It’s good to talk

So said the old adverts.

Talking, I’ve realised, is the lifeblood of academia. Conversations build subject knowledge, develop ideas, create collaborations and build relationships. Dialogue drives progress.

I really like talking to people – making new contacts, hearing about their fields of interest, exploring ideas. Although, admittedly, at the moment I’m doing far more listening than talking; I’m joining a community of very knowledgeable people and there’s the twin anxieties of knowing they know so much more than me and trying not to say anything that makes me look like a complete numpty.

But that’s going to be changing in the New Year.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve accepted three invitations to talk about the project – two at academic conferences and one Sunday afternoon talk at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway. I’ll also be submitting a couple of abstracts to upcoming conferences, so there may be more!

The first of these, in January, is the first 2016 workshop of the Northern Network for Medical Humanities. The line-up features some very experienced medical humanities researchers from across Glasgow, and there’ll be even more in attendance on the day. It’s a great opportunity to showcase the project from a very early stage, to get some feedback on the approaches we’ll be taking and to make some new contacts within the field.

I’m looking forward to it but I wouldn’t discount there being some butterflies on the day. Time to dig out the advice I used to give to my school debaters!

The talks are also proving great motivators – there would be NOTHING more embarrassing that turning up without the promised talk to deliver. But to write the talk, you need to get the work done.

There’s nothing like a deadline looming to focus the mind!


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