My last post was a bit of a downer, so today’s blog post is intentionally designed to combat that. It’s all about good things, and I think I’m going to make this a monthly thing. If you enjoy it, let me know – give it a like, leave a comment, or perhaps think about ending your months by focussing on the good things.
As I’ve been exploring creative science communication techniques over the last few months I’ve been consuming a lot of online ‘content’ – YouTube videos, blog posts, Instagram and Twitter posts etc etc. A big focus of the Fellowship that I’m currently on involves exploring how science bloggers and micro-bloggers can learn from people doing creative things in other fields, and it’s becoming more and more obvious to me that science bloggers focus on science. That sounds dumb, but hear me out. People that blog about science tend to focus purely on science; often they’re not opening up and talking about their other hobbies and things they want to achieve in their personal lives for example. Clearly that’s a sweeping generalisation, but I think it holds at least some truth. In contrast, other fields of bloggers – usually ‘lifestyle’, ‘beauty’ or ‘fashion’ bloggers tend to open up a bit more, and that in turn makes it easier for people to engage with the content they produce. Ultimately these bloggers become sort of virtual friends to their viewers, and I think that’s a really nice way to improve engagement. I think we should be doing more of that it the sciences. Lots of these ‘other’ (clunky word, but basically I mean non-science bloggers) end each month with content that involves reflections on the best products they’ve used, books they’ve read or experiences they’ve had, so I’m bringing that to my blog for 2019.
So, enough waffle! I’m going to split things into 5 broad categories for now, mainly as a reminder that every single good thing about a month should not be related to food.
Good things about January 2019:
This is the biggest category because I’ve been travelling and having so many incredible conversations with so many incredible people. I’ve chosen to highlight the 3 people that have made me think, inspired me to do better, and made me laugh, in that order:
- Dawn Bazely – a powerhouse of a woman. I met Dawn in Toronto to talk all things science communication and engagement, not only did she spend time recounting her experiences with me, she boosted my confidence, made me laugh and invited me into her home. We need more people like this in the world.
- Kyle Marian Viterbo – another incredible woman. Kyle is working hard to change the landscape of science communication; to make it inclusive, diverse and valued. After speaking to her I was simultaneously angry at the state of things now, and hopeful that there are people like her (and now me!) making a conscious effort to improve things.
- Krishana Sankar – I’ve been following Krish on social media for aaaaages and we finally got to meet when I was in Toronto earlier this month. It felt like catching up with an old friend; lots of shared experiences and laughter, and I’m so glad that she’s part of the science communication community I’ve met online.
- Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, Washington DC – wonderful book shop that opens late and has a restaurant that serves incredible desserts. If I ever go missing, look here first.
- Blagden Alley, Washington DC – two blocks of incredible street art with loads of good brunch places nearby.
- ARTECHOUSE, Washington DC – a brilliant immersive art/science/technology experience.
- STATE Studio, Berlin – teeny art/science studio that explores big science questions using art.
Book(s) of the month
- Fiction: Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery – I picked this up in Second Story Books in Washington DC and read it as a cosy read when my depression was becoming a bit overwhelming. I loved it, it made me feel like a child.
- Short story collection: Pulse Points by Jennifer Down – fabulous short story collection with no weak points.
- Non-fiction: My Conversations with Canadians by Lee Maracle – I picked this up at Another Story in Toronto and holy actual crap it blew my terribly ignorant mind.
- YouTube video: Why I’m not shopping in 2019 – my no-buy challenge: Leena Norms
The idea of consumerism is something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot this month, and this video made me reflect on my own relationship with shopping and the quest for happiness through constantly aiming for more stuff.
- Article: An Israeli company claims that they will have a cure for cancer in a year. Don’t believe them: Vicky Forster Disclaimer – I met Vicky when I was in Toronto this month, and she took me for the best middle eastern food I’ve ever had. Her excellent taste in tahini, falafel and hummus did not cause my awe for this article.
One specific moment
- Seeing my friend Lacy in New York after 5 years of communicating via very sporadic Skype sessions. We had a huuuuge catch up which was well overdue, when I was ill she brought me noodles and medicine, and she didn’t get too embarrassed when I shouted ‘I looooove youuuuuu’ down the hallway as she was leaving.
- Being invited to present work from my PhD at a conference later this year – this sounds like something really small, but being invited to talk anywhere still feels massive for me.
Writing all of that down makes it clear just how hectic and wonderful January was. Not every month will be so jam-packed (at least I hope not!), but I think it’s important to take some time to reflect and celebrate the good things, however big or small.
What have you loved about January? Leave a comment below and let me know 🙂