After a long time, I finally have some “bloggable” things to say.
I started this blog as an experiment. In running the experiment, I was trying to answer a series of questions:
- Do I have things to say that lend themselves to a blog format?
- Is anyone going to read this thing?
- In what ways will this blog further my work as a disability in Zambia researcher/aspiring ally?
The experiment was a success in that it led to some answers. That is the magic of a well-designed experiment: it can never fail in providing the answers to questions, even though these answers might not be the ones “that you are hoping for.”
From my assessment, the answers to those questions are as follows:
- Sometimes I do have things to say; but not always.
- Some people do read this blog. My biggest readership was people who accessed the posts through Facebook (presumably friends and family) and these people tended to not be repeat visitors. A much smaller contingent of readers seemed to be drawn to the actual subject content: disability, research, community development, Zambia, Barotseland, etc. It is that latter group that I saw as my target audience. It seemed possible to build that audience – but that it would also take lots of work!
- With respect to this blog’s value in relation to my work, I have not yet been convinced. I maintain that there is potential value. Nonetheless, as of yet, it is not clear that the investment of building, maintaining, and refining this blog yield a sufficient return. Or maybe…I can re-frame this point to say, “I am not sure in what format the blog could yield sufficient value.”
With some questions answered but others emerging, it feels acceptable to me to continue the experiment. So for the first time in 8 months, I have some blog posts. To reduce the extent to which my posting seems “random,” I am presenting these posts as a series – one post/day until I run out.
This initial post is written with enough “back-material” to inform at least 4 days worth of posts.
The timing is somewhat convenient. Or maybe serendipitous? Coincidental?
Bottom line: after just over 3 months in Zambia, I leave on Friday. Effectively, the next four business days are my last in Zambia for 2019. There remain many “what comes next?” questions – which seems reasonable since my career is at the nexus of multiple fields in which the work is done by precariats – academia, international development, disability.
Maybe I will address the “what comes next?” questions on this blog. Through another series. Or maybe by twitter? LinkedIn? Or you can just send me an email – I do appreciate the company.
In the meantime, I will offer some overview comments of each of our posts. Some of which are already written, some of which will come. All will be linked with time. Thank you for reading.
This blog post is the first in which I release original research results. These results are available as a pdf document (download here) and also directly on the post.
Tuesday 16 April:
Patra is my research coordinator, a member of my team since 2014. This post is an introduction to Patra, for readers to better understand her background and the context of her essay.
Wednesday 17 April:
An essay written by Patra
Patra wrote an essay for this blog – about the ways that community members respond to us and the ways that we should present ourselves to them.
This series is likely not finished. After such an extended period of silence, I am happy to have posted 3 times (without counting the introduction). I left Zambia on Friday 19 April to head for a well-deserved vacation. I hope to be able to draft more material while traveling to and around New Zealand in late April/early May. I will announce when the series is officially complete.