Four days a week, I’m an academic librarian. One day, I’m a postdoctoral researcher. In August, the emphasis will shift slightly to three and a half days and one and a half, for the duration of my AHRC network funding grant.
A couple of days ago I realised my SCONUL Focus article was now in print, describing how my three roles in librarianship, research and pedagogy serve one another. I find it quite easy writing about process, and I’ve often been asked to write or speak about this kind of thing. In fact, my PGCert project also had a focus on process: I was contemplating the best ways to support distance learners in their information needs and skills development, and although the project gave me insight into how social scientists conduct educational research, and conducting the survey and interviews was an unexpected eye-opener, at the end of the day I was writing not only about my research findings, but about process, ie, the best ways to support learners.
However, it’s more challenging and perhaps more satisfying to write engagingly and accessibly about my musicological research, because it goes deeper into my specialism. I have several pieces of writing submitted and awaiting publication at the moment, but what’s missing is something actually on the drawing-board, being written right now. That’s largely because I was completing the PGCert portfolio. Librarianship happens four days a week, research a fifth, and the PGCert had to fit around family life and my spare time. Which didn’t, to be truthful, leave any spare time for writing!
However, I remembered the other day that I gave a paper earlier this year for which I have not yet sought a published home. Maybe, just maybe I ought to dig it out and see what needs to be done to turn it into a proper paper for submission.
Librarianship, research, pedagogy … and author. Well, after my annual leave, anyway!
I gave a paper about my most recent researches into St Andrews’ historical legal deposit music at the Musica Scotica conference, a couple of weeks ago. I was subsequently asked by another organisation if I would write a paper for a journal. Luckily, the Musica Scotica spoken paper had been typed out in full, complete with reasonably good footnotes, so with the approval of the committee, I worked it up into a proper paper for submission, and now I await a decision. It would be good to see it published.
Pending decision:- ‘A Music Library for St Andrews: Use of the University’s Copyright Music Collections, 1801-1849’
My line-manager suggested I might consider writing an article for SCONUL Focus (a journal published by the Society of College, National and University Libraries*), since a forthcoming issue is focusing on supporting research. There was a call for writing by librarians who combine research with librarianship – and that’s me to a “T”.
I wrote my piece over the past few days, but felt that something was missing; eventually, I realised that I needed to write about my current pedagogical activities as well as my librarianship and ongoing research. I submitted it late last night; now I need to wait to see if it is what the editors were looking for!
If I were a young American academic, I’d be writing frantically in my efforts to secure tenure. But I’m neither young nor American, and I identify both as a librarian and an academic: I sit on the fence between music librarianship and musicology.
Despite all this, I feel it’s good for my academic profile to get as much published as possible, so with that in mind, and the fact that only 40% of my work-life is spent on research, here’s my 2015 retrospective. To put it in context, October saw the end of my Bass Culture postdoc secondment, so I was busy finishing off that, and writing/speaking was often centred on the project and its resultant website. Public engagement seems to be a regularly recurring theme, which pleases me. There’s no point in doing research if it stays locked up in an ivory tower.
- ‘Wynds, Vennels and Dual Carriageways: the Changing Nature of Scottish Music’, chapter in forthcoming book edited by Gary West and Simon McKerrell, Understanding Scotland Musically (pending)
- Scottish Musical Review (pending) ‘Scottish Airs in London Dress: Vocal Airs and Dance Tunes in Two 18th Century London Collections’
- Box & Fiddle Magazine 39.1 (Sept 2015), 7, ‘Bass Culture in Scottish Musical Traditions’
- Post-Lib (CILIP Retired Members Guild) no.76 (1 June 2015), 3-4, ‘From Where I Sit’
- Reference Reviews (pending), ‘Show me a Strathspey: Taking Steps to Digitize Tune Collections’ http://www.emeraldinsight.com/loi/rr
- Fontes Artis Musicae Vol.62.1 (2015), 17-25, ‘Following the Bass: a New Digitisation Project for Scottish Fiddle Tune Resources’
- Library Review Vol.64, Iss.1/2, (2015), 154-161, ‘Sexy Bibliography (and Revealing Paratext)’ http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/LR-09-2014-0104
- Reference Reviews, Vol.29 no.3 (2015) 41, Review of Nardolillo, Jo, illustrated by T. M. Larsen and edited by David Daniels, All Things Strings: an Illustrated Dictionary (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014)
- Reference Reviews, Vol. 29 no.1 (2015) 47-49, Review of Collins, Irma H., Dictionary of Music Education (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2013), DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/RR-07-2014-0186
- Times Higher Education. What are you reading? 9 contributions to this column since 2012.
