This blog will comprise a collection of ephemera, mess and miscellaneous artifacts reflecting on the writer's life.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I am taking a break

from the blog for a while.
This has nothing to do with
the RAE
Coming from from holiday and feeling paniced about email deluges and washing
Research grants and their ephemeral quality
house hunting in Sheffield
paper writing panic etc etc
but it might have to do with being interested in this blog and wanting to focus on this project for a while.
I will be back!
Thanks for reading the blog.
Bleecker street square
Meanwhile here is Bleecker street in New York.

Monday, July 30, 2007

all the women my age

in new York have gray hair.
This is a revelation.
We came in on the milky Hudson (pictured)
New York from New Jersey
and wandered around Greenwich village, West Village and the meatpacking district.
We were very popular in Princeton and Kiara was so sad to see us go she got in the car (pictured).
Dog doesnt want us to leave!
Even better is working with the Princeton teachers on their artifacts of identity project.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I am off

To New Jersey, and then New York, working with Jennifer talking to teachers and writing.
It is tense in our household as some of us are on the last chapter of Harry Potter 7.
Isabel grew up on Harry Potter, it was the book she read before it was famous, age 7 and it is very sad to see it go.
While I am away you can watch this.It is brilliant.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The relationship between

artefacts and personal identity is often described in sensitive ethnographic studies of home artefacts such as here.
However, when we were in the wonderful Leeds based education collection Artemis yesterday, I also wondered why we attach such significance to objects.
For example, in this project, people often lost artefacts, or didn't know where they were.
For example, these shoes in this picture came from the museum, as the original shoes (in which money was hidden on the way home from New York) had got lost, being last seen on the cellar steps.
Rather than talk about Materializing Sheffield, as here,
perhaps we should talk about De-Materializing Sheffield.
Just a thought.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mud and floods

of every kind can be seen here here
and here
and here.
This movie of The Wicker is particularly affecting.
I love The Wicker and go there ALL THE TIME.
Hurrah for hot baths.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The kid is back

Luckily thanks to the ever faithful BBC we can TRACK her progress.
She can be viewed here,
and best viewing here, where you have a really DETAILED view of the dancing girl amid the mud.
Stay with it and you see her SEVEN times.
Frankly we are bored with Glastonbury, as we have now moved on to the FLOODS in Sheffield and the experience of the travelling academic amid the torrents.
It is a poetic thought.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Glasto kid

pitched her tent in the rain at 1 in the morning last night, is on a slope and emerged to find a torrent, has danced in the rain to punk gypsy bands, was pissed on, changed and is now gearing up to the Arctic Monkeys and The Coral.
She is in heaven.
More about this here.
Meanwhile, we are going to buy this house.
Dr Joolz is advising us.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Today I thought about

complex writing and the relationship between meaning (what we want to communicate) and materiality (how we communicate it).
This was prompted partly by going to this exhibition and seeing the blocks of colour and how they shifted meanings in the gallery, as we walked around orange and yellow shapes hanging in the air.
Also in the environment box project (something I am researching) a group of children have been creating boxes that describe a particular environment.
Here it is the arctic or 'the polar'.
I have looked at the way that the affordances of the box, its ability to house igloos, ducks or baby dolphins, creates new kinds of talk.
I am about to do something on how visual and spatial stuff shapes linguistic meanings.
How does a focus on colour, shape and design create different kinds of talk?
Any advice gratefully received.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Today was the day

my bid was due in and thankfully it is now in here, and will wend its way across the desks of thousands of weary academics.

Watch this space

I am now free to work on this course and this course and enjoy the fantastic weather, also to live in the shadow of people attending this festival and going to this exhibition.
I am also going to write my bling article for this journal, which is why we have the gold swan.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

It is so sad

The way you go on holiday and you come back to a squillion emails and by day 2 you are a wreck of your former self, crawling amongst the emails like a demented ant.
It does not help that I have to get this form in here for the 14th June.

