Updates from April, 2015 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Mark 5:26 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

    An introduction to Design Fiction for Sociologists, May 13th at Goldsmiths 

    Design fiction is a term first coined by Julian Bleecker and popularized by SF author Bruce Sterling, who describes it as “the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change.” and that it “attacks the status quo and suggests clear ways in which life might become different.”

    Design fiction isn’t science fiction, it’s not just a telling of stories in the future or trying to make predictions of the future, instead it is a way of trying to envision and interrogate possible futures based on research data, current trends, and/or technologies. Originally, primarily used by product designers as a cheap alternative to prototyping new products, it has found traction as a critical tool allowing us to see through the fog of hype and digital evangelism. 

    In this event Tim Maughan introduces design fiction for sociologists. He discusses the work he is undertaking with Sava Saheli Singh (New York University) and its possible implications for how we write about research.

    Keith Kahn-Harris will discuss his new project which looks at how kinds of mainstream texts other than science fiction also generate ’social science fictions’, often ‘accidentally’ as a result of the pragmatic requirements of generating workable plots and scenarios. Such texts can help force attention to a neglected sociological question: what are the limits of possibility in human society?

    Sarah Burton will also speak on a topic to be finalised.

    Les Back and Mark Carrigan will each offer a short response before the event is opened up for a general discussion.

    Eventbrite - Design Fiction for Sociologists

  • Mark 5:25 pm on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

    Call for papers: Centre for Social Ontology PhD/ECR Conference (deadline TOMORROW) 

    Centre for Social Ontology PhD/ECR Conference
    June 23rd, University of Warwick, 10am – 4pm

    Social ontology is integral to the study of society. It is impossible to inquire into the social world without some understanding, at least tacitly, concerning the entities which make up that world and their properties and powers. However social ontology remains an often confused and contentious matter within the social sciences.

    The first Centre for Social Ontology PhD and ECR conference seeks to address this matter through papers exploring the role of social ontology within sociology. This could include but is by no means limited to:

    • The relationship between tacit assumptions concerning social ontology and reflective theoretical positions
    • Social ontology and the formulation of research questions
    • Social ontology as a topic standing at the interface between the social sciences and philosophy
    • The methodological implications of social ontology
    • The ontological assumptions implied by research methods
    • The social ontology of particular areas of inquiry e.g. social movements or digital technology
    • Disciplinary differences in approaches to social ontology
    • Social ontology and philosophical under-labouring
    • The limits of social ontology and where under-labouring has to stop
    • New directions in sociological research through questions of social ontology

    The conference is open to all PhD students and Early Career Researchers with an interest in social ontology.

    Please send abstracts of 200 words or less and a short biographical note to socialontology@warwick.ac.uk by May 1st

    Registration will be free and a limited number of small travel bursaries will be available to support attendance at the conference.

    • tobiahbarneylovesmath 4:31 am on May 1, 2015 Permalink

      I wish I had a paper to give.

  • Mark 7:24 am on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

    Call for papers: Power, Acceleration and Metrics in Academic Life (deadline TOMORROW!) 

    Call for papers: Power, Acceleration and Metrics in Academic Life

    There is little doubt that science and knowledge production are presently undergoing dramatic and multi-layered transformations accompanied by new imperatives reflecting broader socio-economic and technological developments. The unprecedented proliferation of audit cultures preoccupied with digitally mediated measurement and quantification of scholarship and the consolidation of business-driven managerialism and governance modes are commonplace in the contemporary academy. Concurrently, the ever-increasing rate of institutional change, (the need for) intensification of scientific and scholarly production/communication and diverse academic processes seem to characterize the overall acceleration of academic life (i.e., in many disciplines the new maxim ‘patent and prosper’ (Schachman) supplements the traditional ‘publish or perish’). Quantification and metrics have emerged not only as navigating instruments paradoxically exacerbating the general dynamization of academic life but also as barely questioned proxies for scientific quality, career progression and job prospects, and as parameters redrawing what it means to be/work as a scholar nowadays (i.e., the shifting parameters and patterns of academic subjectivity). Metrification now seems to be an important interface between labour and surveillance within academic life, with manifold affective implications.

