Friday, September 30, 2005

Ido In a box

Ido In a box
Originally uploaded by translucid.

Baby as artefact/artifact.

Thanks to Idoo and to Translucid for reminding me of the importance of putting babies in boxes.

I used to do this with my babies and they seemed to like it. It also helps with keeping the place tidy.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Life online

Whether one studies the Internet as a social structure or utilizes Internet-based technologies as tools for research, Internet-based technologies change the research scenario. Computer-mediation has a significant influence on many aspects of communication practice and theory. The internet has
similarities to many earlier media for communication, such as letter writing, telephone, telegraph, post-it notes, and so forth. At the same time, the capacities and uses of Internet communication are unique in configuration and shape a user’s (and thus the researcher’s) perceptions and interactions.
These influences extend beyond the interpersonal; outcomes of these communication processes have the potential to shift sensemaking practices at the cultural level. We are, as Gergen (1991) notes, saturated in technologies. The Internet and associated communication media permeate and alter interactions and the possible outcomes of these interactions at the dyadic, group, and cultural level. Equally, Internet technologies have the potential to shift the ways in which qualitative researchers collect, make sense of, and represent data.
In online environments, self, other, and social structures are constituted through interaction, negotiated in concert with
others. The extent to which information and communication technology (ICT) can mediate one’s identity and social relations should call us to epistemological attention. Whether or not we do research of physical or online cultures, new communication technologies highlight the dialogic features of social reality, compelling scholars to reexamine traditional assumptions and
previously taken-for-granted rubrics of social research.

This is from Annette Markham here.

This is very interesting I think. markham talks about the research scenario having changed. Does that mean we have to adjust our research tools?

Blogging as a social practice is a VERY interesting thing; it changes so much about what I understand about the meaning of the word 'text', 'author' and 'narrative'. But does that mean we research differently? Do we have to have new tools? New ways of looking? New ways of finding out?

My experience as a blogger is that I feel I put a lot of who I am here in this space; the posts are closely tied to my many selves. While there is variety in the posts there is also I think, a sense of me as female, as academic, as who I am. Markham looks closely at the potential to be other in th eonline space and to experimet. But here, I feel I am intensely me.

Despite this, I also agree so much with what she writes, for there are so many possibilities online - more to think about here.

I need views on whether research in the online space needs to be qualitatively different.


(Lots more Markham here.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Theme: Stuff that keeps falling

Don't you find that some days loads of stuff seems to fall on you and then keep falling?

Hardly able to keeep myself afloat but for the fact of wonderful colleagues and friends...

  1. Got to write a report with Anne Marie and Pam by Friday. (Nearly done. We have done 30 pages since Monday; we are just on the tidying up stage.)
  2. Got to get a new teaching session together by Friday.
  3. Got to sort out some finance forms for a new research project by tomorrow (Thursday).
  4. Had to fill in SEVEN forms and get them all co-signed by SEVEN people in order to access cash to buy tickets to Miami ... (Thanks to Colleen and Shirley and Helen and Lou for guiding me through the horrible forms)
  5. Had to write an abstract and biog for a new chapter for a book proposal (Thanks so much Kate - she did it for us)

I did not manage number 5 or number 4 and Kate so wonderfully did number 7.

But oh what a disaster .. the usual place we teach our weekend schools appears to have closed down and we are going to a hotel and we HOPE it will be OK.

Some weeks it is all too hard, but I have a great looking to do list with colour coding and columns and sections.

Whata hullaballoo.

Well off to do number 4. (It's a wine night apparently so must get this done asap.)

Before I go, this was a conversation between gorgeous son and I..

(Context: he has just started doing A levels.He is a big boy now; he gets to have free periods and they have to do 'enrichment activities' on Wednesday afternoon.)

Miles: Mum, do you get paid if you do voluntary work?

Me: No. It's voluntary. You don't get paid. (I am driving to the supermarket.Miles has come to help.)

Miles: Do you get paid if you volunteer to work in an OXFAM shop?

Me: No.

Miles: Do you get paid if you volunteer to work in a kids' nursery shool?


Miles: Do you get paid if you volunteer to.....

