On grief and other hard things: A visit with the (environmental) humanities

Posted on Aug 24, 2016 in Fieldnotes

As part of my sabbatical, I recently spent two weeks with the exceptional researchers in Environmental Humanities at UNSW. My hope was to encounter ideas that would inspire me to reinterpret my emerging research findings and, later this year, re-engage in more fieldwork. In terms of thinking differently about my research, I honestly don’t know […]

NZ animal welfare & public consultation

Posted on May 16, 2016 in Animals & Plants & Stuff, Fieldnotes

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) regulates animal welfare in NZ, and it currently has two proposals out for public consultation. Interested parties have until Thursday 19 May to get their submissions in. I’m finishing my own submission (which I’ll post here later because they’re all available via OIA requests anyway) but I want to […]

Fieldnotes: Stop motion farming

One of the things I planned for my sabbatical is learning how to make stop motion videos for research dissemination / public engagement. I’ve never done it before, and although I’ve always enjoyed the aesthetic, I’ve chosen it because of the relatively low barrier to entry, especially in terms of skill. In my case, scenery […]

Fieldnotes: “I am a fieldnote”

Posted on Dec 18, 2015 in Fieldnotes, Research Methodologies

It’s hard to explain to others how we do something. Anything. But it’s especially difficult to do it when much of what happens takes place in our own minds, hearts and guts, and with our own hands and backs and feet–whether we’re ethnographers or welders or veterinarians or priests. As a student I wasn’t taught […]

Fieldnotes: Week 2

I’ve been on research and study leave for two weeks now. This is what’s happened and what I’ve learned so far. TVNZ Sunday broadcast an expose on animal cruelty in NZ dairy farming, and there was a lively social media response from farmers to the broadcast and subsequent UK-based advertising campaign – see #agchatnz,  #caring4calves […]

Fieldnotes: T minus 41 hours

Posted on Nov 29, 2015 in Animals & Plants & Stuff, Fieldnotes

My sabbatical officially starts in 41 hours so I thought I’d round up a few things that are on my mind… I first learnt of Robin Wall Kimmerer‘s work from her book Braiding Sweetgrass, and it’s rich in wonderful ideas. She uses a phrase, almost in passing, that I’d almost forgotten from my undergraduate studies: […]

Fieldnotes: the beginning

Posted on Nov 6, 2015 in Fieldnotes, Ordinary Madness of Academia

I’ve read five books this year that keep rattling me. *** Today looks and feels like proper springtime in the Akatarawa Valley. Two days ago I handed in the final grades from the courses I taught this term, and realised that I’ve taught university for ten years and I won’t be grading again for more […]