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15 Flags: How I Create Habits for Writing

I am constantly searching for ways to better integrate my digital life into the world of paper, pens, and printed materials that I still love (here, here, and here).  Although there are countless apps available to help create and track new habits--many of which gamify the traditional 21-days rule of habit formation with some very … Continue reading 15 Flags: How I Create Habits for Writing

Refining Technique in Academic Writing

  I wrote briefly last week about the importance of technique in academic writing.   Academic writing is, above all else, a specialised form of communication, which remains true whether we are teaching essay writing to first year students or working on a journal article addressing our research. Articles, essays, theses, and dissertations are all … Continue reading Refining Technique in Academic Writing

‘Technique’ and Academic Writing

Practitioners of the fine and performing arts are well acquainted with the notion of ‘technique’. One hears ‘technique’ spoken of regularly by commentators, adjudicators, and reviewers of the arts, who use term to characterise the success or failure of an artistic undertaking. The study of technique forms the core of advanced training in many disciplines, … Continue reading ‘Technique’ and Academic Writing

Developing Student Self-Reflexivity In Secondary Source Research

Yesterday I wrote about how I introduce secondary source research to students.  Those 7 questions, are, of course, only the starting point for helping students to get the full benefit from engaging with the work of other thinkers.When our students are working with secondary source material in their writing, we should be encouraging them to … Continue reading Developing Student Self-Reflexivity In Secondary Source Research

7 Questions to Help Students Use and Understand Secondary Sources

The university-level study of English is paradoxically both an individual and collaborative effort, with students developing their own analytical skills while simultaneously learning to think in collaborative ways with tutors and fellow students.  What this paradox demonstrates, of course, is that communicating with those around you plays a significant role in the development of ideas, … Continue reading 7 Questions to Help Students Use and Understand Secondary Sources

Alan Hollinghurst and Some Archeological Digging

It's not very often that my research requires me to get involved with something as interesting as archeology, but in tying up some last pieces for my new book The Vitality of Influence: Alan Hollinghurst and a History of Image (Palgrave Macmillan, early 2014) I have found myself tracking down archeological digs in some surprising … Continue reading Alan Hollinghurst and Some Archeological Digging

The Questions Academics Ask: Conference Edition

I have always been a fan of New Yorker cartoons, and this Steve Macone piece from 2010 seems to hit closer to home than most.   Macone's cartoon perfectly captures one of the several strange things that can happen during a conference Q&A. In addition to the 'shorter speeches disguised as questions' there are also a … Continue reading The Questions Academics Ask: Conference Edition

Too Big and Too Small

British domestic architecture is largely made up of strange angles and peculiar proportions.  Or, at least that was the case in the kinds of flats I lived in during most of my twenties, when I was, first, a student and, later, a young academic with precious little dosh for rent.  One flat had soaring double-height … Continue reading Too Big and Too Small

“How Do You Consume Your Media?” It’s Time to Get Serious

This week I reminded my students that if they are serious about getting a good job in writing or communications then they need to get serious about their media consumption.  That means: a daily newspaper with an international focus, a weekly news magazine, and two to three high-quality monthly magazines.  'But that doesn't require you … Continue reading “How Do You Consume Your Media?” It’s Time to Get Serious