    This conference will inquire into the techniques of auditing and their attendant practices and effects and will also probe into scholars’ complicity in reproduction of such practices. It will consider processes of social acceleration within the academy and their implications for the management of everyday activity by those working within it. This will include:

    • empirical and theoretical engagements with the acceleration of higher education
    • the origins of metrification of higher education
    • metrification as a form of social control
    • the challenges of self-management posed by metrification and/or acceleration
    • common strategic responses to these challenges
    • the relationship between metrification and acceleration
    • how metrification and acceleration relate to a broader social crisis

    The workshop will take place from December 2nd to 4th 2015 in Prague.

    Deadline for abstracts will be May 1st 2015. Please send 250 words and short biographical note to Mark Carrigan (mark@markcarrigan.net) and Filip Vostal (filip.vostal@gmail.com) by the deadline.

    Keynote Speakers:

    Roger Burrows – Ancient cultures of conceit reloaded

    Philip Moriarty – The perils, pitfalls, and power of peer review in public

    Susan Robertson – Vertigo: Time and space in the contemporary university

    James Wilsdon – In numbers we trust? Reflections on the UK’s independent review of the role of metrics in research assessment

    Oili-Helena Ylijoki – ‘Projectification’ and conflicting time orders in academic knowledge production


    50 Euros (standard) / 25 Euros (PhD/ECR)

    Registration to open in summer 2015


    Hosted by Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences the event will take place in Vila Lanna, V Sadech 1, 160 00, Prague 6, Czech Republic (http://www.vila-lanna.cz/index.html)


    Air: From Vaclav Havel Airport Prague take the bus no 119 to Dejvicka (which is the terminal stop). Vila Lanna is 5-6min walk from there.

    Train: From Main Railway Station (Praha hlavni nadrazi, often abbreviated Praha hl. n.), take metro line C (red), change at Muzeum for line A (green) and get off at the terminal stop Dejvicka. Vila Lanna is 5-6min walk from there.
  • Mark 4:11 pm on April 29, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , ,   

    Conlon Nancarrow 

  • Mark 6:24 pm on April 24, 2015 Permalink


    I’m interested in how social media can help us overcome the limitations of conventional academic publishing and contribute towards a more public social science. It seems obvious to me that social media offer us new-found capacities to “throw grains of sand into the well-oiled machinery of resigned complicities” and I’m enthusiastic to explore how this is so. I’m writing a book called Social Media for Academics which is due to be released by Sage in 2016. The Sociological Imagination, which I co-founded in 2010 and have since edited with Milena Kremakova and Sadia Habib, sought to explore these themes from the start. This essay I wrote with Milena explains how the project came about and reflects on the first few years of its development. I’ve written widely for the popular LSE Impact Blog and a range of guest posts for blogs interested in these topics.  I’m a founding member of the editorial board of Discover Society which has used social media to provide a high profile public forum for “social research, commentary and policy analysis” that has been lacking since New Society magazine folded in 1988. I’m a research associate at the LSE’s Public Policy Group where I used to be managing editor of their popular British Political and Policy Blog. Social media also played a crucial role in the Campaign for the Public University which I co-founded with a number of others (two of whom are now editors of Discover Society) after the new coalition government announced their planned assault upon the public university.

    I’m Digital Fellow at The Sociological Review where I’ve been working with contributors to the journal to develop online resources to expand upon their published papers. I manage the journal’s blog, facebook page, google plus and twitter feed. I’ve also been helping develop the journal’s support activities for early career researchers as we transition into being something much more than a journal. I’m social media associate editor for The International Journal of Social Research Methodology and an assistant editor for Big Data & Society. I’ve run social media workshops at the Birmingham School of Art and Design, Nottingham University, Lancaster University, Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, the University of London, the University of Liverpool, the British Sociological Association and all manner of departments within the University of Warwick.  I’ve worked as a consultant for the Digital Change GPP at the University of Warwick, the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship at Birmingham Business School. I’ve guest lectured on these topics at City University and the Birmingham School of Art and Design. I’ve produced training resources for the University of Warwick library and I’d welcome the chance to do this for others in future! These activities have also been informed by my extensive experience as a computer-assisted qualitative data analysis consultant for the FP7 Funded MYPLACE project, the Open University, Birkbeck Department of Organizational Psychology, The University of Warwick and Keele Graduate School. I’ve also co-ordinated the social media presence of Sociology@Warwick, The Festival of Social Sciences as Warwick and the various BSA groups I’ve been a part of: digital sociology (which I co-founded), realism and social research, the postgraduate forum and the steering committee of the theory study group.

