I hate being asked to explain what I mean when I use terms like 'transdisciplinarity' or 'coproduction of knowledge' in my research. Are these not common everyday terms that people use ordinarily, say, when having coffee or cooking?
Do I not sometimes ask my little girl thus: 'Using a transdisciplinary approach, would it be possible for us to coproduce knowledge about what kind of toy you will get for your birthday?'
But to my chagrin, my group members in the Doclinks doctoral summer school interrogated me over and over again about these and other terms that featured generously in my articles. These articles were four different versions of our research that we were required to write for varying audiences. The four article were:
(Sorry about the bullets, I abhor them too. This is however my insidious attempt to turn the focus of this blog towards my research on sanitation. Probably a very shitty idea!)
- general description of the research
- press release
- journal abstract
- policy brief
All these articles were to be brief, (go back to the bullets to understand that this sentence should have continued from there) and so I thought I wrote mine rather well, only to be prodded mercilessly over my poor writing. OK! I exaggerate a little but you catch my drift.
Consoling though was the reminder by one of the organisers that we were the best out of all the applicants which means our (my) work is not half bad. I even graduated with a diploma worth 3 ECTS plus I enjoyed myself thoroughly and most imprudently as you can tell from my three previous posts on Helsinki.
When I was not obsessing about the questions over my work, I was actually learning so much at this school. So many opportunities for funding, postdocs, research collaborations and posing for photos were opened up for me. But what stood out the most from all the discussions in this doctoral summer school was the need to communicate research findings and to do so effectively by acknowledging different audiences.
If you lost your interest in this boring doctoral stuff along the way (most likely at those bullets) then I would advice that you see my paintings at State of the Art gallery, which have nothing to do with my research but they help me keep sane, especially when people ask me to explain my research.
My plan is to become famous so that when I can't answer a research question I can say: 'May I interest you in one of my ridiculously expensive abstract paintings?'
Labels: Academia, Jargon, Paintings, travelling to Finland