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January 24, 2023

Publishing for Arts & Humanities Post–Graduates: CADRE Workshop January 2023

Writing about web page https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/cadre/current_students/phdlife/cadreworkshops/

Following a session for arts and humanities students, the EIC reflects back on the discussions, content and advice offered in a workshop for PGRs.

Today I had the pleasure of attending and helping to facilitate the CADRE Publishing for Arts Postgraduates workshop and seminar on campus, thanks to old friend of the journal Dr Pierre Botcherby. As my first of a number of workshops and events I’m contributing to this year, I was very much looking forward to the discussions. I was also looking forward to helping to host the event in person, as the side conversations you have with delegates seldom seem to occur in the online only format.

Led by Prof David Lambert and cofacilitated by myself and Pierre, the session was an opportunity for the research students to explore, discuss and broaden their knowledge of academic publishing. With a practical edge, the general focus was, largely, on academic journal articles. Although we also dipped into the realm of collected editions, social media and book proposals too. Naturally, because I was in the room, we also got into the complexities of open access and author rights, but perhaps thankfully I didn’t find myself on too much of a soapbox about the commodification of the publishing sector. Well, not too much of a soapbox anyway.[1]

Why Publish?

The opening question put to the delegates was ‘why should you publish’ – for the following areas emerged.

  • Feedback: To gain useful feedback and enrich thesis writing. Appreciating publication is a process [a continuum even? – Ed] too, of which thesis writing is part.
  • Discourse: To contribute to the scholarly discourse and in having something interesting and original to say within it.
  • Enrich: To bring other researchers or fields of study which may have been previously neglected, and in this way enriching the field and reputations of other scholars was a related point.
  • Career: Pragmatically it was pointed out that publishing was essential for building your academic CV, profile, reputation and potential job prospects.
  • Confidence: Interestingly one delegate suggested that publishing helped to build personal confidence in their research endeavors, and also to stake a degree of ‘primacy’ over their field of work or focus.
  • Visibility: Finally, it was agreed that creating a publication track record leads to creating a discussion or focus on your research in the wider academic environment – again a valuable career boosting element.

When to Publish?

Delegates were next challenged to consider when the time was ripe to publish – and an interesting spectrum of times emerged from different parts of the room. These perceptions included:

  • Before: Potentially given prior experience ahead of starting the PhD, drawing on past studies like a Master’s dissertation or professional knowledge.
  • Third Year: During your final year, once the research is done and findings are starting to emerge.
  • Opportunity: As opportunities and circumstances allow – you might not be planning to publish but then a call appears which so closely matches your chapter or thesis theme that not trying to publish would seem self-defeatist.

These were all certainly valid perceptions, and very much reflecting that there is no ‘ideal’ moment, but a myriad of possibilities of opportunities.

Where to Publish?

Next came the knotty problem of selecting a publication destination, something I actually came back to in my own later talk How to Publish. Here discussions were largely around the routes to identifying the right candidate journal – through metrics or considering to whom a journal’s content is normally directed.[2] We didn’t get too deeply into the metrics, perhaps a bless’d relief, although it might be that a 20 minute follow up session these and the JCRs might have benefited the delegates somewhat – not matter my own skepticisms of the preeminence of these schema.

Points were also raised concerning about choosing to write for a niche, disciplinary title against the benefits (and challenges) of seeking to appear in a broader and more cross/interdisciplinary title too. I was gratified to hear some discussion from delegates concerning balancing knockbacks (rejections/declines) from more ‘senior’ titles against targeting ‘lower ranked’ titles. The perception was these more modest titles were normally more likely to be configured in a more welcoming, and accommodating manner whilst retaining quality regimes. I would certainly hope Exchanges itself falls into this latter category!

What to Publish?

Next, we enjoyed some more debate over what exactly to publish, although journal articles and book reviews were both seen as good starting points. Book chapters, especially as a result of conference participation and later collected editions were also agreed as strong and sometime serendipitous publication opportunities to be very much encouraged. Books, especially the research monograph, were noted as especially valuable for career capital but in terms of time commitment items with their much longer lead time to publication something which might be a greater challenge in terms of relating to a imminent job opportunity. However, it was highlighted that having any publication ‘accepted’ allowed it to be listed as ‘forthcoming’ within a CV, publication list or profile, which was seen as still offering considerable benefit.