    I think it’s important for social scientists to engage with the media. I’ve been featured in First Five, Wired.co.uk, Guardian Higher Education Network, Xtra.Ca, The Straits Times, The Atlantic, RTL Belgium, Glamour.com, Examiner.com, The Observer, The Sex Information and Education Council of Canada, BBC Radio 4, BBC News magazine, Newstalk, BBC 3, Warwick Knowledge Centre, The Times, Foreplay Magazine, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, Pagina 99, Metro US, Psychology Today, Huffington Post, Networked Researcher, The Scotsman and Hetrozehuis amongst others. I’ve also had my writing  published in Vice as part of a project I undertook with the photographer Holly Falconer. I’ve previously written widely online, most regularly for The Most Cakes and Culture Wars but for a range of others blogs as well. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on how to translate social scientific ideas for more restricted channels and I hope to spend lots of my time doing this in future.

  • Mark 10:26 am on April 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , jargon, , technical,   

    Using social media to destroy academic jargon 

    Thanks to Nick Kaufman for this great example of how social media can be used to overcome the limits imposed by academic jargon. It took me a minute to get the hang of what they’re trying to do with this project but I really like it. It’s produced by the MIT Community Innovators Lab.

  • Mark 8:05 am on April 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hashtags, , ,   

    How to live tweet effectively at academic conferences 

    This useful post on the Pickle Jar blog offers some pointers about effective live tweeting. I agree it’s important to remember that most (?) people reading your live tweets won’t be in the room with you and thus will be confused by any features of the context you take for granted in your tweets. In that sense, I think this is excellent advice:

    Context is key. If you’re sending a tweet out into the world, assume your audience knows very little. If you hear something interesting, try to share it as if you’re sharing words of wisdom with someone who wasn’t there. Feel free to paraphrase, and take pictures of the slides if there’s just too much amazing stuff on there for 140 characters. Those who aren’t there will get something out of it, and those that are will have a reminder that they can re-tweet or favourite.


    But surely live tweeting also serves a purpose for people within the room? The experience of live tweeting has often lived up to the rhetoric of the ‘back channel’: offering an outlet for both exchange with and awareness of other people at the event, many of whom I’ve never previously met. There are obviously risks posed by this (a topic for another post) but it’s also something that can introduce a novel sociality into what might otherwise be a large and impersonal event.

    This is why I think it’s important to distinguish between the official live-tweeter (scene setter, context communicator and summariser in chief) and the voluntary live-tweeting of others at the event. Part of the role of the former is to encourage the latter through regular retweets and rapid responses to any questions. But another crucial part is to provide a sufficient sense of the context to ‘outsiders’ for the flurry of activity taking place amongst ‘insiders’ to be comprehensible and engaging. The insider activity isn’t a threat to the quality of the live tweeting, it’s rather what can make a hashtag fascinating to read if there is someone mediating between the two in order to ensure that ‘insiders’ don’t exclude ‘outsiders’ by taking their shared context for granted.

    There are numerous ways to establish context: regular reminders of what the hashtag is (e.g. “We’re live tweeting from  @BritSoci conference day 2, #BritSoc15”), taking pictures of the venue itself to convey a sense of place, regular statements of the schedule (e.g. “Our next speaker is @mark_carrigan from @SocioWarwick talking about social ontology of social movements”) and signalling openness to queries (e.g. “If you have any questions about #BritSoc15, whether you’re here or not, please get in touch!”). This kind of activity can help if you’re subsequently using the hashtag as a basis to compile a report of the event by providing way marks to make sense of what can be a vast stream of activity. But more importantly I think it also contributes to the accessibility of the event, structuring what might otherwise be an intimidating mass of communication and doing so in a way which encourages it to grow.

