My personal side has been blowing his trumpet:
|When||What||outcome and notes|
|December to early January||marking Work-based learning mid-year reports||Success: Marking was done, including handling students’ queries, and writing and delivering a presentation on how I will mark final reports.|
|January||PB in Brazil: whether and how PB benefits the very poor in Sao Paulo||work on a paper was stalled for ages. It took until late June to get a focus-group transcribed. Translation is to follow…|
|February to May||running WriteNow! sessions on Wednesday afternoons||
|February onwards||RIVAL: 4 networking events in 2019-2020 for Library and Information Scientists and practitioners||See project website for details.|
|March onwards||GCRF map/database The Scottish Funding Council wants a map of all of the GCRF projects it funds. Image of possible look-and-feel is here||awaiting contract-signature|
|February, May||Internal examiner for 3 BIT MSc students||All three passed. (Credit belongs to the students and their supervisors!)|
|April-May||Writing RFC funding applications||
|May||Marking Computing in Contemporary Society courseworks||Work was done.|
|June||Marking Work-based learning final reports||work in progress|
|January onwards||minuting meetings between Community Councils Together on Trams and Edinburgh Council’s Trams Team||better citizen-involvement?|
|September 2018 onwards||member of £eith Chooses steering group||Success! See website. Survey on possible improvements due to close soon.|
|since time immemorial||minutes and websites for three Edinburgh community councils: Leith Central, Leith Harbour & Newhaven, New Town & Broughton||Success, I think: better recording and publicising of hyperlocal government activities|
|ongoing||taking part in various democracy events, e.g. practical democracy project, Democracy Alive||Some better understanding of what various bodies are doing to improve democracy. I’m not sure how effective they will be, or what my role should be.|
This afternoon I was at a seminar on Deliberative Innovation: Research and Practice at Edinburgh University’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. This was presented by Oliver Escobar and Stephen Elstub, and chaired by Sara Drury. It was great to to meet and learn from Oliver, Stephen, Sara, some of Sara’s students from Wabash College and others in a very varied gathering.
As usual, this post is mostly composed of my tweets, slightly edited for comprehensibility. Larger amendments and additions are in [square brackets]. The block-quotes are my thoughts.
I spent most of today working on a presentation. One of our partners, Leandro Ramos, has contacted the relevant department of São Paulo’s city administration. It turns out they are very keen to hear how participatory budgeting (PB) works in Scotland. This is great, because
- I’m involved in setting up and running this year’s LeithChooses PB process, and so can speak from some experience of how a small group of dedicated, unpaid volunteers are working together to run and improved version of a civic process.
- We can hear from some people who know how PB in São Paulo really works.
|#||When||What||outcome and notes|
|1||July||RIVAL: community event on the theme of LIS research impact:||success!
Also enabled further funding application (line 5)
|2||July||applying for GCRF funding for PB in Brazil||success!
See line 7
|3||July||marking work-based learning 2017-18 final reports||——-|
|4||September||Drafting an idea for some public engagement/democracy work||to revisit in 2019|
|5||September||RSE funding application to follow up RIVaL: RIVaL network||success!
Work to start in Feb 2019
|6||October||marking work-based learning 2018-19 initial reports||——-|
|7||October to present||PB in Brazil: whether and how PB benefits the very poor in Sao Paulo Bruce going to Sao Paulo 4 to 27 Jan, Wegene 4 to 13 Jan||LitRev in progress
builds on CSI’s relationship with University of Sao Paulo
|8||November||marking BSAD coursework 1||——-|
|9||November||application for RIO funding to run WriteNow! writing sessions in 2019||success!
working with Frances
|10||December||marking work-based learning 2018-19 mid-year reports||——-|
|11||December||marking BSAD coursework 2||——-|
Could I offer a short course or other help to students’ improve their report-writing skills?
