On the 4th and 5th of May 2017 I joined a group of other PhD students and Early Career Researchers for a day and a half of networking, discussion of interdisciplinary working, and research proposals at the CREATe Early Career Research Camp. The participants were a mixture of scholars from law, policy, economics, GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums), creative industries, cultural studies, computer science, and social science (and one vaguely lapsed psychologist). It was held at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow which is a great space for all sorts of meetings and collaborations.
After lunch on the first day, and an introduction to the two days, we rearranged the room into two rows and proceeded to ‘speed network’ with the rest of the participants. We had three minutes to introduce ourselves and our research interests, and discuss ways in which we could work together; this was the overall aim of the event – to find a group of around 5 people and come up with an 8-minute proposal for a collaboration. The winning proposal would win £1000 to carry out their ideas. From the networking and various chats throughout the day, I ended up in a group of 5 of us, all from different areas, but all interested in juxtapositions between the motivations of both creators and consumers.
Following the speed networking, the first panel session looked at ‘making interdisciplinary research work’. Each panelist took a turn to describe their own experiences with interdisciplinary research over their long and varied careers. It was nice to hear a lot said that very much coincides with my own limited experiences; the focus of many of the speakers on the importance of curiosity was also great to hear as I certainly don’t lack that. One of my main ‘problems’ over the years has been wanting to learn ALL THE THINGS. That’s probably why I’ve always been naturally drawn to working in different disciplines. The other major point that struck me was the discussion of language – how the same word can mean completely different things to different disciplines, or how commonplace words in one field may leave someone in another field completely stumped. It reminded me of a lot of my time in both Horizon and my internship at UEA and it’s a really important skill to learn, to be able to talk to people from varied fields.
The other session on the first day was a presentation by Chris Buccafusco from Cardoza Law School about studying the creative process. I loved this session as it involved applying psychological experimentation and behavioural economics to studying the creativity. This included looking at innovation, IP, payment motivations, and a real live experiment (that worked)! The day ended with a meal at a brewery, the Drygate Brewing Company. It’s always good to catch up with people I have known through CREATe for the last 4 and a half years.
The second day began with a morning of panels: How to be an effective networker; Combining research techniques effectively; and Academics and the policy process. Once again it was great to hear from experienced academics and take away useful tidbits for my future career, research, and life. As much as I hate forced networking, it is an important skill, as is the combination of methods from different disciplines to mutual benefit, so I found the morning useful to my thought processes.
After this, all the proposal teams went away to discuss ideas and to come up with our 8 minute presentations. We enjoyed this part so much that we plan to keep in touch and advance our idea further. I think we came up with a really interesting idea with important connotations, and we managed to incorporate all of our different skills and viewpoints. The pitches took place at 3pm and were for the most part highly entertaining. The ultimate winner was definitely worthy, having come up with a new area of online creativity to study. I look forward to seeing what they do with their prize.
By the end of the event I was completely exhausted (having also been to Oxford, Vienna, the Yorkshire Dales, and Winchester in the previous three weeks for various reasons and fun times) but it was definitely worthwhile. The trains back to Nottingham were an absolute nightmare, with the most uncomfortable, jolty, bruise-inducing train I have ever been on. Not a great end to three brilliant weeks, and the insane amount of sleep I got that night and the next day was most welcome.