Never mind, there is this conference to look forward to,
this book to recommend to Dr Joolz
and these photos of Scotland.
As you can see, the weather was excellent, we swam, there was nobody on the beach and it was like the Greek Islands.
More footage of Islay can be found here.
Happy viewing!
I recommend the gold eagles as they are very good.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Angel of the north

I am blogging while ON THE TRAIN!!!
I had hoped to go from an image of Anthony Gormley, taken from Waterloo station on Monday to an equally riveting image of the Angel of the North, taken from the train.
Sadly my attention was diverted at the key point (chatting)
and I missed the shot.
I am unable also to upload you the Anthony Gormley.
I did manage to capture, however,
Alnwick and, here,
Berwick on Tweed.
We are now in Scotland!
Time and space are brought together in new and interesting ways, through Blogger 2 software, an epistemic presence in the writing of the blog, as Nigel Thrift says so interestingly in this marvellous book.
I am listening to this CD so you have all the modalities.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Moving around

I have been here to this seminar where I heard that deixis was one of the most common links to other pages on blogs.

Greg gave a very interesting paper on irony in links.

I have some news

Dr Joolz is back.

Check it out.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Weston Park Museum

Is my favourite place right now.
I love the bees, real, buzzing, and the city section and the txting girls doing their Queen Bess dress up.
I go there all the time as we are putting in our bid to work with them at the moment.
Cross fingers and think of me as I write the Case for Support.
Here are some brilliant projects they have already done:
Burngreave voices
Ourselves our place
My favourite object in the museum has to be the polar bear however.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Chesil beach

has been blogged by Litrate and written about here.
Here is the website.
We will be there this weekend.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

ferham families

is now live.
It can be found here:
I have been saying this for months, but this time it is for real

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A great new blog

can be found here.
Who said blogging is dead?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I have never seen the point of

But this receipe will keep you going for when you have nothing in the cupboard and need something utterly delicious and it is from Tom Parker-Bowles.
Here it is:
1. Fry garlic and a pinch of chili in some olive oil.
2. Add 2 tins tomatoes.
3. Add some balsalmic vinegar and a bay leaf.
4. Bubble for 1 hour on a low heat.
5. Season and serve with spaghetti, parmesan, some rocket salad and good olive oil to drizzle.
Sadly it is back to work here, writing my report for the AHRC.
Sasha keeps me company.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

lunch boxes

are the bane of my life.
I am therefore impressed by Mimi Ito's photostream on Flickr.
You can read about it here.
and see it here.
Roll on school dinners.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

High Stoy Wood

Hot spring sun. Here are Molly and her friend.
Here is Sasha who liked Dorset but not the cows.
Meanwhile, the others were here.
Happy Easter!
P.S. The Easter recipe is Dr Joolz' favourite risotto.
Take 2 red peppers and fry in olive oil with some garlic.
Add a tin of tomatoes.
Puree with whizzer or blender.
Add vegetable stock
Fry onion in some oil.
Add risotto rice.
Add the stock slowly until the rice is cooked.
Then add some parmesan, and butter. Season.
Serve with Feta cheese and rocket.
Comes courtesy of the Thyme Cafe in Sheffield.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Thank goodness

We have our tickets for Glastonbury which is now sold out.
It has been a nailbiting morning.
Even Sasha was nervous.
Luckily I can sit in the comfort of my own home and watch it on TV.
The relief.
And Isabel can see the Arctic Monkeys live.
Also a relief.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

dialogic objects

Inspired by Gaby's visit, (Gaby came from Germany where she teaches socio linguistics to hear about Charmian's project in Tower Hamlets)
I am thinking about the way that objects speak with two voices.
For example, quilts in Pakistan can mean one thing, that is, warm coverings for wearing in the winter.
In Rotherham, quilts become duvets, they cover you at night in the cold Rotherham winters.
The object is the same, but has different uses and meanings in different spaces.
Here is our textile case in our exhibition (still on at Rotherham Central Art Gallery till 14th April).
The cotton was also grown in Manchester, but from our informants, was grown in Pakistan, on the farm.
It too has a dialogic quality and like Bakhtin's texts, speaks with two voices.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Living normally

is something I try to do, and I was pleased to find this book which celebrated ordinary homes.
What I love about normal homes (as opposed to 'styled' ones in magazines)
is the way objects and artefacts are acrrued.
People give you stuff, and even if it is faintly tasteless, it stays, as a trace of the giver and also as an acknowledgement of the messy realities of daily life.
Even better, cats, children, playstations, clutter up more of it.
There is even a website dedicated to people's homes which you can find here.

