Busy busy busy…

I’ve not posted much on here in the past month or so as things have been rather hectic as term has gotten into full swing/I’ve been through my busiest teaching spell within it (as well as trying to keep research ticking over). Starting to come out the other end now but has left a rather large amount of commitments sneaking up on me… Some highlights of the past few weeks (and coming weeks) include:

1) Spending a couple of days in Oxford both giving a seminar to the ‘Technological Natures Research Cluster’ in geography and running an informal workshop discussion with DPhil students there on the transition from doctorate into the job market/a job. Was hard to not be horribly negative in the latter given the current climate, but hopefully gave some useful reflections based on having been through it recently. This drew in large part on my post here. The paper I presented in the seminar was titled ‘Ecologies of Performance‘ and hopefully should be working it’s way in the review process of a journal early next year. It builds on some nascent ideas in my thesis from the likes of Bateson, Guattari, Ingold, Bennett and others in outlining an ecological approach to the understanding of embodied practices/the complex relatedness of the body in practice (Illustrated with some reflections on my auto-ethnographic experiences of street performing). Some really useful feedback from the questions (and from Andrew Barry, Derek McCormack and Craig Jeffery in particular) which are going to be a big help in revising it and interesting conversations with Joe Gerlach while there too made it a great trip. Also parted with too much money in the Blackwell bookshop while passing time there (Guattari’s ‘Machinic Unconscious’ and a collection on ‘Phenomenologies of the stranger’).

2) I also presented a version of that paper in Exeter last week which again led to some very useful questions and comments from Pepe Romanillos, Paul Cloke, David Harvey, Nick Gill and John Wylie (who actually sewed the seeds of the paper with some of his comments in my PhD viva). Again, should help even more with the re-drafting process…

3) I’ll be submitting a book chapter to a collection called ‘Medicinal Melodies’ very shortly (draft completed this morning). The chapter again draws on material from my thesis to discuss the ways in which, despite a lot of arguments to the contrary, street performers can contributed to the production of convivial, and so ‘healthy’, public spaces through their presence/the social interactions they can encourage/the affect their music itself can have on listeners.

4) I’ve received invites to write chapters for a couple of other really interesting looking books. First is for a ‘Handbook of Mobilities’ edited by Pete Adey et al on mobile video methods which will draw on the research i’m just about finished doing on cycling. Will be a bit different reflecting on the methods used so immediately after completing the fieldwork (will literally start writing about a week after finishing). Second is for a ‘Media Geography Companion’ and is loosely titled ‘Spaces of Affect’. Not due until April next year, but I’m thinking of focusing on sound, media and affect and particularly thinking about the spatialities of sound and the immersive aspects of sound/the affects of this rather than the screen-based focus of a lot of work I’m familiar with on affect. A nice space to try to open up some new ideas/gives me a good excuse to read a fair few books that have been clogging up my shelves…

5) Finally, and again book related, I received a huge amount of books from a retired ex-behavioural geographer currently living in Plymouth who is moving to Australia so needed to get rid of his books (my fiancé works with his wife who is also a geographer, having done a PhD at Exeter). Images below of some of them, but more Marx than I’m likely to ever digest, a whole load of humanistic geography classics, great classics for teaching, and also some phenomenology (especially Shultz who I’ve not read before). I already have too many books lined up to read, so they can sit in the corner and make me feel guilty for a good while…I did feel like a bit of a vulture thumbing through his collection while he watched over my shoulder, but had a really interesting chat with him and think he was happy to see them find an interested home…

Right, back to writing and paper edits…


About Paul Simpson

I am currently a lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Physical and Geographical Sciences at Keele University. I've previously lectured at Plymouth University, and again at Keele before that. I completed my PhD (titled 'Ecologies of Street Performance: Bodies, Affects, Politics') at the University of Bristol in 2009.
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