    There’s a really important suggestion later in the Pickle Jar post which I’ve only recently started doing myself:

    One way to really add some useful background is to start digging up links. Is the person on stage mentioning a project they worked on? Dig up a link to that project (or better still, a video about it), and share that on the conference hashtag. Do they have a personal site, with background detail? Go find it, and share it. It may seem like a bit of a slog, but Google is your friend here.


    I prefer to live tweet on a phone but I’m planning in future to always use my laptop for this reason. If someone mentions a paper they’ve written, look it up and tweet the link! Tweet the institutional profile of the speaker and always ensure you link to their personal twitter feed and tag the department as well if they have a twitter presence.  In this sense, the official live tweeter does a large part of the ‘networking’ in order that other people don’t have to.

    There’s suggestions later in the post which I’ve experimented with in the past but found people quite reluctant to participate in. Perhaps it’s how I’m phrasing it? But the promise of Audioboom for micro-podcasts with speakers really fascinates me and I’ve love to find a way to suggest this possibility to speakers that doesn’t immediately make them recoil in horror:

    While you’re there, how about tracking a few speakers down for an audio interview? We’ve already chatted about the possibilities of platforms such as Audioboom, and you can use these with little more than a smartphone and a quiet sideroom or corridor.

    If video’s more your thing, why not provide some great content for curators and your followers by capturing a quick chat or a tech demo using Youtube Capture, Vine, or Instagram Video? Or if you’ve got an audience that isn’t in a wildly-different timezone, why not livestream an interview or a quick event summary using Periscope or Meerkat?


    • Christian Smith 8:29 am on April 24, 2015 Permalink

      Thanks for this. So, one idea that I take from this post is the possibility of three tweeting roles at conferences. The first role is the official conference (or specific room or panel in large conferences) live tweeter. The second role is taken up at any point by the various conference participants who tweet independently. The third role is held by a support tweeter to the official conf tweeter. This person provides necessary context where needed, performs on-the-spot research and tweets links to mentioned projects, papers, websites, and mediates between the official tweeters, the participant tweeters and the off-conference audience who may also be tweeting responses to the conf tweets.

    • Mark 2:26 pm on April 24, 2015 Permalink

      Maybe just the first two! One and three could go together

  • Mark 8:04 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Cory Doctorow’s Philosophy of Blogging 

  • Mark 5:53 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: political theory, , ,   

    The International Origins of Social and Political Theory 

    This looks like it’ll be very interesting:

    The International Origins of Social and Political Theory

    What is the relationship between history and theory? Much of the time, theory is held to stand outside history. Theoretical systems are applied to, rather than drawn from, historical events. Structural functionalism in sociology, neorealism and neoliberalism in International Relations, and neo-classical economics work in this fashion. The promise of such ‘objective’ theorising is to construct schema that are abstracted from the minutiae of historical events and the agents who enact them.

    This special issue of Political Power and Social Theory explores two commitments that stand in opposition to the view that theory inhabits a space distinct from history:

    ·       First, theory and theorists arise historically. History is an ‘archive’ of events and experiences that leads to theorising, often by practitioners caught up in those very events. Marx was a revolutionary, Clausewitz a soldier, and Freud an analyst. Rather than abstract theory from history, this special issue sees theory as necessarily constituted in and through history.

    ·      Second, international encounters are productive of theorizing: the discovery of the Americas helped to generate the idea of the ‘state of nature’; transnational practices of commercial capitalism fuelled Adam Smith’s theories of free trade; and Hegel’s dialectic of master and slave could not have been written without the Haitian revolution. Theory and theorists are always located somewhere – and that somewhere is history.

    This special issue invites submissions on the various international encounters that have generated social and political theorizing. Although we welcome submissions in the fields of history of ideas/intellectual history, we are particularly interested in how historical events, experiences and practices have shaped theoretical developments.

