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Monday, 2 December 2013

Chance meetings and fleeting ideas

The last couple of weeks have led me to reflect on the progress of ideas, and the ways that those very ideas can come to mind as a result of chance encounters.

It doesn't matter who you speak to, where or when. Non-academic, academic, friends, acquaintances, or the couple at the bus-stop - every conversation holds the possibility of a new thought, a fresh idea or a differing perspective.

For example:

A conference paper on 1950s domesticity, made me think about Mary Dawson's emphasis on citizenship, and the education of the whole person beyond merely teacher training.

A conversation about a post-war architect opened an alternative explanatory theme for the mindset of heritage and preservation in 1940s Bath.

Two days spent escorting interview candidates around Newton Park led me to reconsider the estate as part of the wider offer of our institution, and to further clarify the ways this has been addressed over the years.

Talking to family members, a waitress (student) in a coffee shop, and an elderly lady, made me more aware of the particular qualities of teachers, and their general skills-set.

It seems, the further I travel down this postgraduate road, the more ideas there are to accommodate, and the more decisions are yet to be made in terms of direction and focus.

I love Elaine Chalus' image of research as a vast funnel, with ideas pouring in at the top, running down to the pure 'drip' of knowledge at the bottom. I have used the image myself when talking to others, many times. At the moment, my own personal funnel is overflowing, and I think perhaps that a little time may now be required to settle some of my thoughts, rearrange them a little, and begin the analysis process.

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