I was quite pleased with how it looked and it was also good to see one of my images as the basis for the conference poster - I had forgotten I'd been asked for an image and had sent one. But next time I must take titles and descriptions too - so that people can see a bit more about how and what it is made of.
I didn't design the poster though. I didn't sumbit an abstract to the conference for a paper as I knew I would be so busy with preparing for the Gothic Creative Showcase at Sheffield Uni, the Victorian Representations Conference at Leeds Trinity Uni and the first walk and talk I did for Darling Roses WI round St George's Field in the previous days so I just suggested bringing some work and they were happy with that. And though I was nervous - it didn't feel as onerous as it would have done if I had been delivering a paper as well. It was much nicer to just display my work and answer questions about it informally over lunch or coffee.
The conference was very full on - packed with papers on all sorts of different topics (though all connected to material culture and mourning in some way) from all sorts of different academic backgrounds, artists, funeral celebrants. It was absolutely fascinating and I learnt lots - came home with my head swimming with both new facts (learnt a bit more about the mythology surrounding chinese hopping ghosts) as well as new ways of looking at things I already knew a little about - the state power exerted over ways of dealing with the dead for instance, the way headstones are reused in Denmark, the survivor tree from Ground Zero in America, the common signs people often say they've seen after a loved one has died eg feathers, birds, the role of the authorities after the Hillsborough disaster and many other things.....my reading list never gets any less.....
I was very anxious indeed about going to Warwick Uni as it involved going somewhere completely new for me, getting a very early train (had a lovely chat all the way to Birmingham though) and having to be up at 4.45am but thanks to an online chum of some years who is now a real life chum part of this anxiety was minimised as she not only kindly put me up for a couple of nights but she also picked me up from the station and took me to and from the campus as luckily that is also where she works.
Having done it though it has reminded me that just because I find it rather stressful it doesn't mean I can't do it, and it wasn't that bad and it was well worth it...somoene please remind me of this when I am flapping about getting to Lincoln which all being well will be next February.
But as fab as this busy-ness is in lots of ways - learning new things, making new connections, it has also been absolute bliss today to not have to go anywhere or be anywhere by a certain time. I'm sad that folks feel they have to take strike action (not because I don't think they should strike but because they feel they have to in order to make their point) but I am also relieved as it meant the appointments I had today in college have had to be re-arranged, meaning I get a lie in and a chance to catch up with myself and stop feeling like I am 'running to stand still'.
So not only am I feeling a massive sense of relief because I can have a bit of a breather (but not too much as portfolio hand date in gets ever closer and I have a LOT of work to do to get the work I've been making into a state good enough to hand in) but also becuase my beloved Canon film slr that I got from a charity shop and which has become my go to camera only needed new batteries - it wasn't broken PHEW!!!!
A couple of other points I'd made a note of - there was a programme on Radio 4 last Tuesday - other than making a note that it was Tues am I didn't make a note of its title but it was post Today and pre Womans Hour and was talking about identity - and the point was made that identity is made of memories and memory and how it works or doesn't is something I'd like to work with a bit more...which makes me again think there just aren't enough hours in the day....
The other thing I noted from last week was I was chatting to a colleague about how much writing I'd done over the course of the course (approx 292,500 but with this blog post approx 294,500) but how much I had struggled with the dissertation - and I had thought that my struggle with it was because of the events surrounding it - I was still intensely grieving for my beloved Lucia and my sister in law died suddenly and unexpectedly - I am still grieving for them both but it is not quite as all consuming as it was at the time, but my colleague pointed out that something like a dissertation has a very strict laid down format and academic conventions which you have to adhere to, wheras a blog is much freer and only limited by the software you use to create it really. This makes me feel a little less scared when it comes to applying for potential phd places - or rather the writing I will have to do when it comes to thesis time.
So busy, busy, busy but it's all good :-)