    Those interested in contributing to this special issue should send an abstract (maximum 200 words) to Tarak Barkawi (tarak.barkawi@gmail.com) and George Lawson (g.lawson@lse.ac.uk) by 1st July 2015.

    We will host a workshop at LSE in Spring 2016 in which papers will be discussed. Those papers selected for the special issue will be sent for review in early Summer 2016. Final submissions will be made to Political Power and Social Theory in September 2016. Publication of the special issue will take place in early 2017.

  • Mark 5:27 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Non-conventional academic career paths 

    Over the next few months, I’m planning a series of podcasts with academics who have pursued non-conventional career paths. This is a remarkably clunky term: what does ‘non-conventional’ mean? The difficulty I’m having defining my terms is precisely why I think it’s so important to explore this topic. In essence, I’m planning to talk to people who have finished PhDs and/or post-docs without subsequently applying for lectureships while animated by ambitions of a future trajectory up a fixed institutional hierarchy.

    This is a broad category within which there’s a great deal of variation in terms of ambition and circumstances.  There are lots of things that people with PhDs go on to do which, in many cases, complicate a simple dichotomy of being in the academy or being outside of it. But there seems to be a pervasive lack of career advice for those who might see such a pathway as being intrinsically desirable. Hopefully these podcasts can contribute in their own small way to rectifying this problem.

    My sense of this problem has emerged from my own experience. For a long time, I’ve realised that I’d like to balance sociological communication with sociological research. Increasingly I can see how this would work in the short and medium term: at the moment I’m effectively doing the former for 3 days a week and the latter for 2 days a week, supplemented by occasional consultancy and training invitations.

    It works for me and I’d like to continue, doing consultancy half the time and (I hope) within a few years working on my own grant-funded projects the other half of the time. But there’s a distinct lack of people I can turn to for advice about how to make this work in the long term. While the plans in question might be different, I’m certain I can’t be the only person contemplating a ‘non-conventional academic carer path’ in the absence of any obvious examples or available guidance about the viability of their plans.

    • Naomi Jacobs 5:44 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink

      Might also be useful to talk to people doing PhDs via unusual routes for various diversity reasons (like me!), since I suspect that leads to unconventional careers. I love that you’re going to podcast about this. I used to podcast non-academically. I’m thinking of revamping in a more academic direction.

    • Mark 5:49 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink

      That’s a good idea thanks. I really dislike the “non-conventional career path” concept but I’m seeing it as an umbrella for an awful lot of things that are, as yet, under explored

      Hope you start podcasting again. If you tweet me the links if/when you do I can put them on @soc_imagination 🙂

    • Aven McMaster 6:42 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink

      Are you going to be focussing on people who have intentionally chosen said paths? I can understand why you might, since so often the discussion centres around people who have been forced unwillingly (by lack of employment) to find other paths. But since that group is indeed so large, and growing, I might suggest that you keep in mind, during your chats, the ways that someone who didn’t, originally, want to pursue an ‘unconventional’ career but has found themselves doing so might be able to use your guest’s experience to help them.

      That last sentence was incredibly clunky and incomprehensible, sorry. Hope you got the gist.

    • Mark 2:26 pm on April 24, 2015 Permalink

      Probably not but I completely see why it’s important.

    • Benjamin Geer 2:21 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink

      Mark, my current job situation is somewhat similar to yours and I don’t know how sustainable it is over the long term, but I’d be glad to share my experiences if you’re interested. My original intention was a conventional academic career path, but I’ve come round to the idea that this sort of non-conventional arrangement has advantages if I can sustain it. For one thing, there’s no pressure on me to publish a lot or quickly, so perhaps I can do better research than I would otherwise, with less stress.

    • Mark 6:28 pm on June 6, 2015 Permalink

      Hi sorry I only just saw your comment. That would be very interesting – could you email a bit of an account and I’ll put on Si.org?

    • Benjamin Geer 6:31 pm on June 6, 2015 Permalink

      OK, will do.

    • Mark 6:31 pm on June 6, 2015 Permalink

      Look forward to it, thanks

  • Mark 11:55 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: internet marketing, , ,   

    Is the murky world of internet marketing making me paranoid? 

