Archive for May, 2009

A new chapter

May 24, 2009

Well, having begun this blog a couple of weeks ago in the wake of my participation in Fierce Earth’s social media course, I have been struggling to figure out what I have to say or comment on that might be of interest if made public, hence the infrequency of posts since the first flurry of enthusiasm. Partly I think this is me getting used to the idea of blogging, getting over any reservations about appearing narcissistic, and accepting that those that are uninterested can easily move on to another corner of the wonderful world wide web.

However, events of the last 48 hours have been significant enough to have had me obsessing about them ever since, so it feels like a strong enough topic to share with anyone out there who’s reading, or listening. (Blogs feel more like speaking than writing, to me, and therefore the most relevant verb for the receiving action at the other end would seem to be listening, rather than reading, but I accept that that may well be a matter for debate.)

On Friday afternoon I found out that I have been offered a Clore fellowship for 2009-10 and, whilst it still hasn’t quite sunk in, I am absolutely over-the-moon-delighted to have been given this amazing opportunity: a year of funded professional training, research and development; a chance to immerse myself in my chosen field and reinforce my passion for what I do.
[More info here.]

I cannot wait to get started, and yet, I am so determined not to waste a second of this opportunity that I also want to be as prepared as possible, and September feels awfully soon – by when I need to have figured out my aims, goals and focus for the coming year. I imagine there are very few instances in someone’s working life when an event of professional significance also feels like an event of personal significance – I can call to mind only a few instances so far for which I would say that is true for me – but I feel the news of this opportunity is certainly one of those. I see it as a chance to develop holistically and deeply, to understand and hone my understanding and opinions about the cultural field I work in, and to explore thoroughly some of the areas of my professional interest about which I am also personally passionate.

I am going to begin this cultural, professional and personal journey by ensuring my brain is well exercised and up-to-date by the time I embark on the first part of the fellowhip in mid-September, so have set myself the task of designing a reading list for myself. I feel committing this to ‘paper’, well, virtual paper, anyway, will encourage me to apply myself to the task, so I’ll start with the following titles, all of which I have been meaning to get around to reading for some time:

The Empty Space – Peter Brook: I know, shameful that anyone working in theatre hasn’t read this, but hands up, I haven’t yet, even though I purchased a dog-eared copy from a Hay-on-Wye secondhand shop many years back. So, this must be the first gap in my knowledge to fill.

State of the Nation – Michael Billington

A Cultural History of Latin America – Leslie Bethell (ed.): I am thinking about how my interest in South America and its culture might become a part of the focus of my Clore year, and since my knowledge of the continent’s cultural history has so far been compiled in a rather piecemeal fashion – primarily through absorbing information somewhat haphazardly on my travels each year – I feel it is time to acquiant myself with a more structured overview of the continent’s history.

That feels like a good start; any other suggestions most welcome!

Writing diary with water

May 10, 2009

Having started to blog only a couple of days ago, I have been thinking about the whys, hows and wherefores of recording our life narratives for posterity. Late last night I remembered a piece of performance art I came across in Adelaide at the arts festival there a few years back which struck a chord with me and has been nagging at my waking thoughts on and off ever since.
Writing Diary With Water is an ongoing project by Chinese performance artist Song Dong who has been writing a daily diary in water on a slab of stone since 1995. Every day he writes, and every day the writing fades away. Thoughts of ephemerality, vanity, humility, transparency, secrecy, privacy, autobiography, self-preservation and self-extermination all spring to mind. Particularly relevant to my thoughts as a new blogger.

First twitterings

May 9, 2009

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