Thursday, 7 August 2014
A VERY Interesting Meeting about a VERY Exciting Opportunity...
On Wednesday, I took the train to Manchester again. This time I was headed for Manchester University. I was very excited to meet the Sociology team at the Morgen Centre...
It began with an email a few weeks back, asking if I would give one of the professors there a ring, to chat about an idea. Intrigued, I rang. She explained about a grant she would like to apply for, to fund a year-long project. Guess who would be at the centre of the project? Yep - little me!
They want me to spent the equivalent of 2 days a week over a whole academic year as a fly-on-the-wall, illustrating their world in sketchbooks. How brilliant is that? My first question, well one of the first was: So, what do you do all day for me to draw?
There will be the usual meetings, teaching students, working at the computer of course, but the really exciting thing is, they spend a lot of time out and about, working on research projects. There are 3 projects in particular which they are keen for me to shadow, all of which involve interviewing people in their homes or out in the urban environment.
One is about the 'rhythms of the city': what we notice, how we feel about the outside environment we pass through every day, how we use public spaces and how we interact, or not, with others.
Another is about our relationship with the things we own: specifically, why we all have objects in our houses which we don't use, maybe don't even really want, but somehow can't bring ourselves to throw away.
The third is about the Brits' relationship with the weather: how it defines what we are and what we do, the way it impacts on how we interact with others and our environment and how different types of weather conditions create an atmosphere which is the backdrop to our lives, effecting how we feel.
As you can probably imagine, I was immediately very interested and have been helping Professor Heath put together a bid for the grant ever since. The meeting this week was to finalise some of that paperwork, to meet some of the team I'd be working with and to find out more detail about each of the projects.
They all knew about me and are all very keen, but got even more animated when I showed them real life examples of the sketchbooks and talked them through the kit I use. If we get the money, we will be involving the whole department, students and staff, in the project: I will be running workshops to empower everybody to sketch and setting up group sketchbooks that they will work on over the year. Oh, and of course we will have a huge SketchCrawl as a climax at the end of the year!
I am SO desperate to get this job and am crossing everything I have got, hoping that our bid is accepted. I will, of course, keep you posted, though we won't know until around Christmas. How will I survive until then?