Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New blog!

Hello, thank you for visiting Siberian Ginseng! I kept this blog from 2010 to 2013 and it covers most of my PhD writing and some of what came afterwards. Feel free to browse about.

These days I blog over at definitive knots about writing, performing and my on-again-off-again relationship with academia. I am also on twitter and instagram.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Exploring interests

I'm doing an Alternative Dispute Resolution course at UWA at the moment - it's run through the Law Faculty by Jill Howieson and David Rogers and goes for ten weeks, with an optional accreditation examination at the end of it. We're over halfway through now, so I thought I should look back on the experience so far.

I'm doing the course because I'm the Equity & Diversity Adviser for the Education faculty, so having some dispute resolution skills will/do come in handy. At the same time, though, mediation is a process I've been interested in for a while anyway, so I'm pleased I have the opportunity to take the course from a broader perspective as well.

Having said that, I was a little bit concerned about the course in advance - ten weekly three-hour sessions after a full day at work? With potentially very procedural and legalistic content? You'd have to be mad!

Fortunately the course has been a lot more exciting - we've really focused on negotiation, interest exploration and the underlying motivations and feelings that drive people to say and do particular things. Talking about feelings all evening is something I rather enjoy, and I end up feeling peculiarly energised from the session.

There are roughly thirty of us on the course: some are UWA staff and some are external from law firms or government departments. We do a lot of role-playing, with everyone getting a chance at some point to be a mediator in a dispute between two aggrieved parties.  It can be challenging to phrase things appropriately, to avoid negative language ("well it looks like you've come to a stalemate here") and to focus on the process and getting the parties to work through to an outcome (not a "solution"!) of their own doing. There are also some similarities with teaching that I appreciate - you don't want to give away the solutions, you want to make silences work for you and so on.

I'm still getting my head around the different stages of the mediation process and how to progress from one to another, but I'm enjoying the experience and quietly committing myself to take the examination at the end of the course.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Reinvented traditions: a "national" costume once removed

When I graduated my mother wanted to give me something suitably traditional, like Kalevala Koru jewellery, as a present. I thought about it for a little while and decided on Hollola fabric.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Film for Theatre: Henry V and Jesus Christ Superstar

Over the weekend I attended two performances: a screening of Shakespeare's Globe's Henry V at Cinema Paradiso and Jesus Christ Superstar at Perth Arena.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Body Image Playlist

No commentary from me this time, enjoy (?) these poached thoughts on a theme.

"Pretty", Katie Makkai

"Wrinkled Ladies", Anita Renfroe

"TV advertising", Mitchell & Webb

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Are you offended?

 I've had plenty of occasion to think about 'offence', largely because I have been on the internet once or twice. The most recent event to bring me back to the concept is the furore around this year's PROSH magazine. Drunk naked West Australian uni students hit the streets to sell racist hate-speech has got to be in the top 10 of headlines your average Vice-Chancellor would not want to have to deal with.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Authenticity: (Un)Real Travel

I'm planning the next trip back to ye olde motherland, and am thinking about all things travel-related. I find it hard to strike a balance between trying to visit as many countries as possible and spending longer stretches somewhere to "really get to know the place". A ridiculous sentiment, but one I cling to.