So this post is slightly delayed – first I’m not organised enough yet to write my posts in advance so they can update automatically and second everyone needs a holiday (see last snap for evidence). So what was I up to last week?
Monday – My course GV1HUM Human Geography for 1st year undergrads finished last week, but I was busy marking their assignments today. 11 group posters on the relevance of human geography in the 21st century. The teams who had been working together since week 1 could select any example/case study they liked. We had posters featuring cyberspace, Macdonald’s, Coca-Cola, farming, transport, wind power, youtube, Haiti earthquake, slums, globalisation. Using the University of Reading conference poster template, the teams excelled themselves in producing professional looking posters. I really enjoyed this as an assessment exercise, particularly the poster display last week. The posters will be used for visit days and open days for prospective students. Next year – the assessment will combine presentations to the whole group. I met up with the second marker to finalise marks. I then ploughed on with writing up my notes for the 13 dissertations I had to second mark. Wow – a range of projects – very impressed again. Hopefully I can feature details of some of them in a future post.
Tuesday – Today looked like it was going to involve a transport headache. Travelling from Reading to Kew Gardens for 10am. But it was very pleasant. I took the train as usual to Paddington and then the district line to Kew Gardens. Being above ground on the tube, crossing the river Thames – it was a nice way to go to work! I was invited to Kew, or rather the Jodrell Laboratory at Kew, for the launch of the LWEC Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative. The first presentation was by Professor Sir Mark Walport, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, who assured the audience he represented not only science, technology, medicine but also the social sciences. I was there to present my research on tree health, enthusiasm and citizen science. There was a strict 5 minute presentation rule and then 15 mins for questions with the two other presenters in my session – it was over very quickly. They are making a video of our talks available. I will post it when it appears. The new Chief Plant Health Officer was in attendance, Professor Nicola Spence, in her closing remarks she mentioned my work –
Hilary is a science watcher.
I love this sentiment. I am. That’s what I’ve been doing and to see this work recognised as important in terms of understanding the role of scientists and policymakers in constructing the ‘tree health agenda’ (particularly for the public) was a real highlight. Now I need to get on with writing about it! After the launch I headed over to the Science Museum for the launch of The Science Museum Group Journal. The head of research and public history had organised a string quartet to entertain guests – nodding to the planned music and science exhibition in a few years time.
Wednesday – Back to South Kensington this morning for the OPAL tree health survey working group. Fieldwork!!! Brilliant. Taking out my notebook and cracking on with some research was great. I’ve been following the working group as they designed, produced, launched and re-launch the survey. I know everyone now in the working group and my work is making an important contribution to the survey itself and the work of OPAL more generally in the area of tree health. I am holding a workshop in a few weeks time on citizen science and tree health to help identify the next 18 months of my research. Most of the people around the table at OPAL will be attending. The task we identified as part of the workshop will be to ascertain the various citizen science projects relating to tree health and identifying their respective audiences. Helping the punter! I had to leave this meeting early as I was heading to Birmingham for the ESRC Pitch-to-Peers Workshop for their Transformative Research call. I hopped on the train at Euston and was there just in time for the meeting at 5pm. I can’t disclose any details but it was agreed by the panel and peers that this format of 7 minute presentations (following a two page case for support) is something research councils need to consider for other grant calls. The opportunity for applicants to ‘answer back’ and ‘clarify’ project aims, outcomes and potential impacts was regarded as invaluable.
Thursday – Birmingham as above.
Friday – Out of office on!