At this point one of the experienced delegates stressed how important they had found it to be responsive and friendly in all their communications with publishers, and how it had opened potential additional avenues to follow up later too. I would concur with this point, and not just because I’m generally on the other side of the editorial communication equation!

How to Publish

Following on was section comprising a twenty minute talk from myself – and rather than blow my own trumpet here’s a link to the slides:

Gareth Johnson Slides Page One - CADRE Workshop

But for the record I covered a little on creating effective titles and abstracts, methods for evaluating candidate journals and publishers, the dangers of ‘trash’ publishers, coping with peer-review feedback and clearing third party rights. I also dipped into the importance of considering how a journal or publisher deals with author rights – in terms of requiring a transfer of economic rights, vs journals like Exchanges which allow authors to retain them. It seemed to go down well enough – although I might have frightened one delegate with my warnings about publishing in trash journals and career impact.

Oops.

Wrap Up

After some discussions over lunch we moved into the wrap up for the session, touching briefly again on open access and edited collections [3]. We also had a bit of chat about the artificialities of page and content lengths in a digital publishing age, although as demonstrated – some (many?) journals still have hardcopy editions which impacts on their minimum and maximum sizes for volumes and contents. Finally, there were discussions around blogging and social media as a route to ‘publishing’ and raising personal visibility. As a long-time blogger [4] I’m not sure how much blogs work that well in that respect today, but I’d agree they are a great environment within which to start a conversation alongside practicing your writing habits. As I commented though, some publisher’s definition of ‘prior publishing’ can be tricksy – in that they claim only ‘they’ perform ‘true’ publication…and yet ‘blogging’ by prospective authors might somehow be considered prior work and risk clash with a submission based on the blog.

ARGH!

I, and by extension Exchanges, very much disagree with this perception, which is mired more in considerations of profitability and market return than supporting scholarly discourse. Nevertheless, it was something worth flagging up so the delegates might be aware it could prove a future problematic for them to overcome.

Hence, as you can see a packed couple of hours, with plenty of good content and discussions. My thanks again to the hosts and delegates for all their contributions too.

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Endnotes

[1] Delegates were probably lucky I wasn’t running the session alone as I would have loved to get into these areas in more detail. But, when you’re sharing the stage it doesn’t do to hog the limelight too much!

[2] As I commented on twitter, I am usure how strong an argument ‘audience’ is these days, with much research indicating readers come in primarily at the article rather than journal level. Certainly for my own praxis, I rarely if ever read a specific ‘journal’ these days – I search for article on topics of research interest instead. Frankly being ‘open’ is more important to me than ‘prestigious’!

[3] I wasn’t aware that Warwick had a series for these, so this was an especially useful bit for me.

[4] I think this current blog is my fourth or fifth regular professional blog platform, so yes a long time and reasonably prolific.


November 10, 2022

Early–Stage Researchers – Special Issue Invitation Launched

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/special-issues

A new special issue project is launched, tying into a researcher developmental course.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Warwick’s Leadership and Management Development Course on reflective practice for early-stage researchers. The course, which is being run three times this year aims to generate some discussion and exchange of experience between researchers who are early in their career and are looking to broaden their understanding of the wider research landscape. Yesterday’s session was focussed in on writing and publication, which was why I was there: to offer insights into the art of peer-reviewing and editing journals.

While only a relatively small cohort of delegates, there were some excellent and perceptive questions and insights shared, and I think considerable interest in what I had to say! The course will be running with two further researcher cohorts this academic year, and I’ll be popping up in each of these as well. It certainly is nice to interact with some scholars I’ve not met before, and who for once, aren’t directly linked to the IAS. I am also looking forward to learning more about new researchers’ perceptions of academic authorship and scholarly publications too.

Synergistically we’ve also partnered with the LMD [1] to launch a special issue call tied to this course. In it, delegates are being invited to submit critical reflections around their research practice inspired by or promoted by the course contents themselves. Naturally, we hope a few of the course participants might also get involved as associate editors for the issue too, so we’ll see how that develops over time. I suspect there will be some very interesting papers submitted to the issue on the basis of what I heard yesterday.

Special Issue - Early-Stage Researcher Reflections: [Anticipated Publication - 2023]
This special issue is devoted to participants within the three cohorts of the Warwick Leadership and Management Development course for developing early-stage researchers. Course delegates are being invited to submit critical reflections concerning their own research practice. These are expected to be inspired by their experiences, insights or considerations arising from the course contents and discussions with their peers. Manuscripts may opt to provide a holistic overview of the researchers’ experiences or choose to focus in on particular aspects of their life and work.