|12||July||contribution to 2018 Digital Governance in Municipalities Worldwide: A Longitudinal Assessment of Municipal Websites Throughout the World||fancy certificate of thanks|
|13||July to present||minuting meetings between Community Councils Together on Trams and Edinburgh Council’s Trams Team||better citizen-involvement?|
|14||September||Taking part in a follow-up to research by the Scottish Community Development Centre on community councils.||led to involvement in draft PB charter|
|15||September to present||member of £eith Chooses steering group||voting Saturday 23 February 2019|
|16||October, November||further participation in Scottish Government (SG) Online Identity Assurance stakeholder group||TBC|
|17||November||participation in debate/research on governance of and possible new powers for community councils||TBC|
|18||December||commenting on Scottish Government draft Open Government Action Plan||appreciated by SG|
|19||December||participation in Scottish Government/CoSLA event on mainstreaming participatory budgeting. Write-up of event is in a set of posts starting here||TBC|
|20||all year||minutes and websites for three Edinburgh community councils:||better recording and publicising of hyperlocal government activities|
There is currently debate about publishing community council members’ contact details. The following is based on my experience of working with 3 community councils for many years, and examining every CC website I could find in 2012 and 2014. From this, I’d advocate:
- publishing member’s names and roles. Ideally these would be accompanied with photos, as in this example. This could make CC members seem more real and approachable.
- each CC having at least one email address, perhaps something like hello@name_of_CC.gov.uk
- ideally, each CC having addresses for its office-bearers, especially the secretary.
- This would keep CC emails separate from personal emails, help ensure that the public can continue to contact the CC when office-bearers move on, and help ensure that people who have retired no longer receive CC emails.
- have all CC members’ personal addresses in a Google Group, MailChimp list or similar, so that it is easy to send emails to all CC members. (Reply-all can be a pain, not least because such recipient lists easily get out of date.) Such a list would have office-bearer’s CC email addresses rather than their personal ones.
- NOT have CC email addresses for each member (such as first name.lastname@name_of_CC.org.uk). One of my CCs asked me to set this up. It increased costs slightly, took a long time to set up, was a pain to show a number of members how to configure their computers and mobile devices to use these addresses, and the addresses are hardly used. (Most members do not need to email as CCllrs.)
- NOT publishing personal contact details such as personal email and physical addresses.
So what have I got wrong? Shout at me via the comments!
Part of an occasional series of posts to try to show that I don’t lie around all day! This post covers the time since we got back from honeymoon in early September.
- Working with my colleague Wegene Demeke on the initiation of a project to investigate some aspects of participatory budgeting (PB) in São Paulo [Wikipedia], Brazil. We’re particularly interested in whether and how PB benefits the very poor. This is going to be fun, not least because neither Wegene nor I speak Portuguese, but we have some excellent partners at the University of São Paulo.
- Working with the Prof on a funding bid for some networking events. That’s ‘networking’ in the sense of connecting humans, not ‘plumbing‘! The bid has been submitted but we won’t know whether we’ve been successful for a while, so watch this space!
- Taking part in a follow-up to research by the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) on community councils.
- Marking courseworks for an undergraduate course.
- Drafting an idea for some public engagement/democracy work. Again, watch this space!
Now that almost all of my current projects are either finished or in other people’s hands, it’s a good point to try to review what I’ve done so far this year. Continue reading
I had the privilege of attending two seminars by Professor Brian Detlor last week. The first of these, at iDocQ 2018, recounted Brian’s work on Digital Storytelling. However, this post is about my reaction to his seminar to the School of Computing on Promoting Digital Literacy: A Social Lab Approach.
This post is the first of two – the second will be an attempt to crystallise my thoughts about e-voting that bubbled up after Brian’s seminar. However, for now, this post is an attempt to show why Brian’s seminar was such a positive experience for me, but it is not an attempt to record all that Brian said. My reactions are in blockquotes. Continue reading
I’ve been informed, interacted and impacted at i3! I could only attend on Thursday and this morning, but my eyes have been opened to the wide world of Library and Information Research, and some of the characters in this world.
