, let’s be honest, Wikipedia is still a point of call for many of us when a key date or name has popped out of our heads – so why not use it like our own researcher’s notebook?

The Maughan Library will be a great base, with access to online and real life journals, books, and a music and DVD collection. We will also have some snack supplies to keep us going! Best of all, post editing we’ll all relocate to Ye Olde Cock Tavern, 22 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1AA, for the symposium after-party 6-8pm.

Take part in the #DigitalSelves Edit-a-thon: in person

Everyone is welcome to drop in any time between 3-5:30pm at the Maughan Library but please note: if you are a student or researcher at any of these institutions, you must bring your ID card.

If you are NOT registered at an institution on the list, just drop us an email with your full name, contact details, and what time you’ll be arriving to blog[at]thestillpointjournal[dot]com.

Editing Wikipedia is simple, and members of the blog team will be on hand to help. You don’t have to do any planning before the session, although it would save some time if you scope out which pages you’re interested in that might need a little TLC, what books and journals are available in the King’s library catalogue, and if you can register on Wikipedia before you arrive.

Take part in the #DigitalSelves Edit-a-thon: wherever you are!

Can’t make it to the Maughan? Wherever you are (out of London, or out of the UK!) you are very welcome to join the edit-a-thon virtually. We will be twittering and facebooking our progress and we would love to hear from far-flung participants. Remember we’re on British Summer Time, 3-5:30pm.

Whether you’re planning on taking part at the Maughan or from wherever you are in the world, we’d love to hear your plans and progress. Whether you make just a tiny reference edit, or end up creating an encyclopedic series of new pages, we want to keep track of all the knowledge shared on the 29 July.

Tweet us @stillpointldn or use the tag #DigitalSelves. You can also join our Facebook event. Even simpler, comment below.

Get the details in your diaries, start gathering your ideas, and we can’t wait to meet you and your Wikipedia pet projects.

#DigitalSelves Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon: meet up for researchers to edit Wikipedia pages together @ The Maughan Library, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR.

Find out what else is going on, see our full symposium programme.

For the uninitiated, here’s Wikipedia’s own wiki on how to get started with editing (yes, it’s a wiki about a wiki), or take a look at the video below.

Poetry of Place: an interview with ourselves

Poetry of Place took place on 17th May at Enitharmon Press in Bloomsbury. The event brought three poets into conversation about how place and poetry intersects in their work. Fran and I had met for the first time in March, after answering a call put out by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership for two PhD students to run a poetry event. We had a couple of months to get to know each other, plan, meet the poets, and figure out how to bring our own research interests into dialogue, and with the poetry. A real challenge, not least because we’re from very different disciplines  – or so we thought!

Right! I’m studying for a PhD based in the English department at KCL, situated between Old English and Performance studies. My research looks at Sutton Hoo, a seventh century medieval burial ground, and Old English poetry. I’m interested in how poetry and place come together at this site to (re)create history. I’m very much picking up on medievalists Gillian Overing and Marijane Osborn’s ‘conviction – or fiction – of the past as being located through or as place’ (Overing and Osborn, 1989).

Whilst I’m at UCL working across the fields of Architectural History & Theory, and Music, looking at the work of  the architect and composer Iannis Xenakis.    Continue reading

The Secret Autobiography of my PhD #3

Sound has always filled my house.

charbookcasesmallWind whistles through the old doors and windows, stairs creak  and floorboards groan. Every genre of music has issued from multiple instruments and iPods. My house has never been silent.

I am a dreamer for what could be and what might have been. I am a lover of fantasy. Find me a literature student my age who didn’t grow up with Harry Potter? I read my horoscope. I am interested in the nature of dreams. I am absorbed by a good story.

Medieval literature, particularly the dream visions, ticks all my boxes.


Charlotte Rudman is a second year PhD student in the Department of English at King’s College London, researching sound and sound representations in medieval dream vision poetry, @charrud.

A Guide for New PhD Students

ian-book

Start the video.

Here is how to begin. Fill a fresh notepad with calming notes to yourself such as “how the hell do I even start this thing” and “this might all be a terrible mistake”.

This is the grey, sinister building that you will only ever enter late and panicked and sweating. Use your time in the lift efficiently by regretting your complete inability to manage basic aspects of day-to-day life.

Here is how to forget your purpose with unsettling frequency and stutter around in a mute stupor for weeks on end. Always remember to take sensible breaks while you stutter around in a mute stupor for weeks on end.

Here is how to structure the formless shadow of your half-remembered thoughts into a clear and achievable chapter outline, indicating the anticipated word count for each reckless and inexplicable tangent.

Here is how to feign interest in your own best ideas long enough to write them down.

Here is how to optimise the ergonomics of your desk to help you maintain control during unscheduled emotional convulsions provoked by some insignificant thing that may or may not have recently occurred.

This is a chart developed by experts to help you organise your throbbing obsession into regular study blocks. This is how to forget about the individualised chart you made after devoting what everyone would agree to be an unhealthy level of attention on the column widths. You’ll quickly learn how to stare incomprehensibly at the chart every now and then during the feverish midnight hours.

Here is how to keep your spirits up and persevere in exploring all the available options with an impressive pragmatism as your shitty laptop slips indifferently into some kind of electric coma.

Here is a little bench on a nameless road that you can sit at for almost two hours until lunchtime is definitely, undeniably over but you don’t have the slightest clue of what to do when you go back or even where to go.

Here is how to avoid ever discussing the three-and-a-half hours you spent colouring in the elaborate detail of your mind-map’s inappropriate and miserable centrepiece.

Here is a great place to relax and ache quietly with self-doubt in an atmosphere of academic excellence.

We hope you found this useful.


James Fisher is a PhD candidate at Kings College London. Follow @JamDanFish