It was very good to see a large audience for the 2011 ‘Digital Audience Development‘ session at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Run by Inner Ear Ltd. again on Thursday 4 August, this was the second time I’ve seen them present ideas and case studies to help those who would like to use social media to spread the word about their work. The presenters were Dougal Perman (@dougalperman)and Anny Deery (@adeery).
- What is the research question? What’s the problem being addressed?
- On what basis is the gap in the literature being identified? …that these two disciplines lack sufficient exploration, or that the debate needs to be moved on?
- Establish a theoretical basis for the work: define the mental frame of reference within which questions, conclusions and recommendations can be addressed.
- Social capital is desired: it binds communities, fosters civil society (reciprocally), supports social and industrial innovation and so on.
- Social capital is tied to social networks: connections are made, mapped, maintained and these two concepts are mutually reinforcing, to the benefit of individuals, organisations and society.
- Festivals and events have a large role to play in supporting social networks and providing opportunities for the creation and application of social capital: its is through events that we meet others, gain their trust and invest in shared projects.
- Communications technologies and social media have a part to play in supporting festivals and events (planned and unplanned) in this work: event producers and other interested parties can take advantage of these technologies, reaching stated objectives on the basis of enhanced social capital in a given community and/or location.
- This will necessarily have an impact on the audience or delegate experience, to the extent that they are instrumental to the achievement of those social capital objectives and are asked (perhaps implicitly) to subscribe to them: audience members will bring their own agendas to the party, negotiating the degree to which their priorities fit those of the event organisers and their stakeholders.
- These negotiations will be mediated through real life meetings and communications technologies.
After a year of getting used to my current role as lecturer and programme leader, Edinburgh Napier supported me through their Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning for Higher Education (2008-2010). This is my professional qualification, it makes me official and gains me the fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. I think it’s important for teaching staff to give themselves the opportunity to discuss and explore some of the themes and topics covered in the Pg Cert; it’s too easy to get complacent.
- The idea was to reflect on the benefits of carrying out industry-based research, particularly its influence on curriculum design.
- Three themes run through the work:
- the embedding of employability within the curriculum.
- the identification of employers?? expectations towards higher education and HEIs?? responses to those expectations.
- the purpose of event management programmes, including an initial review of Edinburgh Napier??s provision and its links to the local industry.
- Sources referred to include QAA benchmarks (pdf), People 1st, the Dearing Report and a range of academic sources from the fields of event management and tourism.
- Some limited benchmarking is included, looking at Edinburgh Napier alongside Queen Margaret University, Glasgow Caledonian University, Robert Gordon University and Leeds Metropolitan University. I hope that each institution is fairly represented (given the limited data I used for the comparison in 2009-2010) and positively assessed. All comments are welcome below!
It’s a while since I posted an updated ‘ideas’ file, but there have been distractions since August. There may not even be anything particularly new here, although the file itself remains an important repository for ideas, notes, references and supporting arguments. It has been used pretty extensively in the preparation of my postponed presentation, pending a preferable paucity of precipitation. Attention has been shifting to the more formal requirements of the university’s PhD application process. I’m realising over time that by starting my work from an industry perspective I’ve now got to bend those ideas towards the theoretical discussions which will underpin the work. (This is where the presentation would have been very useful I suspect, which is reason enough to try and get something put in its place over the next week.)Meanwhile, behold the latest iteration of My Ideas.
Have I mentioned how much I admire the work of David McCandless and the very idea of ‘Information is Beautiful’? You can get the book, a great Christmas present for the more cerebral – or visually stimulated – members of your family. You can follow the blog on their site. You should start with McCandless’s TED talk though, for insight and some lovely examples of their work.
As flagged a month or two back I recently took part in a workshop organised by Edinburgh Napier, or more specifically my colleagues at the university. The theme was ‘event technologies’, from planning and logistics software to virtual meeting spaces, and my contribution was focused on social media. I’m indebted to having attended similar workshops in the past – primarily aimed at an industry audience, this is an area where academia needs to catch up.