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, August 29, 2011

Displacement activity

So I'm writing this essay. It's about the way modern academics use online sites and activities like blogging, facebook, etc. and so I thought I'd do a little research amongst my readers.

What does the term "displacement activity" mean to you. I've done a little reading around some behavioural/psychological texts, but I'm interested to know what we/you mean when we/you use the term, if we/you do. I can remember the exact place when I first heard this phrase. It was used by Sue Martin (the one in the middle of this picture) in the departmental kitchen, and she used it to describe something I was doing: cleaning my office instead of marking essays, I think. It struck me because I immediately knew what "displacement activity" must mean, without really knowing why it meant that. I now use the phrase with ease. Thanks, Sue!

Is that what blogging is? What other forms does displacement activity take? What do you understand the phrase to mean? Can you remember when you first heard it? Or when it was first applied to you? Is my question to my own blog about displacement activity a paradigmatic example of the phenomenon?

No promises your answer will appear in my essay, but it will be given full credit if it does. Thanks in advance!

P.S. I should say: this essay is due tomorrow. Do you think that's relevant?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In which I feel myself about to undergo an ugly transformation

There are large white tents being erected on the lawns of the campus. The schedules have been drawn up. The powerpoints from last year are being updated. Yes, it's Open Day again.

For the last couple of years I've done the little presentations to prospective students: this year I'm just on one of the desks on Sunday. They are predicting a mild and sunny day, which is a great relief as it is often cold and miserable in the tents (I don't know why they put us in a tent: there are some perfectly nice buildings on campus...).

When we sit behind the desks (and sometimes, we have to stand in front of desks because there are no chairs; or stand at naff little high bar-style tables, though without a spicy Victorian shiraz for company), we are often highly amused at the pushy parents who march their reluctant children up to talk to us. "She's very interested in creative writing, aren't you, Susie?" they say. Or "And what jobs can he do with an Arts degree?" We like it when the students come along by themselves, actually.

Undeterred, however, I have said I can only do a late afternoon shift on Sunday because I am going down to the Victorian College of the Arts with Joel. I will try very hard to stay in the background and not ask questions at the information session. I will try very hard not to speak for my son and will try not to tell them how talented he is and how hard he works. But it's going to be tough. I have already perused the various music webpages, and came perilously close to logging in as if I were Joel to the "Customize your Open Day" experience page.

In my mind I am almost reconciled to acknowledging he is ready to make his own decisions about his future; and to manage his own path through these last eighteen months of school. But it is still hard to let go. I'm going to try not to blog too much about this other person's life here, but it does also feel like a transitional moment in mine, too! Let's hope it doesn't get too ugly on Sunday.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Fragments of an aftermath

A huge week last week. I chaired two public lectures, a two-day collaboratory and a one-day postgraduate masterclass. Life is slowly coming back to normal, though I am still fearfully behind on many things.

I am still digesting the Hearts and Stones collaboratory, though in one sense it's easy to say it fulfilled my wildest expectations about having an interdisciplinary conversation with only minimal anxiety about people speaking from too narrow a disciplinary place.

If anyone would like to hear Jeffrey Cohen's keynote lecture, "Feeling Stone", here is the link: http://harangue.lecture.unimelb.edu.au/Lectopia/Lectopia.lasso?ut=1123&id=121850.

I wish I had also been able to capture Kerryn Goldsworthy's closing presentation: a wonderful and chilling not-a-ghost-story....

But here is a textual fragment: http://networkedblogs.com/l5OI7

I'll try and write the event up in more detail soon. But in the meantime,

... if you, or anyone you know, is looking for work in the university sector, here are two part-time positions as program administrator and education and outreach officer for the Melbourne hub of the Centre. Spread the word; and do get in touch if you'd like to talk about these positions.