Webinar and Staging Posts

The DPC is running a webinar on the contents of my paper on 29th June, and yesterday I completed the slides for it. With that done, I am completely up to date with all of my Journey activities and this left me feeling unburdened and relaxed.

By chance, yesterday was also the day on which Richard Harper, a sociologist colleague from my CSCW days, dropped in for a chat. I’d come across Richard’s name in a paper I’d read in the course of my investigation into Digital Age Artefacts. The paper recounted insightful work into what people actually kept in their houses – highly relevant to stuff I’m doing – and I remember Richard as being a particularly interesting person to talk to. I looked him up on the web and discovered he had spent many years at the Microsoft Research Centre in Cambridge in the Socio-Digital Systems Group, investigating topics such as the myth of the paperless office and  communications in the digital age. I got to thinking that it would be great to talk to him to get a different take on what I’d been doing and what I might do next. I managed to reach him through his blog and we arranged for him to call in here in Lavendon on his way home from a trip to Chipping Norton (the scene of the three CSCW meetings which he and I attended in the early 90s). Before he arrived I spent an hour listening to four or five of his talks on YouTube, and then we had a very pleasant couple of hours discussing digitisation stuff over lunch.

It was good to see Richard again – and very kind of him to spend the time with me. As a result I have all sorts of new thoughts and perspectives rolling round my head which I know will take a few weeks to work through and take shape. Our conversation was the perfect opportunity to reassess what I’m doing before I set out on the next phases of these journeys. An immediate thought that shines through, though, is that perhaps I should treat my future ventures to make use of the digital artefacts I have collected, as though they were one of the treasure hunt type games that I have occasionally devised for my family. i.e. things that are occasional and intriguing and fun.

So, yesterday certainly felt like a memorable staging post in the things I have been doing. Oh, and by the way, as I write this I’m discovering that this morning appears to be a staging post in the UK’s journey – we appear to have voted to leave the European Union…

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