Me: No!!!!! Volunteer means you do it for free. It is done for no money. You do it to be kind, nice, to help out.

Miles: OK. I think I'll choose IT.

Hmm. Where did I go wrong? (Maybe he thinks 'enrichment' means 'get rich' - standards really are falling. )

So, the theme of this post is stuff that keeps falling.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

(I have a keen eye to an international readership.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Life Online

I was in a meeting today speaking with people about the Blended Learning course which Sheffield college has introduced to a number of Sheffield secondary schools.
And I have only just this second discovered that the Evaluation of this course which Jackie and I produced a few weeks ago is on the web here.
Last year the course won a Beacon award as it was taught within the colllege, but this year they have been shortlisted again for another award, for successfully importing the work into schools. I hope they get to win again!!

The course is wonderful and has been developed by an incredibly commmitted team - and I believe that some of those teachers created a 'Third Space'. Yes. I do. Moje et al explain this brilliantly in their rather long paper , but I love this piece especially shots like this:

In third space, then, what seem to be oppositional categories can actually work together to generate new knowledges, new Discourses, and new forms of literacy.
(Moje et al, 2004:page 5)
The idea is that by bringing learners' Funds of Knowledge into the classroom and introducing them to new Funds of knowledge, then learners can interrogate each Fund of knowledge through the perspective given by the other. In the case of the college course it is for example that learners can look at Rap and at traditional poetry side by side; they learn new ways of seeing and understanding. That is the potential anyway, I think.
In today's meeting room there was a beautiful vase of sunflowers:


The centres looked sticky.
Talking of sticky situations ... Jackie is here in Australia at the moment doing a scary keynote. I have found the programme here. And I note she is on first thing on Saturday morning. Poor love. Still, it will also be very exciting and I have read her fab paper which is called:
The third spaces of digital childhoods:
Implications for early literacy curricula and pedagogy


Just as a tiny taster, I don't think Jackie will mind me showing you this bit from the introduction:

This nexus of cultural identities is, therefore, a shifting space, a space which is always in flux. This notion of hybridity occurring through cultural border-crossing has a long history, as Heidegger (1975) argued, and was strongly articulated in the work of Bahktin, who suggested that the ‘most intense and productive life of culture takes place on the boundaries of its individual areas and not in places where these areas have become enclosed in their own specificity’ (Bahktin,1985: 2). Therefore, in this articulation of the notion of ‘third-space’, both Bahkthin and Bhabha emphasise how the process of cultural production is dependent on interactions between previously quite separate, even dichotomous, spaces. In this paper, I draw on this use of the term in order to explore the cultural hybridity of children’s experiences with popular culture, media and new technologies in the home. The way in which these experiences draw together various aspects of children’s lives and identities and create new cultural experiences in which boundaries are blurred is examined.

Yep. I know. Brilliant. (Her office is next door to mine and Ikeep hoping the ideas will seep under her door and into my room. I keep my door open for that reason.)

The good thing is that our Jackie will be meeting Anya here next week.

Anyway, have you seen the call for papers here and here?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The eyes have it!

As promised.


I bought these yesterday and wondered if anyone thinks I am a victim of consumerism?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Out in town

today I came across a few interesting sights. I only had my little Sony with me but was quite pleased with the results...

These two little fellows were inching there way towards each other in the city centre. At a bargain £3.99 each, I thought they could make many kids happy and I had to restrain myself not to put my hand in my pocket. Mind you I had already treated myself to a bag of eyeballs,so could not treat myself twice.
(Do you want to see them? )

I wondered whether the two soldiers could be deemed to breaching the peace at all:

Playing with yourself

for this was the polite notice I found myself reading close by. If you click on the photo you will see it has attracted some comments from a couple of my lovely Flickr contacts, who were keen to compare the sentiments of the notice to those seen in their own towns in the United States.

Later I saw these pretty things:


inside the Millenium Galleries.

Really enjoyed The Real Ideal exhibition where the work of Gregory Crewdson was stunning (I thought).

