Informatics: the quest for MSc students

Today saw the second of the workshops I’m running in the Forum for researchers, called ‘The Quest For Funding’. The workshop focussed on mapping the 12 steps of a quest/ hero narrative onto research projects/ personal development for researchers. If you’d like a copy of the handout then drop me an email. The third is on Monday 30th January, using the 100-word format of REF submissions (based on Originality, Significance, and Rigour if I remember correctly without trawling through my notes) and turning it inside-out so that it focuses on personal rather than professional achievements.

Having been on a cultural extravaganza down in London last week, coming back to office life was somewhat of a jolt. While I’d been traipsing round art galleries the emails had been piling up, and everyone had begun to take action on Informatics MSc project proposals ahead of the final deadline on Wednesday. As well as being involved in a proposal based on named entity recognition in fiction manuscripts with Jon and Micha, today I also had the pleasure of conversations with Colin Matheson about auto-quoting to enhance factual narratives (the way a tour guide might throw in literary quotes or anecdotes if you show interest in a particular item or part of an exhibit), and with Matthew Aylett on using speech synthesis in the editing process and whether it might be more or less useful than an actor reading it, and whether or not differences would arise in editing dialogue vs descriptive passages. Fingers crossed the MSc students will pick those projects.

In between all that I generally caught up with myself and said hello to various people, debated Scottish independence, and discovered that eyes actually emit something (electrodes? tiny rays? I wish i’d written it down at the time) so the sensation of being watched is a measurable experience, not only an intuitive one. Thank you to Miranda Anderson for my fact of the day.

No update on Ada and GIL: most of my ‘thinking’ time over the last month has gone on the Puffersphere monologues and scripts. I’ve been making some developmental notes based on my conversations with various researchers about the work going on in the Forum. But they’re still my favourite characters of the various I’m writing about at the moment. And I’m still finding little things such as the university’s procedures on the waste disposal of electrical items which spark off new side-plots.

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