zaterdag 21 augustus 2010

Travelling in many senses...

This time, we travelled in many senses. We travelled by train from Amsterdam Centraal to Baarn, foot from Baarn to Hollandsche Rading, and by train again from Hollandsche Rading back to Amsterdam Centraal. We also talked about travelling, more precisely, how to make our work travel. Here are the questions. May they travel far...

The questions:

although you may have a nice supervisor, just writing for her/him is not what you always dreamt about – you would like to reach a somewhat larger Audience. Very good. So let’s talkwalk about what might be good ways of doing so – given the parameters of your topic, research questions etc.
what is the story or the point in/of your work that is most to dear and important to you? what/who is the implied ‘enemy’ of your work and/or what would change if your audience would believe you? do you write as if you want to convince your enemy? bystanders? or do you write for your intellectual friends? when to do what? what about writing for 'the big shots' versus writing for 'the next generation'?

who might already be interested in your topic? in your empirical field? in your theoretical inventions? in your ways of working (methods for doing research, styles of writing)?
who else might you actively interest, make interested? what is needed for that: how to link the interests of ‘the other’ to your work? which ‘other’ to target in that attempt and which other others to forget about (for now...)?

what are the gaps to mind: language (English – or something else?), country (who wants to know about anything that happens in the Netherlands? or in Bangladesh? what are good ways to bypass a lack of intrinsic interest in places like this? what to do with the fact that part of the audience has lots of background knowledge about these places while others do not?), discipline (there are still huge investments in Sociology or Anthropology, etc and so on: how to relate to that?) background knowledge about the field/topic (e.g. marine biology may seem something only specialists would dare to read about; while, by contrast, restaurants are a topic many readers presume they know more about than a young PhD might ever hope to – etc)

it might be helpful to also discuss some texts that you and your then talk-walk companion have both read and then wonder/analyse what it is that makes those texts travel or not travel

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