I had an interesting conversation with Andrius on Friday.
I had not realised that he would like me to use this group to share more
of what I am doing outside of it, and that it would be helpful for him
if I do so. I would like to do as he asks, and I can see it would
benefit me as well, although I find it a little difficult.
Regarding this group, although Andrius has invited me to lead this group
I feel that I am, to a certain extent a stranger here. I don't know who
everyone is, I don't know our shared interests. Until now I had thought
of it as a discussion group where I should just bring things that I was
fairly confident would be of interest to everyone who had joined.
(Something that would get easier as I got to know people and their
interests better.) It has seemed wrong that I should just hold forth
about me and my interests - but Andrius has asked me to. He pointed out
that this group has a part to play in the wider network of his lab, and
from his point of view the more information that passes through here the
In future I will think of this group in a slightly different way - in a
very unstructured way. In my mind it will be a "a place to tell Andrius
what I am doing and thinking"; a place where he brings people who he
recognises have interests related to some of the things we discuss here,
and a place where I can bring people as well. Obviously, anyone here is
free to "eavesdrop" on anyone else's conversations, to join in, or to
start a conversation of their own. I will not be trying to respond to
everyone's contribution, or to summarise what we are discussing, or to
define key areas for discussion, I will simply throw in information
about what I am doing (as well as what I am learning and thinking about)
- and see what happens.
Another reason it is difficult to share what I am doing, is that
everything has a history, and before sharing something I think it is
helpful and considerate to put it in context - it helps newcomers to
join in, it minimises wrong assumptions and subsequent confusion, it
helps people to cross cultural barriers and to be comfortable
participants in a new situation. But all that kind of introduction
involves extra work - and I do not have time for that extra work.
So... I will share stuff here the way that I shared it with Lorraine
when we started to work together. I simply enabled her to "shadow me"
for a while, picking up what she could of what was going on by observing
what I was doing. After a while she know enough to ask questions in
context, and so we gradually developed a very productive way of
(you see - I have not even bothered to explain who Lorraine is. If you
want to know you must ask - and then maybe I won't have to do the
explaining anyway- because she could tell you herself - or Janet could))
I will be sharing here what I am doing, but I will not be sharing
information that others have shared with me, unless I know that they
want it shared more widely.
You are welcome to ask questions - I don't promise that I will always
reply as quickly or fully as a question deserves, but I will be storing
questions up in my mind, and what I write will be guided by them.