Ideas are of course things

I self identify to some extent on the ASD spectrum so that what Smiljana describes as Manning’s description of autistic experience is how I experience ideas in conversations. They are things as rich and vibrant and interconnected as the trees/fungi community that David talked about.

As ideas they aren’t single things but multi faceted assemblages that simultaneously join with other multifaceted assemblages (that’s what an idea is for me). They really are very clear to me what they are, how they can, might, could, do connect, and what to do with them (how to join them). (Which is a common trait in autism, you assume that what is in your head and perfectly understandable is also in everyone else’s head and so you don’t need to explain because, well, that seems pointless and obvious).

They are vibrant, entangled and screaming all at once. So it is hard for me to navigate my through or respond with “that’s interesting I wonder if” for me it’s more like “look!” and “there’s more” and “shh, this one we need to sneak up on”. An analogy might be a slalom K1 canoeist. Everyone else sees waves and furious water with things you don’t want to hit. Mess and power really. The slalom kayaker sees not only lots of ways through, but each one is different in its own way. That stopper will let you get to that eddy which will let you use its flow of the water to cross to that chute and immediately behind that stopper is dead water that will let you.. and so on. More importantly, you don’t sit there and discuss it. The river doesn’t quite let you have that time and pause (it can give a little), but it is as much about diving into that flow and riding with it because that’s the point.

OK, enough therapy.

To Meer

I was reading a copy of Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter and misread the following as “the most difficult to conceive and write, because I stage a meering between the (meta)physics of vital materialism…”. “meering” is of course “meeting”. However, I think meering is a wonderful word and ought to be used. Wikipedia tells me Meering is a parish in Nottinghamshire, but it has a tone of something else, doesn’t it? Merging, worlding, meeting, verging, converging, diverging. They’re all in amongst it there.

Play and Academic Writing

Play can occur only among those willing to risk letting go of the literal.
Haraway, Donna J. When Species Meet.

Minneapolis: Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2007. Print. p. 239.

The following I think is quite an extraordinary description of what play does, it begins after a discussion of a friendship between a dog and a donkey:

I want to stay with altered temporal sequencing for a moment. Functional patterns put a pretty tight constraint on the sequence of actions in time: first stalk; then run to outflank; then head, bunch, and cut out the selected prey; then lunge; then bite and kill; then dissect and tug. The sequences in a serious conspecific fight or in any other of the important action patterns for making a living are different but no less sequentially disciplined. Play is not making a living; it discloses living. Time opens up. Play, like Christian grace, can allow the last to become first, with joyful results.

Donna J. When Species Meet. Minneapolis: Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2007. Print. p. 240.

I am going to use this as part of an argument to support a different practice of academic writing in my own work.

Postdoctoral Research

If you are an outstanding recent PhD graduate (or about to complete your PhD) with demonstrable world class outcomes, interested in undertaking leading research (thesis or project based) in interactive documentary attached to RMIT’s non/fictionLab, then this might be for you. If interested, please:

  1. read the requirements and outline of the Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowships
  2. get in touch with me (Dr. Adrian Miles, co-director, non/fictionLab

  3. and note that your application must be submitted by September 4

[If you meet these criteria but this deadline is of concern please get in touch. These are annual.]

RMIT University is now inviting applications from emerging researchers who have the potential to become high performing researchers. Applications close: 4 September 2016.

These 3 year Fellowships are aimed at recent PhD graduates with up to 5 years’ experience post award of PhD (relative to opportunity) or those who will shortly satisfy the requirements for the award of PhD.

Fellowship recipients will be located in Schools and undertaking research which is aligned with at least one of RMIT’s 8 Enabling Capability Platforms.

Benefits:
The Research and Innovation Portfolio will fund 100% of salary and on-costs (up to Academic level B/2) for a period of three years, plus a research support allowance of $10,000 per annum for the three years.

The School will support the Fellow with:

  • a research only position, embedded in a high performing research team for at least the duration of their VC Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • any relocation and visa costs
  • workplanning which includes mentoring and research training and development planning
  • full support for the appointee as per any academic staff member, including but not limited to, space and infrastructure sufficient for the position

If you have any questions or queries regarding the Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme, or the VC Outstanding Researcher Scheme more generally, please visit the website or email researchfellowships@rmit.edu.au.

Caprice

Very nice passage from The Age sports journalist Greg Baum on Jess Fox’s bronze medal paddle:

Fox has the proven skill to deal with the hazards better than any other, and the personality to handle profile and pressure, too. But there is also an element more usual in winter sports: caprice. It introduces an almost moral dimension, a test of character, to the sport, vividly illustrated this day. When in trouble, a runner can push harder, a swimmer or rower lift their rating. Even gymnasts get a chance to recover. But in kayaking, a missed gate is a closed door, and even nicking one is irredeemable. The merest slip – it might be you, it might be a rogue eddy – is death.