I’m just back from a wonderful research visit to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. I was invited by the fabulous Angelina Russo, who was the most amazing host, and made my trip truly unforgettable.
I spent most of my time in Sydney, staying in the visiting scholar’s flat at the Women’s College, which was a really good base for writing, visiting and seeing the city. There I gave a seminar for the new Centre for Research in Learning and Innovation, heard Pippa Yeoman talk about her research, met with Amani Bell and some of her colleagues to talk about educational innovation, and had an excellent discussion about cross-centre collaboration with CRLI’s director, Peter Goodyear. I also had a chance to meet with Mike Michael, whose work on speculative method has greatly informed my own.
Also in Sydney I gave a talk to Lynda Kelly and her colleagues at the Australian National Maritime Museum (what an amazing space!). Lynda’s blog post expands on the rich discussion we had about artcasting, evaluation and engagement. Lucila Carvalho and I met with Paul Donnelly and his colleagues at the Sydney University Museum to talk about plans and possibilities for them as they combine their locations into one new museum building (I also got to see the Alpha & Omega exhibition, which was the perfect blend of eccentric and informative). Paul, Angelina and I went to the launch of the Powerhouse’s Out of Hand exhibition, which I loved. I had an entertaining chat there with one of the makers, Mitchell Whitelaw. His weather bracelet and cup were definitely highlights of the show.
I visited Canberra for a couple of days, mainly to attend the 2016 Whisper Workshop. The workshop was chock full of amazing people, some of whom I knew online and was delighted to meet in person (Kylie Budge; Narelle Lemon; Kate Bowles; Megan McPherson). It was great to meet Inger Mewburn again and to get to know Jonathan O’Donnell & Tseen Khoo. I was especially pleased to meet Tamson Piestch, whose work on the histories of higher education has made its way to the top of my reading list. I spent some time reflecting on Australia’s fraught histories in the National Museum of Australia, and my visit ended on a happy note, when Tracy Ireland and I picked up our conversation where we’d left off in Montreal at the Critical Heritage Studies Conference.
My last few days in Australia were spent in Melbourne, doing some more in-depth research planning with Angelina. We also met with Phil Pond from RMIT to talk about methods of tracing digital activities and objects; and with Seb Chan to learn about how the Australian Centre for the Moving Image has incorporated co-working spaces as a way of bringing new ideas and insights together with the work of the Centre. We went to part of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre’s ‘refiguring techniques in digital-visual research’ symposium. I especially liked the talk given by Alison Young; and was pleased to say a quick hello to Neil Selwyn and visiting scholar from my side of the pond, John Potter.
I loved Australia – there is an energy and a talent for networking and building partnerships there that I found really inspiring. Everyone was incredibly welcoming, and I’ve come back with new ideas, connections and perspectives. I also loved the bird life!