    Is the murky world of internet marketing making me paranoid? Or does anyone else share my scepticism about this e-mail? I’ve edited out the name in case I’m wrong but the enclosed web address & twitter feed has no content on it.

    Good day Mark!

    I hope this email finds you well.

    My name is [x], an aspiring writer. I’ve been working on sharpening my skills for about 3 years now and having my work published online has been most helpful.

    I would like to inquire if you accept contributions on markcarrigan.net from guest authors? It would be an excellent opportunity to contribute an interesting piece that will bring value to both your site and your readers.

    Do check out some of my published works on Techie Doodlers and my personal blog. Any feedback about my writing would be awesome!

    Please let me know if you are interested. I am more than happy to send a couple of topic pitches or start writing my piece right away.

    Thanks and here’s hoping I hear back from you soon!

  • Mark 11:49 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    How connected is your university to the arms trade? 

    How connected is your university to the arms trade? This is a question which I was obsessed with seven years ago when I co-founded the anti-arms trade campaign at Warwick. However it’s largely slipped away as something to concern myself with. Receiving this e-mail from Campaign Against The Arms Trade reminded me of how important this issue is and how relevant it is to contemporary struggles about the future of the university:

    Scientists for Global Responsibility have published an excellent update on military university collaborations in the UK.

    The article highlights the close and very often unquestioned links between major arms companies, the MoD and universities. Universities should be making a positive contribution to the world not propping up an industry that profits from death and destruction.

    Researching your university

    Want to know if your university is in bed with the arms trade? One way to find out is to submit a Freedom of Information request through a website like whatdotheyknow.com (a template letter is available here). Your institution is legally obliged to get back to you within 20 working days.

    It can be hard to know where to start with challenging a university’s links to the arms trade so CAAT’s Study War No More page has advice and ideas on planning a campaign and you can always find out more by emailing universities@caat.org.uk

  • Mark 9:03 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , video   

    The Potential of Video Essays for Scholarly Communication 

    This isn’t academic per se but I can easily imagine how a similar format could be used:

    The Journal of Academic Videos is obviously leading the way here.

    • worriedteacher 9:42 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink

      Nice one Mark. I have been thinking about this for a while and in process of collecting images and sounds to be part of a video essay where I ‘think aloud’ about the application of practice theory to academic development. Not a linear story as in most video essays but more a collage and meander where a mythical ‘day in the life of…(me)’ holds the thing together. I am using the process both to help me think through these ideas and formulate a more open form of scholarly output

    • Mark 5:05 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink

      sounds brilliant, send along the URL once it’s live?

  • Mark 8:28 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: law, ,   

    Legally navigating academic blogging and social media – next Wednesday 

    Desperately trying to move a meeting forward slightly so that I can make this:

    This month at the Social Scholar seminar we will be joined by Dr Judith Townend who will be looking at social media and legal concerns. For full details check out our Event Page and register your interest to attend.

    Title: Legally navigating academic blogging and social media

    Speaker: Dr Judith Townend (SAS)
    Time: Wednesday 29 April 2015, 1pm-2pm
    Location: Room 246 (Senate House)

    As per  usual we asked our speaker if they would answer a few questions for us.

  • Mark 8:24 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Two UCU member sacked for allegedly leaking information about the V-C to the press 

    Well this is worrying:

    Two members of staff have been sacked by the University of Bolton for allegedly leaking information about the vice-chancellor to the press, the University and College Union has said.

    Damien Markey, a senior lecturer in visual effects for film and television and secretary of the Bolton branch of the UCU, was sacked on Friday afternoon, the UCU said in a statement.

    His wife, Jennifer Markey, an academic administrator in the health and community studies department, was dismissed on Monday, the union added. Both deny any involvement in leaking stories.

    The sackings come after a number of stories appeared in the press about expensive staff awaydays to a lake where the vice-chancellor, George Holmes, moors his yacht and a £960,000 loan from the university to Professor Holmes to facilitate the purchase of a house. Professor Holmes had, until that point, been living in Yorkshire, about 50 miles from the university.