Friday, March 09, 2007


This week I have been here, here and to talk to the people at this project here.
You ofcourse should go here to see the wonderful exhibition.
My knowledge of the UK rail network has now reached doctoral proportions.
I am hoping to offer an online doctorate in the manner of this marvellous course with modules in
GNER studies (including reading on theorising "trans" status objects and the death of the train company, with Derrida thrown in for free)
The Midland Mainline module will include sedimented literary theorists such as Raymond Williams and Richard Hoggart as it has an old school Marxist feel.
Virgin meanwhile will include a whole section on risk theory (Beck ofcourse) and include theorists such as Bev Skeggs on class while my favourite module will be,
Northern Rail which will have wonderful sections on children's popular culture, girls talk and ethnographic positionality.
Suggested dissertation topics:
Visual cultures
Viewing cultural spaces
Criticality and the train
Travelling and tourism
Must start the e-forms now.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ferham families

had its grand opening on the 3rd March at Rotherham Art Gallery and the opening party was a great success.

All sorts of famous people came.

I was very excited by our gold case

our wonderful wall placards

and by the elephants.

This quote is from Jaan Khan and I think it is very poetic.

Here are some advance pictures of the exhibition but really, you have to be there.

On until April 14th so you have no excuse.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

online shopping

is what you do when you are doing a really hard thing like writing a report for this organisation about what you did in clear and accessible language.

Obviously this is too hard so you have to go shopping.

Dr Joolz likes to shop here and so I take a look.

Daughter has just bought a tunic dress from here
(note: for those over 30, tunic dresses are to be worn WITH CAUTION).
However, I like these websites:

Tulip and Nettle are very arty, off beat and CHEAP.
I have told you before about this addiction, I think it is now beaten, thank god.
This website was picked up as my favourite by Literate it has fab dresses but is not cheap.
For reliable surfing and good in sales go to Toast and Boden.
Beware however, going too floral, purchasing halterneck tops and
embracing wholeheartedly the peasant look as it is NOT GOOD on older female academics.
But I have some quirky interests.
Gypsy caravans.
You have been warned.
Hopefully someone will write about online shopping which will be v. useful.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I have been haunting

Art Galleries this weekend in excited anticipation for our big event next weekend (3rd March Rotherham Art Gallery BE THERE).
First off is Ellen Bell at Leicester Art Gallery whose dictionary models spilled over when it came to the word home and went into Punjabi when the word marriage came up making me think that my idea of dialogic objects really makes sense.
Then Art into Abstraction in Sheffield which was wonderful, full of hanging lights and movies of Miami skyscrapers
I am also loving this album which was kindly given to me by one of our Professors
and this book which is preparation for my forthcoming visit to New York.
Can I also tell you I think this is a terrible blog. (But really funny).

Sunday, February 18, 2007

By popular demand

Dr Kate brings you the latest information on Fashion from London Fashion Week and also
Top Tips for your Spring wardrobes.
First off, is tulip skirts.

See the illustration here.
Men may hate them, this is not the point, they are in fashion.
You wear them with high heels and opague tights.
For more information see marvellous Jess Cartner-Morley explain all here.

Mine is a grey one (Selfridges sale right at the end when everything was 70%) and I love it.
Next, puffy sleeves.
Again, not popular with men, just ignore them as these are key.
I have a Peter Jensen dress which has huge sleeves which is excellent.

This is the actual dress as shown on the catwalk above.
Grey or neutral dresses is another key trend.
Luckily I have a grey and neutral one so I am relaxed on that score.

I hope you all follow my advice.

There are also some trends you should ignore at all costs.

Yellow, and

You have been warned.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

There is something thrilling about

blogging on the train.
It must be the heady combination of Leonard Cohen and this wonderful book which is so inspiring.
Dr Joolz and I are madly publicizing our new course.
We have contacted these organizations:
The Basic Skills Agency
The National Literacy Trust
Skills for Life

and they are all happily helping us.
This reminds me of when I was a literacy outreach worker in Hammersmith.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Who would be a spy?

Molly will.
This is her list of Gagets and Acsores.

It is part of her computer game but it is good to see she has her career already PLANNED OUT.
Also, it is part of my ongoing fascination with the nature of narrative and how narrative is changing as computer games drive spatial design of stories.
Also, have you read Clarice Bean?
You should.