Two things helped me to really enjoy the workeven more than I would have done if these two things had not presented themselves. Firstly, that I was looking at the Crewdson's photographs in gallery where a group of women firends, (in their sevnties, I would guess) were talking about the pictures. They were very clearly local people, talking in the strong Yorkshire dialect, enthusing energetically about the stories they could make up about the images. I loved listening to them, as they debated what was happening and were earnestly persuading each other that,
'All of us are right. You can make any story you want.'

I could not help joining in and chatting and I thought about how you can gain so much more from an exhibition by seeing it with others. The fact that I did not know these people made the exchange all the more welcome and exciting.

The second thing which helped me love the photographs, was that there was a video showing the artist at work and talking about his work. He talked about how he stage-sets everyone of his photographs and uses actors and directs them really closely. He uses elaborate lighting, involves many other people to help him choreograph the images. It's like something out of Steven Spielberg. Go and see the exhibition if you can ...

And finally, just to say, that like Simply Clare in her BLOG HOLE I have found it hard to blog lately, because of the need to fully think about other aspects of my work for the last couple of weeks. It has made me realise that it is quite hard to put together a blog post.

But I will try and get back into it properly now.

And finally finally (nearly forgot) I have set up a new blog here.

(Don't forget though, let me know if you want to see the eyeballs.)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Further info .

on yesterday's post here

You really should check out the story.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sightseeing, New Orleans

Sightseeing, New Orleans
Originally uploaded by Tampen.
Dunno what you all make of this. Click on the photo to view large.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


You can tell a lot about a person by their knees.

viennese legs

And their shoes.

One wedding and a funeral

Burps Liberty is one of my fave contacts on Flickr. I love the caption she gave this one.

Following on

from Dr Rob's post about freshers arriving at university. The Mums and Dads with new student offspring were out in force at Tesco this week. I had to drive round the carpark three times to find a space and then there was no toilet roll left. Mind you, I did have a lovely chat with a Mum about the wonderful special offer on Wolf blass wine.
The freshers all looked so, well, 'fresh' with their Mums and Dads. And then as I walked to town, through the university I saw this scene of co-opeartion and mutual support ...

I have this:


(Note the queue at the cash point just behind. A hint at the funding they are going to need later in the evening.)

Yes, you may well be nodding a smiling at how sweet they are. But that is probably because you do not live where I live.

I can now no longer park outside my house; I am woken by the sound of drunken darlings singing and professing undying friendship; the sound of shouted argments and hatred. Then there is vomit on the pavement.

They look so different in the library, mind you. And if you are a Mum or a Dad, don't worry, it is not your child who is being naughty. It is the others.

(I reserve the right to be cynical on a Sunday morning after no sleep. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.)

Friday, September 16, 2005


Interesting thing on culture here about a kid who understands a maths problem as a social comlplex. The teacher has assumed a numerical solution, but instead gets a cultural analysis.
Very nice.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Space Travel

One of my fabulous MA students includes this quotation in her dissertation. (It is a very interesting snippet to choose; on the face of it, this could look racist. It does not seem to accept the idea of multi-culturalism; of sets of beliefs, rituals and practices able to co-exist. It looks somehow intolerant...)

Different cultures, the difference between cultural practices, the difference in the construction of cultures within different groups …however rational you are … it is actually very difficult, even impossible and counterproductive, to try to fit together different forms of culture and pretend that they can easily coexist. The assumption that at some level all forms of cultural diversity may be understood on the basis of a particular universal concept, whether it be ‘human being’, ‘class’ or ‘race’, can be both very dangerous and very limiting in trying to understand the ways in which cultural practices construct their own systems of meaning and social organisation.
(Bhabha in Rutherford, 1990, p.209)
But in fact Bhabha is talking about the process of hybridity, or third space. He is talking about the coming together of different cultures then finding a need to negotiate, to come up with newer ways of being together. JC (Fab student) also found this:

the negotiation of cultural identity involves the continual interface and exchange of cultural performances that in turn produce a mutual and mutable recognition (or representation) of cultural difference.
(Graves, 1998)
It is about being flexible, able to change over time... obviously you don't want me to go on and on and on about this... but the theory is great I think for describing some online spaces. (Bhabha is talking about colonialism). Some spaces manage to bring people together who have shared interests, a fascination over the same things, like Flickr; ebay; illness support sites; cooking blogs . (Obviously this view derives from Gee.) In interacting over content brought to the space, I think that what happens is firstly a 'show and tell' phase, but then as the affiliations mature, there is a sense of exchange, of development of a specific culture in that space. I would not say that it would transform affiliates' lives; what I would say is that in that space negotiations occur.
Got that off my chest then.
Inter-galactic tourism

