What a topsy-turvy week it was last week.
Last week was my first working week in Sheffield after I got back from my fieldwork research in Ghana (more about that in a post soon). I had great expectations for the week which I had already made plans for while still in Ghana. My plan was to start the arduous task of transcribing my interview recordings straight away. What ended up happening was surely topsy-turvy.
On Monday 24th, I had dedicated the day to the inaugural meeting of the Tourism Research Network (TouRNet). TouRNet is a research network that I started in April, 2013 for which I received start-up funding from the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre. The purpose of TouRNet is to create an intellectual and social platform for tourism researchers based at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield & York (and beyond) to share ideas and build links within the broad field of tourism. The inaugural meeting which was held at the University of Sheffield was very successful and I felt incredibly happy to have managed to pull that one off without any incidents.
It was after the happy feeling from TouRNet that things began to go out of script. As I prefer to work from home, I sometimes find it a bit irritating when I am ‘forced’ to get out of the house to attend to an issue or two on campus or elsewhere 😦 This is especially so when I have psyched up my mind the previous night or early morning to accomplish some set transcription goals. Against this background, I was unhappy when I finally read an old email that informed me that I had to attend the launch of the State of Sheffield Challenge for which I am a facilitator. To be fair, I had completely forgotten about the date when I made my transcription plans but I was nonetheless unimpressed about the fact that my working day was to be interrupted – in fact I even had to cancel my football playing on the Wednesday evening as well. The State of Sheffield Challenge is an interesting concept in which first year students based in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield are put in interdisciplinary group to undertake a one week research project. You can read more about it from here.
The next unexpected interruption to my week came in the form of an email that reminded me about a tutorial session I had to run on the Friday for first year students on the Urban Design course. Thus I had to go and meet the lecturer in charge of the course to discuss how the tutorial session was to proceed. Even as my Thursday was to be interrupted, I knew my Friday work plans had to been thrown out of the window. To make matters worse and anxious for me, the tutorial was an introduction to using Photoshop for making figure-ground background/base plans. I have played with Photoshop in the distant past but I couldn’t even remember the last time I opened that programme on my laptop. I therefore had to brush up on my skills and prep for it well so I don’t disgrace myself. I was still a bit anxious on the Friday morning but my confidence grew after the first 10 minutes with the first group of students. The session with the second group of students was even much better and I felt the time went by too quickly – funny thing was that getting to the last 10 minutes a lecturer came in and started setting up for his class while we were not done. According to him, the university rules are clear on that fact that we had to finish up before the hour mark and he is allowed to set up the place for his students – I found it quiet interesting but am yet to check up on the university teaching rules.
I was certainly delighted to have come through my early anxiety about the tutorial session but my delight went through the roof when I got back to my desk in the Town and Regional Planning Department. (soon-t0-be Urban Studies and Planning Department). On checking my inbox, I saw that I had received an email from the university corporate affairs section concerning the Santander Research Mobility Awards that I had applied for while I was in Ghana. My application had been successful and I have awarded some £1050 in support of a second fieldwork visit to Ghana in 2015 to undertake expert interviews and organise a research seminar at the University of Ghana’s department of Geography and Resource Development. I felt really excited about this award and the prospect of getting back to Ghana – this time tagging along a full family holiday involving my wife and kids. Detailed plans yet to be made but I can already start dreaming at the end of what has been a topsy-curvy week 🙂