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January 07, 2013

We are back

Writing about web page

Updated: 8 January 2013

Rawson household sketch 1877 Champagne toast

Sketch from a diary entry on the 1 January 1877 showing the New Year's celebrations at the Rawson household at The Hollow near Mackay, Queensland, Australia.

Hopefully you’ve had a pleasant Christmas and New Year sojourn or at the very least a respite from the rigours of the rest of the year. If you’re now looking for informative entertainment that’s more highbrow than ‘That Dog Can Dance’ or less scary than the snowmen in the Doctor Who Christmas special, then the Knowledge Centre is happy to keep giving.

Both the Knowledge Centre and I have our own resolutions for the New Year as, over the next twelve months, we both aim to improve ourselves (although, in the case of the Knowledge Centre, this will be for your benefit and won’t involve a gym membership).

Like all good resolutions, The Knowledge Centre is looking at an evolution rather than a revolution. We will still continue to bring you insights and ideas from academics at the University (starting with Professor Mark Harrison’s discussing the cost of secrecy in the former USSR) and we will cover the major academic events, such as TedxWarwick and One World Week. Nevertheless, we’re looking to broaden our horizons (as well as yours) so we’ll introduce articles around the impacts Warwick, and its academics, make through world leading research, local and global responsibility, medical research and our work with business. While the Knowledge Centre adds these strings to its bow, I hope to teach myself British Sign Language (BSL), learn the guitar and pick up some more work-based skills through the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

During the brief periods when I’ll not be writing, studying or strumming away, I’ll hopefully get a chance to get involved in some of the following highlights I’ve added to my calendar.

It’s Oscar time! My money is on Argo for best picture at this year’s Academy Awards. January 20 is also World Religion Day and the following week sees the start of Warwick’s One World Week so there’ll be some interesting events going on around campus for us to report on for the Knowledge Centre.

Asteroid 9387 ‘Tweedledee’ will make its closest approach to Earth. There’s nothing overtly special about this apart from the asteroid’s cute name.

The 120th anniversary of Wilfred Owen’s birth is this month so a trip to his home town of Oswestry might be in order.

And that’s only the first quarter. What are your plans and hopes for the next year? Feel free to post comments below or tweet us @WarwicKnowledge about your own hopes and resolutions for 2013.

November 06, 2012

Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!

Writing about web page

The wizard of Oz 1939
If I only had the nerve: (L-R) Jack Haley, Ray Bolger, Judy Garland and Bert Lahr (Image c/o Wikimedia Commons)

Have you ever taken part in an ice breaking exercise where you put a few facts about yourself in a hat, leaving your name off so you remain anonymous, and your colleagues take turns picking out the pieces of paper and before guessing who’s who? It’s more fun than it sounds and I’ve got more than my fair share of personal facts to drop in the hat. I’ve lived opposite a tiger (called Mike), I played the cowardly lion in a production of the Wizard of Oz at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry and I’ve been called upon by MTV to be an expert interviewee on al-Qaeda.

They’re all true. One of those items would be enough of an anecdote to get you through a party but I seem to collect stories like other people collect wine. I did a reasonable Bert Lahr impression and survived the tiger encounter (although it’s much less exciting when you know it was in a cage). Unfortunately, my knowledge of Middle Eastern politics is limited and is gained from Channel 4 News and The Observer. It turns out there’s another Gareth Jenkins and he’s also a journalist. He’s an expert on Middle Eastern politics and terrorism and, for obvious reasons, he tends to keep a low profile. Me? I’ve spent my career working with blue chip companies or interviewing celebrities about their favourite cheeses. I also like social media and the web and have a very snazzy website that anyone can find to contact me – including MTV.

It took some time to convince the TV researcher that I wasn’t the Gareth Jenkins she was looking for (it’s surprising difficult to demonstrate that you’re not an expert in a field, especially if the real expert is purposefully keeping a low profile). Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m also not the former head coach of the Welsh rugby team either.

Whilst the other Gareth Jenkins’ seemingly have exciting, international lives, I’m reasonably satisfied with mine and where I now find myself. I love writing, I’d say it’s my area of expertise, and it’s great to be working with academics who are just as passionate about the field they’re proficient in. Hopefully, in my time as the Knowledge Centre’s online writer I’ll write something eye catching so I’ll be able to say ‘Yes, I’m that Gareth Jenkins’ when MTV phones up again.

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