  • Mark 7:46 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    The Responsibilities of Academics 

    Do you have people working for you? How do you conceive of the relationship? Are they junior colleagues for whom you provide steering in an otherwise basically collective project? Or are they subordinates for whom you provide direction and oversight as a line manager? How aware are you of their pay and conditions? How aware are you of the rights and responsibilities defined in their contract of employment? Do you see these issues as relevant to your working relationship? Recent events at Warwick have left me curious about how academic staff would respond to these questions and how, if at all, this varies between departments.

  • Mark 12:19 pm on April 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The Future’s Not What it Used To Be 

  • Mark 10:34 am on April 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Data Big and Small: Past, Present and Future 

    I’m sad I’ll be missing this (though happy to be in Berlin) – hope lots of other people make it:

    Warwick University Festival of Social Sciences

    Data Big and Small: Past, Present and Future

    This event is jointly hosted by the

    Faculty of Social Sciences and the Warwick Q-Step Centre.

    11 May 2015 – 16:00 – 18:15, followed by a drinks reception until 19:00

    Warwick’s Faculty of Social Science has been doing a suite of work around big data this year. ‘Big data’ has become an unwieldy catchphrase loaded with many different connotations. Some researchers argue that big data are transforming everyday social and political processes, locally and globally; others argue that big data has always been around in one way or another. This event will consider the past present and future of data, big and small. The event is aimed primarily at those wanting to learn more about big data in general as well as those wanting to learning more about different social science perspectives about big data. It will include a panel of leading Warwick scholars drawn from across social science disciplines. Rather than giving presentations, panellists will be asked to discuss a number of questions based on some of the key issues we have drawn out of our suite of work around big data. There will then be questions from the audience, which the panellists will be asked to discuss. This will be followed by our keynote speaker, Emer Coleman.


    16:00 – 16:10     Welcome Address by Professor Chris Hughes, Chair of the Faculty of Social Sciences; Head of Department, of Politics and International Studies.

    16:10-17:30        Panel Session

    17:30-18:15        Keynote Speaker

    18:00-19:00        Drinks Reception


    Emer Coleman – A Warwick alumni now working as a journalist and consultant writing about how technology impacts organisational development. She was the architect of the London Datastore and more recently the Deputy Director for Digital Engagement at Government Digital Services where she wrote the Social Media Guidance for the Civil Service. She was named in Wired Magazines top 100 Digital Power Influencers List 2011.


    Dr Philippe Blanchard – Assistant Professor at the Department of Politics and International Studies, and member of the Warwick Q-Step Centre. He is currently involved in a number of European research projects on political trajectories, environmental politics and old and new social sciences methods.

    Dr Claire Crawford – Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics. Her recent research involves understanding what explains socio-economic and ethnic differences in Higher Education participation and attainment, and what universities and policymakers can do to help reduce these gaps.

    Dr Olga Goryunova  – Associate Professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies. Her recent work involves questions about the digital subject/person in relation to data mining and an ESRC project on “Picturing the Social”.

    Dr Tobias Preis – Associate Professor of Behavioural Science and Finance at the University of Warwick. Together with his colleague Dr. Suzy Moat, he directs the Data Science Lab at Warwick Business School. His recent research aims to predict real world behaviour using data taken from Google, Wikipedia, Flickr and other sources. His research has been featured in the news, the BBC, the New York Times, the Financial Times, Science, Nature, Time Magazine, New Scientist and the Guardian. He has given a range of public talks including presentations at TEDx events in the UK and in Switzerland. See here for further details: http://www.tobiaspreis.de./

    Dr Nick Sofroniou  – Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Employment Research.  His recent work involves developing statistical models for complex samples in education and the social sciences, e.g., students nested in classrooms, employees in different countries, and longitudinal studies. He maintains a keen interest in evidence-based policy and in the interplay between national and international-level policy initiatives.


    Dr Emma Uprichard – Associate Professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies and co-direct of the Warwick Q-Step Centre. Her recent research explores how different methods, including big data analytics, can be developed for complex social policy and planning purposes.


  • Mark 8:52 am on April 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: tool,   

    Who are you to wave your finger? 

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