Wednesday, February 16, 2011

breathing blogging

I am a researcher at an academic institution and I blog about pneumatic tubes. How do these two practices interrelate? Are they separate or intertwined? These are aspects of my work that I have been thinking about for some time. Both my blogging and academic work concern social aspects of healthcare technologies, yet they have different writing styles (hyperlinks instead of references for example!) and different (yet overlapping) audiences.

In thinking about these issues I have become aware of others who are asking similar questions. For example, the History Blogging Project has been set up by postgraduates for postgraduates to explore the interrelation between blogging and other forms of research. Thomas Söderqvist has written about this topic on the blog Biomedicine on Display. Jay Ruby is an American anthropologist who used a blog to record his fieldnotes and disseminate his findings, leaving an online repository for the public to access. The website included interviews, photographs, observations, historical commentary and video segments, along with a listserv for residents of his fieldsite to engage and comment on the study.

As we become evermore attuned to process over products, will blogs become an increasingly visible part of academics’ work? Or will blogs continue to remain on the margins of recognised academic output? How will blogs by non-academics contribute to research agendas? Those who are interested in these questions may want to follow the ‘Honest to Blog’ one day symposium in Dublin on the 4th March, which explores the use of blogging in arts and humanities research and practice.

Photos of the two different sets of 'lungs' are my own from research for both an academic ethnography and for this blog (see my Flikr set). See similarities with photographs in this post too!

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