PAPERS AND TALKS
- Scots Fiddle Festival, Edinburgh, ‘Fiddle books by the dozen’ (Nov 2015)
- Edinburgh Central Library, ‘An Entertainment Altogether New: a celebration of Edinburgh’s First Musical Festival’ [Bicentenary of the first Edinburgh Musical Festival held between 30th October and 05th November 1815] (Oct 2015)
- Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Exchange Talk: ‘Common Threads: From Sacred to Secular, Ancient to (nearly) Modern’ (Oct 2015)
- Dundee Central Library, Speaker at Friends of Wighton series of Cappuccino Concerts: ‘The Importance of the Wighton and Jimmy Shand Collections’ (Sept 2015)
- University of Glasgow, Speaker at Robert Burns Song Project Symposium (September 2015)
Rather to my surprise, my book has been cited by the author of an article in Oral Tradition. I thought I’d better note this somewhere!
Flemming G. Andersen. “Voices from Kilbarchan: Two versions of “The Cruel Mother” from South-West Scotland, 1825.” Oral Tradition 29.1 (2014). Project MUSE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <https://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Not only, but also …
I am also cited in the Keats-Shelley Journal, a journal about literature of the romantic era. “The annual bibliography of the Keats-Shelley Journal catalogues recent scholarship related to British Romanticism, with emphasis on second-generation writers—particularly John Keats, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt, and William Hazlitt.” Here:-
Ben P. Robertson. “Annual Bibliography for 2013.” Keats-Shelley Journal 63.1 (2014): 159-209. Project MUSE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <https://muse.jhu.edu/>.
And a book review in Notes Vol.71 no.4:-
Frances Wilkins. “Our Ancient National Airs: Scottish Song Collecting from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Era by Karen McAulay (review).” Notes 71.4 (2015): 714-716. Project MUSE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <https://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Even a stay-cation is still vacation. In the interests of relaxation, I’ll try to keep social media postings on a slow simmer rather than a fast boil! After all, I’ll go back to the final push on the Bass Culture project, which ends mid-October. I attended the Music in Nineteenth Century Britain conference at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland last week, but I didn’t submit an abstract for that reason. There isn’t time to sit writing conference papers when there’s a massive spreadsheet to revise prior to HMS.Scot going live.
And I do have three speaking engagements lined up for late October and November already, so at some stage I may take a bit more vacation to get started on writing those: one celebrating the bicentenary of Edinburgh’s first Musical Festival; one for our own research community; and one for the Scots Fiddle Festival.
So … now I need to chill. Here’s hoping for fine weather …
It’s hard to know whether you’re publishing enough, when you’re a part-time postdoc! But sitting and taking stock of recent writing activity, I think I’m probably on track.
- A journal article about our research project (basically a smartened up version of a paper I gave in Antwerp, Summer 2014) – pending publication.
- An article I wrote for a librarianship magazine – more of a personal opinion piece than scholarly writing – pending publication.
- A peer-reviewed, and quite significantly revised version of a paper I gave in Aberdeen, Spring 2014 – submitted and pending response.
- A completely different article about the research project – peer-reviewed and resubmitted – pending response.
- 3 encyclopedia articles uploaded but as yet uncommented upon – pending.
When I’m not in the mood for writing in my spare time, I tend to indulge my creativity arranging music, sewing, or writing blogposts like this one. There’s been quite a bit of creativity in between article revisions of late! However, my wardrobe is now bulging, and I have a backlog of tune arrangements that are in score, uploaded to Dropbox, but need separate parts for each instrument. I really should knuckle down!
However, I’m quite looking forward to tomorrow, because the church choir that I’m responsible for, will be singing one of my own compositions – not an arrangement of a pre-existing tune, for once! – at the end of the service. They’ve practiced hard, and so have I. I do hope the congregation sits still long enough to actually hear it! If there’s a hubbub of people talking and getting up to leave while we’re still performing (yes, this happens), I shall come home very dejected. I shouldn’t mind, because it happens so regularly and regardless of what we’re singing, but … well, I hope it doesn’t happen tomorrow, all the same!