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sheffield city of contrasts

In August, as I mentioned earlier, Sheffield went a bit wacky for a few days and plonked sand in the middle of the city centre. Bizarrely, there were donkey rides, all sorts of sideshows, even an automated surfboard, and all sorts of seaside stuff.

I was struck by the mix of people and felt mesmerised by the way complete strangers all mixed together and joined in with the fun. It is strange how we learn to immerse ourselves in parallel play at such times; doing the same thing as others but somehow pretending they are not all there. We avert our gaze - very cleverly as we also acknowledge each other in respectful ways.

One of my shots captures the medley of people in all their contrasting glory. It tends to be only the young, who break cultural rules and sometimes stare.


Of course photographers stare too, hiding behind their cameras and somehow get away with it. For the first time, some people ASKED me to take their photo!!

I have photoshopped this image to look like a painting as the scene reminded me of a children's jigsaw puzzle.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Our Lady of Tenth Avenue

Our Lady of Tenth Avenue
Originally uploaded by caromira.
This is for Kate; Queen of Arty Facts.
Click on the image and look at the other photos in the series.

I'm a Barbie girl, in a Bar-bie wo-orld (la la)

Oh dear.

There have been complaints about Barbie setting up unreal expectations for girls ... and no, not what you think.

This time it is not about her pointy bosoms and tiny feet creating a physiological dream/nightmare for impressionable young minds. It is not about the fact that she is impeccable looking, with westernised notions of beauty.

Of course not. That would be dull.

The complaint is about CEO Barbie who sets up impossible career goals for young girls:

"This doll furthers the myth that if a woman works hard and sticks to her guns, she can rise to the top," said Frederick Lang of the Changes Institute, a children's advocacy organization. "Our young girls need to learn to accept their career futures, not be set up with ridiculously unattainable images."

Well I never.

The full report (with picture) is here.

We all know that the only chance that Barbie has of getting rich is to divorce Ken and get his car, house, horse, boat and treasured Harley Davidson.

Oh and by the way, have you checked out Barbie's friend Becky? She is in the para-olympics..

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Freeze frames

Sometimes people keep nice and still so you can take photos. And my girl was out and about again, collecting photos for her Flickr stream... I was allowed to take this


The plants in Sheffield botanical gardens are amazing:


And there are some gorgeous trees:


It is amazing that these days squirrels seem so tame - and there are so many. This one sat still while I took his photo:

nut face

Meanwhile it was hard to see whether it was art imitating nature or the other way round here:


And finally I was pleased to capture this in Vienna:

freezer face

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Normally, knitted artifacts are cute.
I like a bit of subversion sometimes, they can make you challenge your assumptions ... although these may well be considered bad taste...

bad  taste

little accident

We tend to think that knitted artifacts are for kids to play with and that they should not evoke certain aspects of our world. The pieces here challenge that such artifacts are just for kids and obviously depict things not usually thought of as toys. Nevertheless of course, kids do include bad things happening in their play and lots of the stories we read to them reflect the darker side of our lives.

If you are really curious you will see more here. But I am not sure that the artist was thinking along the same lines as me.

Cheers to Bitch PhD for the tip off.

Friday, September 09, 2005

On the Move

NY on the Move0007
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom.

Advertising imitating life?

