The UK’s national Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment is looming. The formal deadline is in 2021, but many will be already feeling the pressures in their institutions and departments to be making sense of their work in terms of REF’s metrics and procedures.
I’ve found myself entangled in this world of REF recently and wanting to be able to make comparisons between institutions and their “Units of Assessment” (REFs classification of research disciplines and fields).
Using this publicly available data, I’ve built a little tool to see how an institution’s unit of assessment did in the last assessment (circa 2014) and view this against other UoA results.
You can compare your own institution’s Sociology or Computer Science scores against others’ in terms of Outputs, Impact and Environment (the REF assessment profiles).
I post this sensitive to the troubles and complications that come with enacting academic life using these systems of accounting. I’m grateful to Effie Le Moignan for reminding me of the troubles.
For those of us in UK academia, it’s been impossible to miss the strikes over the last four weeks, with academics from across the country standing their ground for a fair and equitable pension. There are many incredibly detailing the developments and explaining how this is about for a walk of life that just doesn’t have to be subject to the warped values of the Neo-liberal project.
Personally, what I’ve found inspirational is the coverage from the picket line and the industry of others. Naturally, there have been the marches, the banners, and the teach-ins. But, with such generative care and warmth, what has brought special cheer to me have been the many outstanding examples of creative impulse: of craft (like that recorded by Jacob Phelps below), of design (from Katja May, Kat Jungnickel, etc. at Goldsmiths), and of poetry (no less from the fabulous Michael Rosen).
Given it would be hard to add to all the amazing commentary on the pension strikes, what I want to pay special homage to here is the dance (and a little song) from the picket line. Browsing the not-so-distant twitter archive, I’ve tried to dig out a few out the highlights from the last few weeks that can’t help bring a smile to my face. It must be said, that among all the wonderful examples, Lancaster goes gold hands down for the PEF (Picket Excellence Framework), and Imogen Tyler deserves a special award of excellence for her unwavering commitment to impact dissemination, Twitter-wide.
Here’s to all the dancers (and musicians) on the picket line
There’s a list of research topics here. The deadline is 25th April 2018. For the full advert, see here.
Personally, I’m very open to suggestions on topic. It would be thrilling to see proposals for critical and perhaps materialist orientations to technoscience. Oh, and feminist, intersectional thinking would be high on my wish list.
Whatever the persuasion, if you have friends, students, colleagues, etc. interested in doing something exciting, please put them in touch.
“... to keep unpacking, revealing, opening and unconcealing, we need also to think differently. Alongside unpacking and connecting we need to argue for different worlds to those which dominate us.”
I’m delighted to be starting a new job this September at City, University of London. I’ll be joining the lively Centre for HCI Design (HCID). Both Steph and Simone, the centre’s co-directors, have been amazingly generous in preparing me for my new role and discussing the directions we might take things in. I’ve also begun to rough out new lines of research with my soon to be colleagues and I eagerly anticipate setting things in motion. Naturally my challenge will be to keep a lid on my enthusiasm, leaving the energy to improve my teaching and engage a student cohort in caring about the entanglements between technology and social life — and the thrills and spills that come with such a care. (more…)
From Joanna Latimer and Beverley Skeggs article, The politics of imagination: keeping open and critical.
After a tremendous about of work with Lara Houston, I’m delighted to have finally gone live with our data policy site: data-policy.info. It attempts to detail, in various formats and cuts, the discussions at the day of dialogues on data, policy and civic life, held at Microsoft Research Cambridge. More than this though, we want the site to promote further discussion and expand the ways we might think of the relations between data, social/civic life, and policy. For me, the inspiration here has been the work a few of us have been doing with Tenison Road in cambridge and a community’s efforts to make sense of and use its data. I’d like to think something small and local could make a difference in these big discussions
Next Tuesday a few of us at Microsoft Research are hosting a day-long dialogue to discuss the interminglings of data and social/civic life. We’re bringing together a mix of social theorists, commentators and policy advisers with the hope of drawing out possibilities for doing policy making (as well as technology design) differently. Our preamble for the event follows (a printable PDF can be downloaded here): (more…)
Finally posted some flyers to announce the launch of the big data project we’ll run for a year. We hope to work with the residents and proprietors on Tenison Road in Cambridge to better understand how big data matters and what people on the street want it to be. This is a project that is aiming to get at the interminglings of data and locality, and to intervene in the entanglements in productive ways. That’s the hope! ... Fingers crossed.
Some significant changes to the UK’s Freedom of Information Act were enacted yesterday that give people to right to request and, critically, reuse data. It’s probably easy to overlook the implications of this. The way I see it, everyone (including commercial bodies) now have the right to access FoI regulated data and (re-)use it for analysis, analytics, building apps, etc. Whether that’s good or bad, it seems pretty profound to me. See a summary of the changes here on the Information Commissioner’s Officeblog.