Find out more about all our past, present and future (!) special issues here:

https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/special-issues

My thanks to Dr Harriet Richmond of the LMD for the invitation to get involved in this course, and for proposing the special issue too!

Endnotes

[1] Which I now realise is also the same acronym as Life Model Decoy in the MCU


May 26, 2022

Developing a Monograph Proposal

Writing about web page https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/ias/calendar/?calendarItem=8a1785d8804667f701808a917361052e

Don’t worry. Exchanges isn’t about to make a major pivot and set up shop as a full-blown academic publisher. No, the title in questions refers to a forthcoming panel discussion I’ve been asked to chair as part of the IAS’ Accolade programme (Thu 9th June). In a similar vein to the one I chaired a few weeks ago on strategic article publishing, this session sees a small collection of scholars coming along and talking about their experiences – this time focussed on monograph publishing. Specifically, the session’s title alludes to developing a monograph proposal, but I suspect conversations will drift wider than this to encompass the whole publishing journey.

Hence, my hope is that the panel will be able to expose the high and low spots of their publication journeys. I think crucially this will be complemented by an exploration of the initial steps – answering the key question of ‘How do I start?’ for the audience. Naturally, as a journal publisher myself, I’m going to be especially interested in hearing about their interactions with editorial and production staff alike. These might not be the focus of discussions -more’s the pity – but I suspect there will be a few insights or even revelations along the way!

Of course, like the previous panel my hopes are for the majority of questions for the panel to be raised directly by the attendees. I am understandably though also in the process of developing a battery of discussion points to prompt some initial debate. It’s always been my experience in running panels like this that you normally need a couple of ice breaker questions, and perhaps a closing one, to shape the session. Beyond these, I find the audiences are usually willing to drive the direction of conversations themselves. That said, as an experienced panel facilitator, I’m also prepared for a lengthy stony silence from the audience too which is why I like to have around a dozen back-up questions to hand.

Suggestions for any potential questions or topics to put to the panel ahead of the event, are of course always welcomed via all our regular communications channels. Personally, I’m very much looking forward to participating in these discussions, so here’s to a vibrant exchange of insight!


May 09, 2022

Panel: Developing your Publication Strategy '22

Last week I hosted a couple of workshops for the IAS. The first (3rd May) was the return of my popular Exchanges Ask me Anything session, wherein our early career fellows get to ask me, well, anything about the journal – and often the world of academic publishing at large too. They also get to watch me sip a cup of tea as I offer them time and space to think of their questions without me talking too. Seemed to go well, so far as one can tell in an online teaching environment. We’ll be running this again in the autumn I suspect for the next batch of ECFs we induct.

Thursday (5th May) though was the more significant of the workshop sessions. This was my second iteration of the Developing your Publication Strategy, which regular readers will recall I originally hosted back in March 2021. As this had been such a successful session, I was asked last month if I’d be willing to offer it again: a request to which I quickly agreed.

I decided this time fantastic though the panel members were last year, that for this new panel I’d try and recruit some different voices. Different academics would bring with them fresh and unexpected perspectives, and I hoped would contribute to an engaging session for the delegates. As before, I reached out to a goodly number of contacts, many of whom were unavailable (if otherwise willing) to participate. I did though, thankfully, strike gold with three past Exchanges authors and I will confess, past podcast guests too: Dr Catherine Price (Nottingham), Dr Mark Readman (Bournemouth) and Prof Monica Mastrantonio (York). Thanks to the efforts of the EUTOPIA Consortium, I was also able to recruit Prof Marcus Pivato (Cergy Paris) to add into the mix as well.

I was delighted to say we had a packed 75 minutes during which my four panellists handled all manner of questions from the audience. From complex ruminations on creating an interdisciplinary portfolio, through to their thoughts on the current scholarly communications field and advice on how delegates might refine their own practices. While I had a battery of questions to hand to keep the conversation flowing, should the audience be a little restrained in offering their own, I had little need to return to these during the session. It certainly was a lively debate, and feedback from speakers and delegates alike on the day seemed most positive.

I am naturally deeply indebted to all of the speakers for their participation and gracious gift of time, as each of them really helped the session come alive in different ways. As panel chair it was interesting to observe how we touched on similar topics to the 2021 session, albeit debating them within a slightly different framing. Such is the joy of running a panel session – you never know quite what you’re going to learn.