The sessions I attended were
- Professor Annemaree Lloyd, Dr Frances Hultgren and Dr Ola Pilerot: Refugees and researchers in transition: the complexities of researching fractured landscapes
- Dr Bhuva Narayan and Professor Gobinda Chowdhury: The role of information avoidance in diabetes self-management: a mobile-based study using the experience sampling method
- Keynote Presentation by Amy Sippitt, Research and Impact Manager at Full Fact
- Maryam Bugaje and Professor Gobinda Chowdhury: Towards a more user-centred design of Research Data Management (RDM) Systems
- Dr Michael Olsson and Professor Annemaree Lloyd: Bodywork: vanishing knowledge, embodied practices and identity construction among enthusiast car restorers
- Dr Graeme Baxter and Professor Rita Marcella: An exploration of the relationship between post-truth politics and Scottish citizens’ information behaviour
- conference dinner, ceilidh and a few drinks back at the hotel
- Keynote Presentation by Dr Crystal Fulton, University College Dublin
- Dr Geoff Walton and Dr Alison Pickard: Analysing information discernment in mid-teens to extend their digital literacy
- Todd Richter, Dr Laura Muir, Dr Tom Flint, Professor Hazel Hall and Dr Colin Smith: Getting Unstuck: information Problem Solving in High School STEM Students and Evidence of Metacognitive Knowledge
I mentioned the social aspects because I think some of the most interesting stories around research came out then. For me, and of course I may be wrong, papers deliver the ‘facts’, conference presentations tell some of the ‘back-story’, and social events can fill in the details. For example, a researcher talked about the major difficulties she experienced when trying to travel to collect data. So now I’m a bit more fore-warned of some possible practical difficulties.
I won’t say which I thought was the best presentation, because that would imply there was a ‘worst’. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who exposes their ‘research-hearts’ to a sea of potential criticism is a winner.
But I will say which I got the most out of personally: Bhuva Narayan’s presentation on information avoidance amongst diabetics described my personal world. A research blog isn’t the place to rant about my personal experiences of this condition, much as I want to. But I think it is appropriate to note how our careers have included academic/educational publishing before moving into academic research which is close to our respective hearts.
I’m also tempted to wonder whether there is room for research into information misbehaviour, e.g. are there links between information avoidance and other ‘undesirable’ activities?
My other favourite was Graeme Baxter’s presentation on post-truth politics and Scottish citizens’ information behaviour. Graeme showed how people reacted to political statements made by the five major Scottish political parties. Each party published statements intended to advance their positions and/or denigrate other parties, by quoting ‘facts’ without citing references. In fact, Graeme and colleagues had to dig quite deeply to establish sources and hence the veracity of the ‘facts’ they ‘tested’ on their participants.
As a scientist, it’s hopefully second nature to back up facts and statements with either citations showing where these were ‘proved’, or to prove them ourselves from the data we’re presenting – anything else is plagiarism or worse. Not so in political campaigning, it appears. Graeme suggested that political ‘facts’ go on a journey in which ‘original sources become less clear and facts become increasingly reinterpreted’. I guess the moral is an undertone of ‘facts matter’, in that we need to be sure that our facts are facts (i.e. true/correct), and the contexts in which they are they are true, and what they really mean.
For example, Graeme showed a political communication saying that 152,000 college places had been lost. Did that mean that 152,000 people were now being denied the chance of a full degree, thus potentially harming Scotland’s economy and much else? Er, no, it meant that quite a number of short courses and lessons in mostly ‘hobby’ interests were being cut. For me, any loss of educational opportunities isn’t great, but this ‘fact’ wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it appeared. I’d be disappointed if I couldn’t go to an interesting one-off lecture or short course on one of my interests, but it probably wouldn’t be career- or life-threatening. And as my colleague Todd showed, there is a huge amount of educational material on YouTube, for example. (The difficulty there, as he also mentioned, is learning which material offers me the most value, and doesn’t omit the things I really need to learn.)
I’m particularly interested in two things related to Graeme’s presentation. (This doesn’t mean I’m not interested in other aspects!)
- The first is the extent to which people trust facts coming from government, rather than political parties’ campaigns. Graham cited the white paper on Scottish Independence which was delivered in 2014. Was that an output from a party or from the government or from the ‘neutral’ civil service? (I’m interested because I know a few current and former civil servants who sweated blood to try to ensure that it contained established facts, and clearly differentiated between these and ambitions for the post-independence world. But civil servants are required to serve the government of the day, even if this goes agains their personal views, unless this would involve them in something seriously immoral.)
- The second is how much people trust information provided by community councils. (Let’s ignore how little people appear to actually access this information. As my colleague Peter Cruickshank points out, it’s entirely possible to take in and act on such information without leaving any obvious signs of engaging with it.) I’d really like to understand what people make of the (digital) information outputs of their community councils. I hope we can soon do some engagement research that probes this.
Firstly, I’m inspired to do a bit of object-oriented programming around a model cool cat, especially as I’m cited for some reason.
Secondly, I’m sorry I couldn’t attend all the presentations made by my Napier colleagues.