All change please!

Well, it has been a little while since I last updated the blog. I have a few very good reasons. Mainly – I’ve changed jobs. My role as an associate research fellow at the University of Exeter (Cornwall Campus) came to an end in March and I started a new job the very next day (more on that in a minute).

I started work in the Department of Geography, University of Exeter in March 2009, working on a project about climate change and familiar landscapes with Catherine Leyshon. This project quickly developed and we began to investigate how people experience and talk about ‘climate and the ways it might change’ within the context of their everyday lives. I was interviewing farmers, nature conservationists, parish councillors, local residents, students, county councillors, members of the clergy. It was great – examining what weather means to them on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, UK and how they imagine it might change in the future as a result of ‘climate change’. In the final year of the project, Kate and I were invited to act as social scientific advisors to a new partnership called Linking the Lizard – made up of the National Trust, Natural England, AONB Cornwall, NFU Mutual and Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Here we began thinking about how to incorporate communities in decision-making, in particular in relation to landscape management. We drew on our work surrounding lay and expert knowledges of climate change and how strategies and policies are played out on the ground. I had a great three years – running around Cornwall, as well as writing papers and supporting community and institutional initiatives to conserve and protect the beautiful landscape of the Lizard.

My new job is at the Science Museum in London. It is an AHRC funded research fellowship for a short-term project as part of the Connected Communities: Community Heritage initiative. I am in charge of the day-to-day running of the project, which involves coordinating events related to supporting applications for community bids to the HLF All Our Stories scheme, whilst leading the community engagement/participation and oral histories surrounding the Enfield Exchange. We will be putting the exchange switchboard on display in Enfield – this was the piece of kit used by female telephone operators who would manually connect calls.  Our aim is to uncover the hidden stories of the women who worked at the telephone exchange in Enfield prior to 1960. This calls for a series of engagement events, including a tea dance and matinee (fingers crossed). It is hoped these stories will form the basis for a new Science Museum display.

I’m also working on getting this blog updated. I’m not sure what form it will take, but currently I am thinking about a blog name change ‘Enthusiasm Lab’ … somewhere to mix the potent forces of enthusiasm…

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