I am also grateful to the audience, who played their part well. Not only were they thought provoking in their questioning, but they also contributed to a wonderful continuing thread of debate within the text chat. Certainly, one advantage of hybrid/online sessions over a f2f one is that you get this wonderful additional thread of debate available for all, rather than just the people you’re whispering sitting next to you. Prominent among the topics tackled here were perceptions of peer-review and anonymization, which exposed some very big divides and surprising disciplinary assumptions among panellists and audience alike.

The text chat also captured a range of resources and links, that I promised to collate for further interest [1]:

I very much enjoyed running this panel, which was illuminating for myself as well. Hopefully, we’ll see this panel session revisited in some format during 2023 once more – with yet another set of fine panellists!

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[1] Beall’s ‘predatory’ trash journals list came up too, but given the considerable issues over this in recent years I’m not including it here.


November 15, 2021

Session Reflections – Educational Podcasting Panel

Follow-up to Educational Podcasting Panel from Exchanges Reflections: Interdisciplinary Editor Insights

I am pleased to report the Accolade session on education podcasting, organised in collaboration with Exchanges, certainly exceeded my expectations. All of my panellists were as expected excellent contributors and I am naturally deeply grateful for the time and enthusiasm they provided over the hour-long discussion. I was, perhaps, even more satisfied in how I did not have to work my way through many of the pre-prepared panel questions, as those which arose from the floor came so thick and fast. As a consequence, I think the debate was more dynamic and wide ranging along with hopefully being more directly applicable to the audience’s interests.

The session’s format, such as it was, featured introductions from each of the panellists, highlighting their own take on podcasting. What was unexpectedly delightful from a contextual as well as a performative standpoint were the ways each introduction seemed to seamlessly flow into the next. I would love to suggest this luscious flow was directly the outcome of my careful curation of the panel members. However, I would counter it was most likely primarily a serendipitous outcome from gathering an assemblage of knowledge enthusiasts in one place and time. Nevertheless, the manner in which the panellists resonated with each other reinforced nicely why each was there alongside demonstrating from the outset how they would be contributing different perspectives on higher educational podcasting within education.

For my part, I was happy to have a few moments to chip in the odd comment, although from the outset I made it clear I was there as a ringmaster rather than performer for once. Understandably, keeping the conversations managed took up a little more of my main focus, additionally perhaps diminishing the pressure to contribute anything myself!

Regretfully, such was my focus on enabling the conversation I wasn’t taking any notes of the debate. However, thanks to the joy of a Teams based discussion, I was able to capture most of the questions asked. Hopefully, were you not present, the reader will be able to gain an appreciation of the discussions that were consequently sparked through the selection below:

How did you get into educational podcasting, as a creator, user or listener?

In what ways has podcasting played a role in your educational or research practices?

Do you have to pay to upload podcasts to, for example, Spotify?

Can we talk more about the technologies, platforms and techniques for creating a podcast?

Are people willing to listen to podcasts on multiple platforms, or are there ways to distribute them more widely from their original, native, upload host?

Have you experienced any barriers to introducing podcasts as part of the curriculum or within modules? E.g. as a form of assessment, as well as an information resource.

How can you make a podcast with a guest who is not in the same room as you? Is it best to interview via video and extract the sound, or are there other ways to capture good quality audio/performances?

What's the best length for a podcast? Especially in the light of guidance for recording 'long' lectures to chunk them into 10-20 minute segments.

What is your favourite podcast to listen to, and why does it appeal?

From the comments on the day, it was clear the session was very positively received by the audience, which is a credit to everyone who was involved. Hence, I think everyone who attended - including panellists - felt they gained something of interest from the discussions.

Additionally, I am exceptionally pleased in the way the Exchangesbrand has once again been able to be associated with the organisation and hosting of a useful workshop session. Hopefully this is not the last we will hear of podcasting within Accolade or indeed Exchanges itself! Perhaps we will be able to return to this topic afresh in a year's time and see what other lessons or experiences we all have to share by then.

