Blog Gigs Facts Music Shop Links
home >  blog :  current /  archive /  RSS Feed

Blog: Conferencing At The Seaside

< previous next >
I've spent most of this week so far in sunny (and also occasionally rainy) BRIGHTON at the Association of Research Managers and Administrators Conference. This was a big gathering of people who work on... well, managing and administrating research, mostly in Universities and charities, and THUS I was there in my capacity as someone what does that for a living. It was a whole lot of ACTUAL FUN!

ARMA is a BIG conference, with over 700 people in attendance, spread over several large rooms in a massive seafront hotel. The UAL contingent descended EN MASSE with a DOZEN of us there, including a load of people from my department. We all stayed in the same hotel and hung around together a LOT, and it turned out to be GRATE because they are an EXCELLENT bunch. One of the many things I like about my current job is because I like the people i work with, and whereas in some of my past jobs (NOT ALL!) the idea of hanging around with people from work in NOT work time would fill me with dread, this time it was DELIGHTFUL. The only downside was that over time I became increasingly GARRULOUS and started MENTIONING aspects of my BACKSTORY and unleashing Humorous Remarks to a previously unseen level, so my colleagues may not feel quite the same way about me!

As with all conferences the talks themselves were VARIABLE. I've not been to this conference before and noticed that there was a definite trend towards EXTENDED "A Little Bit About Me" introductions. I am NOT a fan of this sort of thing - as I always say, if I wanted to know more about the lives of people I have never met before I would ASK - and my views were very much re-affirmed here. At one session there were four speakers and the spent ten minutes each - EACH - giving LENGTHY descriptions of their work history - "so I applied for that job but didn't get it which was disappointing but what can you do and then the job came up again and somebody mentioned it but I didn't think I would get it but they said to apply and so I did and what do you know but I got an interview and..." AD INFINITUM. I honestly felt like I was never going to get out!

Others were much better, notably a Keynote from Harriet Beveridge. It was advertised as using "stand up comedy and humour" to help people through research administration work, which filled me with UTTER DREAD but it turned out to not only be DEAD GOOD but also FUNNY, which is a very very difficult thing to do just before lunch in a massive auditorium to several hundred tired-eyed administrators. I LARFED!

The conference also had ACADEMIC POSTERS, which is something I have not been involved with for about a DECADE. Back when I worked at Birkbeck my boss was forever getting me to knock up posters for him and I got quite adept at making them with POWERPOINT. For those not in the know, Academic Posters are MASSIVE great things (A0 in this case) which usually act like a short paper with a big font so people can read it from a distance. However, when the call came round for proposals I thought "Hang on, they don't HAVE to be like that do they? If I did a poster about the benefits of being an administrator who also actually DOES research, I could do it as a COMIC!"

And so that is what I did - titled "The Adventures Of Administrator-who-is-also-a-Researcher" - and it took FLIPPING FOREVER. It turns out that making comics is HARD, especially when you want to make an ACTUAL COMIC that properly follows comics grammar, and not one of those boring ones which are EITHER an illustrated essay OR just a character talking to the audience. It turns out that the REASON academic comics are usually one of the two above is that those are an awful lot easier to do!

Eventually I got it finished, did some PEER REVIEW (i.e. asking my colleagues "does this make me look like a dickhead?") and got it printed off, lugged down to the seaside, and put up with velcro THUS:

As you can see, I was quite pleased with it! If you'd like a closer look it's available to download from UAL's outputs repository along with a VIDEO of me (briefly) explaining it. I spent both lunchtimes standing NEAR it, as you're meant to do that in case people want to ask questions, but to be honest mostly I talked to people about 2000AD! It was all very jolly and was even MORE jolly on the final day when they announced the results of the competition where delegaes could vote for their favourite poster. THIS happened:

I won! I was FLIPPING DELIGHTED I can tell you - I was very very tempted to copy Ronaldo's goal celebration from the night before and run along pointing in the face of other delegates but I just about managed to resist as I feel it would not have come across as PROFESSIONAL. Instead I wandered round the corner to Forbidden Planet and spent too much money on COMICS instead.

It was a BRILL ending to what had turned out to be a FUN few days. Conferences are GRATE!

posted 20/6/2024 by MJ Hibbett

< previous next >


It's not solid colour! (or UEL)
posted 20/6/2024 by Ray Lichtenstein

If you wanted to know more about the lives of people you have never met before you would ASK? Couldn't you just read their websites, blogs, and twitter feeds instead?
posted 20/6/2024 by Parasocial relationships are IN

A 100MB Acrobat pdf? For solid color swaths that would compress losslessly really well? That is OVERKILL. Just think of all the GROUNDBREAKING RESEARCH that the UEL repository could be holding instead. Honestly, it's just like encoding your tunes to more than 64kbps, to no discernable improvement in audio quality. Putting them on an audio CD designed for classical music? OVERKILL.
posted 20/6/2024 by save the bits, save the bytes, save the trees

Okay, the all-consuming indiscriminate giant of Open Source is a subtle reference to GALACTUS. As a comics character, MONEY would need to appeal to a wider audience than just the UK, so should really be wearing a widely recognizable DOLLAR SIGN rather than POUNDS STERLING, especially since EUROS are not locally popular these days. But toting dollar-sign bling would indicate that he's a RAPPER. And he's standing next to a bloke wearing a clock... that's FLAVOR FLAV! Time and Money are not just your enemies, they're PUBLIC ENEMIES. Hoho, that's very good. The aptly named STERLING VOID is unfortunately American, and unavailable. Analysing comics is PEASY. There's probably a paper in this.
posted 21/6/2024 by You should read my reviews of Alan Moore's stuff, where I provide EVIDENCE that Night Owl is BATMAN.

I'm sorry I confused UEL and UAL. My apologies to the University of East London.
posted 29/6/2024 by Where's London University?

I'm sorry I confused UEL and UAL. My apologies to the University of East London.
posted 29/6/2024 by Where's London University?

Your Comment:
Your Name:
SPAMBOT FILTER: an animal that says 'miaow' (3)

(e.g. for an animal that says 'cluck' type 'hen')

Twitter /  Bandcamp /  Facebook /  YouTube
Click here to visit the Artists Against Success website An Artists Against Success Presentation