Category Archives: Disabilities

Three conferences in April … and networking

I’m surprised I’ve made it to the end of the month, really!  Earlier this month, I went to my professional association’s annual conference – the International Association of Music  Libraries (UK & Ireland) Annual Study Weekend.  I had the opportunity to speak at it, so quite a bit of my spare time in March went into making it good!  I spoke about my latest research project and how I hope to extend it more widely, if I can get grant funding.

That was a fairly last-minute opportunity, but not so last-minute as my session at the Academic Music Librarians’ Seminar which preceded the Conference.  I decided to raise the question of ‘Performing the Collections’ – getting the library readers to explore and interact with rarer items in our libraries, and I cited examples of glee-singing in Trinity Laban, the Library Choir at the University of St Andrews, and the Bodleian Library’s Resident Artist, Dr. Menaka PP Bora, who interprets Indian dance.

That session also saw talks by other librarians about how they engage students in user education sessions. The giant snakes and ladders board used at RNCM was the zaniest idea, but certainly seems to have caught on.  (Can I see myself adopting it?  I’m not sure I have the guts!)

The following Saturday saw me shoogling up to Kingussie in the Highlands to accompany a couple of Schubert’s Ossian Lieder, which used German translations of the historic James Macpherson’s so-called Ossian tales. I’m hoping to do a public engagement library seminar in Inverness with a lecturer from the University of the Highlands and Islands, later this year, so this was a great opportunity to meet her and start the conversation. (Networking, it’s all about networking!)

And then this last weekend, I delivered my Ghosts of Borrowers Past paper again at Musica Scotica, in Stirling.  This time, I was a co-organiser, but my main role was as communications and marketing officer – by the time I got there I was exhausted, as I’d been managing the two email accounts and social media postings leading up to the conference, answering queries about bookings and amenities and forwarding scheduling queries to mye co-organisers.  Nonetheless, all went well, as my Storify story reveals.

And now I have to put my teaching artist hat back on, to think again about the teaching sessions I gave before Christmas! – is it really that long ago?

As it happens, on a personal note, I’ve been working with our youngest son to help him organise his studies and exam revision, because his ASD poses problems that his older brothers just didn’t encounter.  I have considerable admiration for special needs teachers, considering how hard I can see things are for someone at the high-function end of the spectrum.  It makes me realise how much structure has to be in place before learning can happen – not to mention how hard it is to keep someone else’s attention from wandering!