Useful Related Resources:

A few links were shared during the session which included:


November 09, 2021

Educational Podcasting Panel

Writing about web page https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/ias/postdocs/accolade/calendar/autumn/

This Thursday I’ve the pleasure of hosting an Accolade Roundtable panel on educational podcasting. During the session invited panellists will share their personal experiences and perceptions on how they have engaged with podcasting within various higher educational and research contexts. Following this introductory exploration, the floor will be opened for participants to ask questions, add comments or share their own experiences with podcasting. The majority of the session though will be shaped through participant insights, comments and questions.

Hosting this panel naturally stems from my experiences creating and hosting the Exchanges Discourse podcast, but for once I’ve the pleasure of sitting back and let my invited guests hold forth. A bless’d relief for those who might be tired on my voice, perhaps, but more importantly an exciting opportunity to hear lots of different views on podcasting as a medium for professional development, research outreach and educational impact.

I am deeply grateful to the various panellists I reached out to who were able to participate, and a few who weren’t as they helped steer me towards others who were able to attend. For the session our panellists will include: Arun Ulahannan (Institute for Future Transport and Cities, Coventry University), Jessica Humphreys (Academic Development Centre, Warwick), Jim Judges (IT Services, Warwick), Julia Gauly (Warwick Medical School), Naomi Waltham-Smith (Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, Warwick) and Rebecca Stone (Faculty of Arts, Warwick).

Some of this wonderful group are podcast creators and hosts, some have participated in podcasts as guests, and most if not all have found ways to incorporate, apply or embrace podcasting within their professional practice. While the panel is only an hour long, with so many engaging and interesting personalities on the panel, I suspect it will be a fun and informative session. I’m currently sitting here writing some provocations to get the conversation flowing, but I suspect I won’t need to use many of these before the audience start firing off their own inquiries. At least, that has always been my past experience of chairing Accolade sessions.

Will we inspire members of the audience to take up their own podcasting mics? Perhaps, although this is not the principal aim! Nevertheless, what the session does hope to provide is for everyone to gain a better understanding of educational podcasting principles, techniques and practice. At the same time, I would hope the audience and panellists alike will develop a greater appreciation for how, when and where podcasting can enhance pedagogical and research practices. Moreover, if nothing else, the delegates will become more aware of the ways in which podcasting can form a component of their career development strategy. And perhaps along the way we’ll all emerge with an awareness of some great academic podcasts we can all enjoy and from which we can profit.


March 12, 2021

Lonely Nerds Workshop: Speaker Biographies

Follow-up to Lonely Nerds Special Issue Workshop from Exchanges Reflections: Interdisciplinary Editor Insights

Today and tomorrow, Exchanges is co-hosting the Lonely Nerds workshop. You can find out more about the programme via this link to an earlier entry. Here though, for more information about who will be presenting their work during the event are the speaker biographies.

Speaker Paper Session Biography
Benjamin Schaper Conquering the Meatspace: The Reception of David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) in Baran bo Odar’s Who am I (2014) Session 1, Friday 12th

Benjamin Schaper is a Stipendiary Lecturer in German at the University of Oxford. He previously taught at the Universities of Munich and Durham and was a Sylvia Naish Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Modern Languages Research in London. His postdoc project analyses loneliness and human-machine interaction in Romanticism, Modernism, and the Digital Age. He is further editing a volume on German cultural history in transnational film and television and has an interest in literary networks.

Filippo Cervelli Saved by the Nerd: Otaku and the Space of Family in Summer Wars Session 2, Friday 12th

Dr Filippo Cervelli is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Japanese Literature at SOAS, University of London. His research is broadly concerned with representations of individual and social crises in contemporary Japanese literature and popular culture. He completed his PhD in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford in 2018, with a thesis exploring immediacy and the emphasis on the present in contemporary Japanese novels, manga and anime.

Kwasu D. Tembo The Jackal and the Genius: Jake Gyllenhall's Representation of the Pathology of the Occidental Nerd in Nightcrawler and Donnie Darko Session 2, Friday 12th

Kwasu David Tembo is a PhD graduate from the University of Edinburgh’s Language, Literatures, and Cultures department. His research interests include – but are not limited to – comics studies, literary theory and criticism, philosophy, particularly the so-called “prophets of extremity” – Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. He has published on Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, in The Cinema of Christopher Nolan: Imagining the Impossible, ed. Jacqueline Furby and Stuart Joy (Columbia UP, 2015), and on Superman, in Postscriptum: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Literary Studies (2017).

