The Spiritual Paradox: Happiness in the Present and Vision for the Future

In The Paradox of Intention, Marvin Shaw writes about the challenges of maintaining happiness in the present moment while sustaining a vision for a better future. As Shaw notes, this spiritual paradox underlies many spiritual and philosophical traditions, including Stoicism, Taoism, and psychotherapy. After practicing things like yoga meditation for some time, one begins to recognise a … Continue reading The Spiritual Paradox: Happiness in the Present and Vision for the Future

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

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

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

Making It New: Innovation in Arts & Humanities Research

“Research” in the early days—and by that I mean in the days of elementary school—was a straightforward affair.  Or it was until the revolution of the parenthetical citation marked a turning point in the yearly convention of the spring research paper.  In those early days, "research" also looked quite  different, in that it was largely … Continue reading Making It New: Innovation in Arts & Humanities Research

#IsItOK? What I’ve Learned from the Paralympics

I have never been a big fan of televised sport, so I was not terribly disappointed that I contended with a number of pressing publishing deadlines and a heavy teaching assignment during the Olympics.  I did watch the opening ceremony with delight and did happen to see the cycling event as it sped through Kingston … Continue reading #IsItOK? What I’ve Learned from the Paralympics


I've just come across this fascinating conference paper by Yan Yi Lee and Sharon Q. Yang called 'Folksonomies as Subject Access – a Survey of Implementing Tagging in Library Online Catalogs and Discovery Layers' The term 'folksonomy' isn't original to this paper, but it was new to me, and the concept has definitely give me … Continue reading Folksonomy

The language learning site Duolingo has recently left beta for a full release, and it is nothing short of thrilling.  It is a free site which, in its own words, helps users 'learn a language and simultaneously translate the Web.'  Not only is the interface sharp, engaging, and extraordinarily intuitive, it personalizes language learning in … Continue reading