vrijdag 17 juni 2016

Next walking seminar: 22 July



Come to our next edition of the walking seminar, with the theme 'Negative appraisals'

The next walking seminar will be on Friday July 22nd from 12:00 o’clock (Note: this is an hour earlier than ususal – we are hoping to take a long walk through the dunes) until early evening.

This walking seminar will be devoted to the question how to handle our own negative appraisals of situations we encounter in the field.

You may think that some people in your field of research find themselves in dire situations. There are structural problems. You may also think that some people in your field research mean well but do things that are bad (ill considered, nasty, counterproductive, what have you). You may think that some people in your field of research are abusive in one way or another. You encounter practices that, in one way or another, you consider to be/go wrong. What to do? Articulate criticism; suggest improvements; file complaints? Step back and refrain from judgements? Seek others within the field, who voice your negative appraisals for you?

And where to do these things, for which audiences?

And how does this ‘being negative’ in your writings relate to the effort that the people in the field may have put into your research; to the welcome they offered you; to the relations you established with them? 

If you would like to join us on this edition then please sign up before July 15th by sending an email to Annelieke at a.e.driessen@uva.nlAnnelieke will make a list of walkers and provide those on the list with further information on the route.

maandag 9 mei 2016

Walking and Talking about 'Your Audience' in Breukelen

Thank you to all those who walked and talked with us in Breukelen on Friday.

With beatiful weather and in 27°C we walked through the Dutch 'polderlandschap' and past cows and windmills. 



Meanwhile, we addressed the following questions:

Who do you write for? 
What is the audience you hope for; what is the audience you may expect? How does that all that relate to writing in English; to the venues where you publish; to the style you adopt? 

And how does it affect what you tell or leave untold? How does it emerge in questions and your argument, plot, story line (or how would you call the line in your writing)? 

What are you doing, technically, practically, to include The Reader in your work? How do you seduce, appeal to, convince, or otherwise reach out to the audience that you imagine?






This resulted in fruitful conversations about how audiences differ, which different styles of writing and varying degrees of explanations they require, how combining audiences may improve texts or make them illegible to some, and/or boring for others. We discussed how writing for an audience in your mother tongue may add new insights to your argument usually written in English. How 'intranslatables' may enrich your understanding of your object of research. We wondered why we read texts unrelated to our research topics and what they may offer us - and exchanged thoughts on how we may learn something from every text. 




Thank you for joining and if you did not, we hope to see you next month!

vrijdag 6 mei 2016

Your audience

Dear walkers,

At 13:00 today we will set out to Breukelen to walk and talk in this beautiful weather!!

The central question that we will address in this edition of the walking seminar is: Who do you write for? This question is relevant right from the start of your research project as it informs the questions you may need/want to ask. And it stays relevant all the way to the end as you adapt your style, your tone, your speed, the kind of footnotes you make, and what not, to The Reader.

Various further questions follow. What is the audience you hope for; what is the audience you may expect? One way or another, you will have to include your committee in your audience. Do you also want to include your funders? Your informants? The authors you quote? Professionals or policy makers or people from various disciplines?
And how does that all that relate to writing in English; to the venues where you publish; to the style you adopt? And how does it affect what you tell or leave untold? How does it emerge in questions and your argument, plot, story line (or how would you call the line in your writing)?
What are you doing, technically, practically, to include The Reader in your work? How do you seduce, appeal to, convince, or otherwise reach out to the audience that you imagine?

We look forward to walking with you today!

vrijdag 1 april 2016

After the previous walking seminar and before the next...


Once again we enjoyed a wonderful walk - this time from 



We were a large group of about fifteen, and talked about 'the field before and after you'. This led to inspiring conversations aboutthe difficulty of setting boundaries to how much history to take into account when analysing and depicting the field in writing, and the difiiculty of deciding that data collection is now, finally (or 'at least for this one article') over. 



Thank you all for joining and being such an inspiration, again!
The next walking seminar will take place in May (date is to be confirmed)! I hope to see many of you then.

woensdag 16 maart 2016

March Edition of the Walking Seminar coming up!





In keeping with tradition, but also to enjoy the advent of spring, the next walking seminar will take place on Thursday 24 March 2016.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor walking in spring
A quick recap of what the walking seminar is: the Walking Seminar is a seminar. However, it does not take place behind closed doors. Instead, seminar participants leave the city and go to some place where it is green. There they walk two by two. For some time (say, 15 minutes) their conversation focusses on the work of person A. Then roles shift and they talk (for another 15 minutes) about the work of person B. After 30 minutes there is a shift in walking partners and the process starts again. And then again. If need be, you may discuss acute research problems. However, as seminars go, we also have a shared topic/theme. 



For this edition the theme is is The field before and after you. We want to address the question how to handle things/events/figures that precede or come after you. What to do with everything that happened in your field before you arrived: how much history do you need to know in order to get a grasp of the present? And what about life in the field going on without you, what about everything that happens while you spend your time analysing and writing? Even if you seek to know ‘the present’,  what you write about lies in the past by the time your texts get published... how to assure, then, that your writings are not obsolete?



vrijdag 12 februari 2016

Walking Seminar Ethnographic Methods




Never mind the wind! 
Never mind the cold! 
Never mind the mud! 

Despite all of this 18 University of Amsterdam PhDs and 
Professor Annemarie Mol set out to walk and talk 
about ethnographic methods. 

What are good ways to handle the tension between
asking a research question that is too open, 
risking to lack direction, 
and one that is too closed, 
risking to miss surprises?



Each walking-pair arrived at answers and new questions for their research.
Thanks to all participants for such a fruitful afternoon!

The next walking seminar will take place on 24. March. The theme will be announced shortly.

maandag 4 januari 2016

First edition Walking Seminar 2016: Ethnographic methods and guiding questions



With the best wishes for 2016, we would like to announce the first edition of the Walking Seminar 2016. It will take place on the 29th of January and will carry the theme that we never got to walk and talk about last year due to excessive rain.

Ethnographic methods and guiding questions
Here is the tension: if you go into the field without a question your investigations risks to lack direction and you may not get any kind of grasp on what is going on. However, with a question that is too tight or too tightly handled, you may not be open enough to surprises. What are good ways of handling that tension in the practice of doing ethnographic research – that is to say what are good ways in your research?

If you are in the very last stage of a project, this tension has not gone away. For even if you are no longer in the position to gather more stories from the field, you still face the question how to tell those stories: as answers to questions you (ever so astutely) asked or as surprising findings that unexpectedly hit you in the face? (There may be other variants... you are free to discuss while walking!)

For those who would like to orient their thinking beforehand, here is a possibly inspiring text:

        Taylor, Janelle S. 2014. “The Demise of the Bumbler and the Crock: From Experience to Accountability in Medical Education and Ethnography.” American Anthropologist 116 (3): n/a – n/a. doi:10.1111/aman.12124.