Carolin Fleischer-Heininger Lonely Heisei Japan: On Murakami Ryū's In za miso sūpu Session 2, Friday 12th

M.A. (Magister Artium) in theatre studies (major), German literature, Japanese studies. Doctoral candidate and research associate at LMU Munich. Dissertation deals with: Terayama Shûji (1935–1983); writer, theatre and film maker; key figure of the counter culture in postwar Japan

Natalia Rumak Sherlock And Sha:rokku: Detectives With ASD. Will East And West Ever Meet? Session 3, Saturday 13th

PhD in linguistics (2007). Graduated the Institute of African and Asian studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2000, majored in Japanese language and International Economic Relations. Defended PhD thesis on the problem of translating Japanese onomatopoetic words into Russian, field of scientific research – translation, semantics, teaching methods of Japanese language. Author of the Japanese-Russian dictionary of onomatopoetic words, a teach-yourself guide on Japanese language and guidebooks on Japanese onomatopoetic words and numerals. Also published several articles on translation and semantic problems of Japanese onomatopoeia and a number of articles on problems of Japanese language education (in Russian).

Rebecca Lewis The Fear of Belonging: The Simultaneity of Loneliness and Popularity in Dear Evan Hansen Session 3, Saturday 13th

Rebecca Lewis is a doctoral researcher at the University of Westminster in London. Her thesis focuses on cultural policy, globalisation and representation in the South Korean television industry. Her further research interests are in audience studies and cultural production, particularly in relation to young adults and teenagers.

Daniele Durante From Misfit to Leader: Towards a Revisionist Representation of Otaku and Hikikomori in Japanese Video Game Persona 5 Session 3, Saturday 13th

Born and raised in Rome, Italy, I have studied Japanese language and literature at "Sapienza" University. Currently, I'm enrolled in the PhD program of the same institution for a research on the representation of male same-sex love in Japanese court literature. So far I have been to Japan to take part in two study and research programs. My area of interest includes the history of sexuality, Japanese classical literature, and Japanese contemporary popular culture.

Janée N. Burkhalter ‘Gus, don’t be the comma in Earth, Wind & Fire’: Understanding Psych’s (sometimes) lonely blerd Burton Guster Session 4, Saturday 13th

Janée N. Burkhalter, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Marketing and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University, USA. Dr. Burkhalter teaches and researches at the intersection of entertainment, marketing strategy and social media. She is a marketing scholar, educator and strategist with practical experience in marketing communications, career services, entrepreneurship, diversity & inclusion

Sharon Coleclough So Many Ways to be an Outsider – “Nerdism” and Ethnicity as Signifiers of Otherness Session 4, Saturday 13th

Dr. Sharon Coleclough completed her PhD in Cinematic Performance at the University of Salford in 2014. A Senior Lecturer in Film Production and Sound Design at Staffordshire University, her work combines the theory and practice of moving image production; focussing upon the ways in which meaning is created through the technical application of craft. Recent publications consider the relationship of BAME actors to lighting and camera for Viewfinder Magazine with an inspiring lecture series submission requested by Learning on Screen on the same subject. Sharon works internationally on a collaborative digital project, “The Laptop Tour” which considers the ways performance can be realised through the use of technology.

Alena Cicholewski A place where everybody is a legendary hero… and a total dork” – Representing the American Nerd Community as an Antidote to Loneliness in G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel Comics (2014-2019) Session 4, Saturday 13th

Alena teaches at the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Oldenburg (Germany), where she completed her PhD in English literature in 2020. Her research interests include, but are not limited to, Afrofuturism and postcolonial science fiction and graphic novels.

Marta Fanasca Communicating isolation and sexual negotiation: Nagata Kabi’s My Lesbian Experience with loneliness Session 5, Saturday 13th

Marta Fanasca obtained her PhD in Japanese Studies at The University of Manchester and she is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The Higher School of Economics, Saint Petersburg. Her work investigates gender performativity, Female to male (dansō) crossdressing and the commodification of intimacy in contemporary Japan. She has published several articles focused on the dansō phenomenon in Japan. Her research interests involve and put together Japanese contemporary culture and pop-culture, queer theory, gender and media studies.