Monday, February 05, 2007

It is all happening

here at Sheffield.
First there are all these marvellous books everyone keeps bringing out.
Blink and you miss them.
Jackie Marsh's book with Eve is packed with wonderful chapters and
Colin and Michele's sampler is really enticing.
A must-have purchase, especially since me and Dr Joolz are devising the most exciting course ever.
It is an on-line course in new literacies and will be profoundly cutting edge.
Taking our cue from the ever hip world of craft it will invite students to fill in a patchwork quilt which is our map of knowledge and gradually make a wonderful sedimented pattern of meaning.
This remind me of my article to be published here with Jennifer on sedimented identities in texts.
Our on-line course will ofcourse be a trace of identity.
Everywhere you turn there will be
Tecky stuff
beauty tips
and ofcourse us, in glamorous poses.
Can't wait.
PS I am writing this ON THE TRAIN.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

it is difficult not to get obsessed by

our new kittten who is now a boy.
Luckily lots of other bloggers are too.
here is one.
Flickr has millions of kitten pictures as here.
Molly of course is his favourite.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The myths we live by

was one of the key themes I took from the wonderful Domesticity conference, held at Sheffield.
I have decided to go back to Raf Samuel and Paul Thompson's book, where we learn that,

We need as historicans to consider myth and memory not only as special clues to the past, but equally as windows on the making and remaking of individual and collective consciousness, in which both fact and fantasy, past and present, each has a part.

(Samuel and Thompson 1990: 210. )

I also learned abour ritual in house building and how inscription could be woven into the very fabric of the house. I liked thinking about how values and practices could be inscribed into the fabric of the house. Ritual mediated this experience.

I also learned about ritual by reviewing this book, which argues that we need to re-think the category of ritual as a sensitising concept for thinking about classroom discourse that falls into a regular pattern, such as the question and answers involved in learning German.

I was able to see how our data on 'knocking through' fell into the category of inscription. People re-made their own houses, and, in doing so, inscribed their identity into the fabric of the space.

I was also interested to note that tidiness is associated with Facism and also with South African Germans and their racist ideologies.

Very cheering as my house has been utterly turned upside down by the new kitten.

Dr Joolz' paper called 'Chilli - stylists' own' about Flickr and domesticity was particularly inspiring. I learned about fridge doors as a site for meaning.

I also did lots of thinking about my new research project, of which more in the future.

Thank you to Karen Harvey and Susan Reid who did all the work.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

today we went to collect

our new kitten, Sasha. This is her.
Martin wanted to call her taxi because then he could call 'taxi'! to the neighbours.
We felt after 2 weeks of silence and the sad demise of the hamster that our house was too silent.
We needed somebody else to cheer us up.
She is currently asleep by the fire.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Home is where the heart is

is our working title for our paper for this conference.
We hope you can all come.

Andy and I have realised that homes instantiate complex emotions.

This is how he puts it more eloquently than me:

The home and the house are at the centre of family life. Running from the family are these connecting identities between the family’s identity leading to these objects and artefacts which are imbued with special meanings of the family. They tell stories of intergenerational significance, which, if they can be deciphered, paint a picture of whole family and individual identities.

•These household items are visual triggers for oft-recounted tales which, through embellishment, over time, have taken on mythical status, with shared family legends, which, when unpicked, reveal a great deal about that particular family’s values and its individual members and the broader culture of which they are part.

•Narratives bound up in ornaments, d├ęcor, artwork, clothing, jewellery, reveal the traditions, values, mantras, passions, challenges, faith, that forms the basis of that family’s past present and future existence.

(Andy Pollard)

This is so good that I don't need to add anything.

I have however been reading Bachelard The Poetics of Space.

In there I read:

A house constitutes a body of images that give mankind proofs or illusions
of stability. We are constantly re-imagining its reality: to distinguish all
these images would be to describe the soul of the house; it would mean
developing a veritable psychology of the house. (Bachelard 1958:17)

I like that idea, that houses have souls.

At the moment, our house is in mourning for our cat, Lizzie, whose shadow is everywhere.

Even the fish is off its food. The hamster is quiet.

As Molly rather heartlessly said, 'One down, two to go!'

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Our cat

died today. She was 17 years old, same age as my daughter is going to be on Sunday.

Obviously I am very upset.

This is a picture of her.

She was, however, old and much loved.

Happy New Year!