(NY on the Move0007 Originally uploaded by lorenzodom)


Originally uploaded by
This is what happens to your head if you think too much.
Be sensible.
Take a break.
(Head Originally uploaded by A-A)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Quotidian

Out of the messy maze of happenings, ideas, sights, sounds and experiences I bump into on daily basis, I try to pull a single strand and pick a path through, designing some kind of narrative or single idea for my blog posts.
It is sometimes hard, to squash the ephemera into some kind of moulded shape that will be recognisable, comprehensible, to anyone else. On other occasions it is hard to even see that there is anything in front of me to say anything about. It all looks plain, unremarkable, ordinary.
This (almost) daily blogging ritual has of course heightened my senses and I look around me as I move from morning to night (and back again) for moments, insights, curios I can bring to this spot.
It is the same on Flickr, everyone looks about them for inspiration. As well as showing high points, moments of celebration, they present curios, family affairs and effervescent happenings. They often exoticise the mundane. Flickrites seek the unique in the ordinary, or represent the ordinary to us again and we recognise it in new ways.
We see our lives online, mediated by pixcels, words and graphics, presented afresh.
So we have stuff like

Desk space;
Kitsch in bin;
The Bag Pool
People on cell phones;
Even stuff like this snack bar or this snack.

And if you have ever been on Flickr you will already know so many more.
And there is no doubt that I have become more visually aware, so that I see images like



Kate's new bag

this sort of thing:

are evidence of this.

When I was in Berlin last year, I was acutely aware of the liminal spaces in that city; the inbetween spaces, the ignored terrains between official happenings and sites. I have pictures and posts here.

In writing about 'the everyday', Joe Moran prefers theFrench term 'quotidian', sinve he says it better captures the essence of mundane, boring, routinised and ritual daily practices.

Just into the introduction I am loving Moran's book. Little gems litter the text and he has gathered some gorgeous quotations, such as Sartre's observation that people in bus queues are a

'plurality of isolations' .

I also find Moran's view of cultural studies as being either about one of two things: 'ritual' or 'popular consumption' an interesting angle.

(And probably I should have put this post on Blogtrax.)

they're baaaack.

they're baaaack.
Originally uploaded by Caromira.

These are the sugar dudes. You can buy them from a bakery in Manhattan and they have new colours every week.

Trouble is they can make you feel REALLY ill when you eat them ... Click here then watch the slide show, (by clicking on 'View as slideshow' in blue text to the right of the thumbnail images.)
And while we are on the subject, contributing photos of cakes to Flickr is quite common.
Special K 13 has this :


And if you like this theme there is a cupcake set here. You may or may not know that there are many cooking blogs and this is one really like. It has Kate's Malteser cake and the links down the side are excellent.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


you sometimes just have to take a little breathing space and stop working.
Kiddoes, I have been up since 7 and am still at my computer having spent the day dutifully reading dissertations, timetables, papers, and a million e mails. My mail box is now down from 96 to 33. Hooray.

Time to bloggy well blog.

The very exciting news is that (and here is the confession) as I was eating breakfast I happened to peep at Vitriolica's Flickr stream and left a comment on the weird pic here.

Not content with that, I popped across to her blog just to checkout the story behind the weird picture.

There I discovered that the cat thing had been bought by DrRob.


It was shortly after this that the blogosphere came close to exploding into my meatspace.

Wow yes dear readers!!!! It very nearl did.

It turns out. (And I know this will blow your minds.) That one of Vitriolica's friends, and comrades from in The Big Blogger house only turns out to be Dr Rob of Plymouth University!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dyougetme? The Blogosphere is shrinking.

(You know the same university patronised by Simply Clare and Professor Victoria Carrington.) - Do I have to exlain everything?

How do I know this??


Dr Rob has left a comment on this blog.

And to think I voted him out of the Big Blogger House... I regret this now of course.
Because I truly really feel we have truly bonded.

No sight so perfect as hindsight, kiddoes.

Check out his cyberpad here.

Get your selves over and you will not regret it.


I have been so BUSY!!!

And still have so much marking, admin, and stuff stuff stuff.
Will do nice blog post tonight but in the meantime, here are some of the eye feasts I had in Lincoln att the Play, Digital literacies and Creativity seminar at the end of last week....

See if you can work out some of the things I did ...







There is a prize for anyone who can locate all of these items correctly.

About Me

My photo
Sheffield, South Yorks, United Kingdom
I am an academic interested in New Literacies, Digital Lifestyles, Informal Online Learning.