Christopher Smith Consumable Bodies, Consumable Self: The Queer Potential of Otaku Subjectivity in Kio Shimoku’s Genshiken Session 5, Saturday 13th

Christopher Smith received a PhD in Japanese literature from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and is currently an Assistant Professor of Modern Japanese Literature at the University of Florida, where he teaches courses on modern Japanese literature, manga, and anime. His research focuses on postwar Japanese literature, particularly contemporary literature (Heisei-Reiwa), as well as Japanese pop culture, including manga and anime. He is especially interested in examining how literature and culture represents, manipulates, and ultimately plays with Japanese history, examined through the lenses of nationalism, national identity, the historical legitimation of power, and postmodernism. He recently published a translation of Tanaka Yasuo’s Somehow, Crystal (Kurodahan Press).

Get in touch if you'd like to attend, and haven't already registered - there's no charge!


March 03, 2021

Publishing Strategy Accolade Session

This week, Exchanges is hosting a session on the IAS’ Accolade researcher development programme loosely titled ‘developing your publication strategy’ (Thu 4th March). I’m delighted that for once I’m only hosting the panel rather than being the main speaker. Instead, we’ll be joined by a range of other academics from both the institution and beyond to share their insights, thoughts and advice on the publication experience. I’m hopeful we’ll have a lively debate.

As part of this session, we’re also inviting questions to be put to the panel ahead of time via email or on Teams. Naturally, people are more than welcome to suggest questions ‘from the floor’ on the day in person or via chat too. Hence, if you’ve got a burning query all ready to go – don’t keep it to yourself, but get in touch.

I’ll try and capture some of the essence of the session for a later blog post – or at least as much as one can when one’s the session chair (never easy to take notes then!).


February 25, 2021

Lonely Nerds Special Issue Workshop

Through its analysis of artistic takes on nerds, our issue aims to intervene in the debate about technologies' and popular media’s influence on social bonds, with a particular focus on loneliness. We suggest a broad understanding of loneliness that includes a wide range of societal issues such as stances vis-à-vis society, the positionality of nerds within or outside of it, their intergroup behaviour dynamics and belonging, their feeling of loneliness both derived from physical and/or emotional isolation, or even conceptualised as loneliness within a group. The issue will hence analyse varying cultural representations of the nerd’s relationship with society in order to critically discuss how various art forms approach the notion of the “lonely nerd”.

We want to ask questions such as: Can we still find common characteristics in representations that are not overtly about nerds? Is loneliness inextricable from any representation of nerds, or do we see narratives where nerds actually become, quite anticanonically, the centre of their community, as small as it may be? And if so, what do these representations tell us about their culture? Are they representational? If this is the case, how can it be used to interrogate relevant phenomena of isolation and loneliness in general? Possible topics include, but are not limited to, fictional explorations of nerds and loneliness (Call for papers, Exchanges, 2020)

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We’re delighted to announce a two-day workshop as part of our preparations for our ‘lonely nerds’ special issue, to be hosted by the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick, Friday and Saturday 12th/13th March. This online event will be a chance to hear papers from the authors contributing to this special issue on a range of topics concerning the representations of nerds in cultural milieu around the world.

Hosted by myself, in partnership with Dr Ben Schaper (University of Oxford) and Dr Filippo Cervelli (SOAS, University of London), it will be two highly engaging, insightful and challenging talks given by speakers from around the globe on a diverse and fascinating topic.

To reserve your place contact: exchangesjournal@warwick.ac.uk. There is no fee for attending.

[Edit: Biographies of the speakers are now available]

Event Schedule (Fri 12th-Sat 13th March)

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Friday (Day One)

15.00 Welcome

15:15-16:45 Session 1

  • Guido Furci (Paris 3, Sorbonne Nouvelle): Through the Nerdish Glass: Rereading Antiheroes in Modern Italian Culture
  • Benjamin Schaper (University of Oxford): Conquering the Meatspace: The Reception of David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) in Baran bo Odar’s Who am I (2014)
  • Aneesh Barai (University of Sheffield): Child detectives, specialist knowledge and the sociable genius: Detective Conan and adult-child identities

16.45 Tea break

17:15-18:45 Session 2

  • Filippo Cervelli (SOAS, University of London): Saved by the Nerd: Otaku and the Space of Family in Summer Wars
  • Kwasu D. Tembo (Independent Researcher): The Jackal and the Genius: Jake Gyllenhall's Representation of the Pathology of the Occidental Nerd in Nightcrawler and Donnie Darko”
  • Carolin Fleischer-Heininger (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich): Lonely Heisei Japan: On Murakami Ryū's In za miso sūpu

18:45 Close

------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday (Day Two)

