I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Deadlines and Submissions

It is sometimes hard to tell who reads this blog, but here are two messages for two possible groups of readers.

First, and most urgent, the New Chaucer Society program committee for the next conference in Swansea in July 2008 will be meeting in St Louis at the end of this week to consider initial proposals for panels and threads. There is no specific theme, but we are keen to receive suggestions. Check out the call for proposals here. The deadline given there is September 18, but I'll still be collating materials over the next few days before I get on the plane on Thursday, and Friday morning, US time, will be the last possible chance to be considered in this round. While you're browsing the Society's site, you might also be interested to read the responses to the 2006 New York conference from Nicholas Watson and Jennifer Summit here.

Second, and almost as urgent, for Melbourne folk who want to take advantage of the Arts Faculty Mentoring scheme for ARC grants (due in February), the deadline of September 29 for submission of a draft of the Section E of the proposal is creeping up quickly. I have been overly optimistic about my own chances of meeting this deadline, and of posting successive drafts of my own application on my departmental web page, and this trip to St Louis is without doubt going to slow me down. I am still going to try and get my draft to at least one more stage of development before I leave, and would definitely encourage any prospective applicants to put at least a partial draft together (using the ARC guidelines and headings) so as to be in the running in this round for a mentor who will help you keep your application intelligible to non-specialists. Experts in your own department and discipline can help you fine-tune your bibliography and specialist methodology later, but I have found that having non-medievalist readers has been crucial in the past, as a good corrective to the disciplinary myopia to which we are all subject. Getting in early and meeting this Faculty deadline may also enhance your chances of getting a mentor who is reasonably keen and experienced. Check out the Faculty webpage here.

Last week I went to a panel discussing mentoring, and it was stressed again that a good application asks and answers some very simple questions: what are you going to do? and why? It's hard to keep the simplicity of this approach in mind when we write grant applications. It's all too easy to drift into the temptation of writing for the specialist, assuming all are interested in the minutiae of the critical debates in our own field, but this is only a small aspect of the application.

The forum also included some discussion of the timing of the announcements of this year's grants, and I had the unpleasant jolt of remembering that if the collaborative application I submitted earlier this year is unsuccessful (and the mathematical chances are that it will be), then I will have to go through the whole process of revising that application as well as getting this new one together. Oh well; I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

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