Friday, 27 January 2017

What's new in 2017?

Writing this post as quickly as possible to make sure I don't have a month with NO POSTS! Since my merry xmas post in December, I took a break from anything work related over the holidays, then as soon as the new year happened, I went to Belize for 2 weeks, where I had zero email or internet access. That was quite nice in some ways, and it was especially enlightening to see how long my iPhone battery lasts when it is not connected to anything ( a whole week!). The last few days of the trip we were staying at a rather fancy resort, which of course had wifi, and I spent much of that time going through a huge email backlog, desperately deleting all the 'not important' ones, to try and narrow the list of things that requires a response to something manageable.
I have so many things to blog about in relation to my experience in Belize, everything from plant taxonomy to fieldwork and family, to Mayan archaeology and the similarities and differences between different subjects' approach to fieldwork. I need to sit down and collect my thoughts before I write about any of those. So what's new in 2017? I feel like I am often writing posts about how busy I am, and this time is no different. Lots of ideas I have had over the past few years came to fruition at the end of 2016, and I find myself running two amazing projects, with a number of other pilot projects on the go in the background. My NERC project will really get going this year, with the SAA conference in Vancouver in March, and fieldwork in Oregon in May. My Wellcome trust seed award project starts at the beginning of February, and will involve spending some time in Turkey over the summer. This year I also start my tenure as a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, which will involve various training events as well as possibly evaluating some proposals. And last week the longest paper I have ever written was published in World Archaeology. It is a bit of a different paper compared to my usual. Most of my papers are the typical science paper, presenting and discussing analytical data. This one is more of a review and critical analysis of a huge area of research, including a lot of theoretical discussion. Outside my comfort zone but an area I find myself thinking about more and more. Funnily enough I even got into a discussion about this with a botanist in Belize who brought up Bruno Latour (an anthropologist of science for those who don't know). It was interesting to see how dismissive some people can be about the philosophy of science (I was the same when forced to study it as an undergrad), but when you really look into it you see that thinking about how we think is actually fundamental to science!

A view above the rainforest canopy at the foothills of the Maya Mountains

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