10:25 Introduction

10:30-12:00 Session 3

  • Natalia Rumak (Lomonosov Moscow State University): Sherlock And Sha:rokku: Detectives With ASD. Will East And West Ever Meet?
  • Rebecca Lewis (University of Westminster): The Fear of Belonging: The Simultaneity of Loneliness and Popularity in Dear Evan Hansen
  • Daniele Durante (University of Rome, Sapienza): From Misfit to Leader: Towards a Revisionist Representation of Otaku and Hikikomori in Japanese Video Game Persona 5

12.00-13.00 Lunch Break

13:00-14:30 Session 4

  • Janée N. Burkhalter (Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia): ‘Gus, don’t be the comma in Earth, Wind & Fire’: Understanding Psych’s (sometimes) lonely blerd Burton Guster
  • Sharon Coleclough (Staffordshire University): So Many Ways to be an Outsider – “Nerdism” and Ethnicity as Signifiers of Otherness
  • Alena Cicholewski (University of Oldenburg): “A place where everybody is a legendary hero… and a total dork” – Representing the American Nerd Community as an Antidote to Loneliness in G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel Comics (2014-2019)

14.30-15.00 Tea Break

15:00-16:30 Session 5

  • Marta Fanasca (University of Manchester): Communicating isolation and sexual negotiation: Nagata Kabi’s My Lesbian Experience with loneliness
  • Christopher Smith (University of Florida): Consumable Bodies, Consumable Self: The Queer Potential of Otaku Subjectivity in Kio Shimoku’s Genshiken
  • Ozgur Cicek (Freie Universität, Berlin: Young, male, and unruly: The representation of nerds in Turkey between 2000-2020

16.30-16.45 Tea Break

16.45-17.15 Final Discussion

17:15 Close


October 08, 2020

Exchanges AMA 2020


Today we rolled out the annual Exchanges session for the IAS’ Accolade programme, although with being online this year it was slightly different. Last year we had a fantastic [1] gamified workshop on publishing traumas, and the year before that more of a chalk and talk session. This time, well, the opportunity to host a Reddit style AMA (ask me anything) session seemed ideal. It was discursive, well suited to the online format, allowed for written or spoken questions and best of all, I didn’t need to do too much preparation.

Well, that is aside from ensuring I’d pre-written answers for the three outline questions I’d posed in the event blurb, to ensure we had something with which to kick off discussions. My thanks to my esteemed colleague Dr Sarah Penny for hosting and acting as session chair. Also, my thanks to those research fellows who listened and questioned me for what became a surprisingly fun 30 minutes of chat about the journal and publishing in general [2]. I hope you all got something useful, interesting or at least vaguely entertaining out of the session!

So, reader of the editorial blog, you’re probably wondering what was asked. Well, and I’m slightly paraphrasing, here are the topics we touched upon today.

  • ‘Are articles rejected by journal editors when reviewers actually suggested major corrections?’
  • ‘Are you approaching people to take part in the podcast or are people approaching you?’
  • ‘Do you have any advice for starting out reviewing in journals? [Especially] do you have any tips for overcoming imposter syndrome?’
  • ‘Do you prefer outlines [abstracts] before the completed paper [is submitted]’
  • ‘I’m interested in if [Exchanges] is interested in new methods to integrate data (rather than findings from research studies’
  • ‘I’ve never published before, and it’s nerve wracking’. Can you offer any support to someone like me?’
  • ‘What are the three best ways to really annoy an editor?’
  • ‘What’s a/your journal impact factor?’
  • What’s the deadline for the upcoming issue?
  • ‘Why should I publish in Exchanges?’

As for the answers…ah, you really needed to be there. However, I might pick up on one or more of these themes in future posts and podcast episodes, so maybe I won’t leave you all entirely hanging. Safe to say one or two of the questions above could probably have filled the entire 30 minutes had I given them the full answer.

Will we run this session again? I’d be keen to, and I’m sure we might find time down the line for a later Accolade repeat. Or of course, a royal command performance elsewhere. As readers, and those who know me, are aware, I will talk about Exchanges and scholarly publishing until the cows come home, so I look forward to the next session – whenever or wherever it might be!

---

[1] Well, I loved it and really want to run that session again, albeit, slightly reconfigured.

[2] Not to forget the hirsute Dr Marcos Estrada, one of my two longest serving and most prolific members of the editorial board for his input today too.


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