Taking my cue from two of my social media savvy colleagues — Marlis Schweitzer (Theatre Studies, York U) and Jill Scott (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Queen’s University), I have decided to take the plunge and launch this blog. I have been a great proponent of blogging in teaching for many years, using WordPress to host course pages and for student assignments. But to this point I had not considered posting my research to a blog.
The dual intent, then, of this blog is 1) to record the process of my research as a begin a new project, and 2) to share that process with interested fellow scholars, students, theatre-makers, and curious readers about contemporary Canadian theatre. I can already see that the blog format will be very well-suited to maintaining a journal of this research project — documenting notes, observations, images, video clips and references to websites, facebook and Twitter posts. With regard to “knowledge mobilization,” more and more I think that it is all well and good to publish in established and authorized print venues, I wonder about the actual impact of these select venues. Important public discourse is happening online and I want to be part of that conversation. More people are following my Twitter account (@queensjenn) than are ever likely to read my articles in scholarly journals. This is not to say that scholarly publishing will not continue to be a key part of the dissemination of my research, but I want to find other avenues for peaking interest and sparking conversations.
Academic coach Jo Van Every challenges researchers: “If you believe that your research could make an important contribution to scholarly debates in your field, could change the way other researchers approach this topic, what are you doing to ensure that other scholars in your field know about your research?” (http://jovanevery.ca/treating-research-like-hobby/) This blog and an accompanying pledge to tweet some research every day is my answer to that question.
So here I go!