Tag Archives: Writing

Completing and Commencing Projects

hurry-2119711_640June 2017 sees me working towards completion of my PGCert project (Postgraduate Certificate, Learning and Teaching in Higher Arts Education), and towards the commencement of my AHRC-funded networking project, Claimed from Stationers’ Hall.

I’m setting things in place for the postdoctoral project, but I’m hopefully going to have the PGCert written and submitted before the postdoc network kicks off.

The PGCert Project

target-418917_640For long enough, I’ve been focused first on getting my practice-based project research proposal written and accepted, and then getting it through the ethical approval process.  Between those two milestones, I devised my project questionnaire and two ‘interventions’ – experimental mini online tutorials that I would share with my chosen project cohort, asking them targeted questions to elicit their reactions to my efforts.

Finally, I was able to get the project under way.  I shared the questionnaire several times.  I set a deadline of the end of May, to allow myself time to evaluate the questionnaire responses.  Finally this week, with the deadline past, I was able to start my analysis.  I had 18 sets of responses, and decided that would do.

Some of my questions were multiple choice (eg, Did this help? Yes or no.)  Others offered the opportunity to give free-text answers.  When it came to analysis, the multiple choice questions were easily turned into pie charts, whilst the free-text ones lent themselves to textual analysis.  Having sorted the answers into rough categories, I even managed to make some more pie charts.  (My study was more like a pie-shop this morning!)

Towards completion

I also need to submit a Journal Summary (1000 words) with PDPdetailing where my learning development has changed with regards to ‘Pedagogy, Research, Scholarship [and] Professional Practice‘ – and I need to refer to key journal entries in that regard.  The PDP shouldn’t go past 3 A4 pages.

  • And complete the UKPSF Checklist

 

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Is it a Bird, Is it a Plane? Hardly Superman!

I’m just back from the Annual Study Weekend of my professional organisation, the International Association of Music Libraries UK and Ireland Branch. And what’s the first thing I do upon my return – after checking emails, of course?  I dive for my CILIP Continuing Professional Developmento portfolio – that’s the Chartered Instititute of Library and Information Professionals – and log my attendance at the Annual Study Weekend.  Revalidation is in the air.  I did a staggering 163 hours of CPD in 2014, and I have lots of professional activity of one kind and another in the offing, so I have to keep up to date.  Hopefully I’ll check what I have to do, and get my revalidation submitted fairly soon, if I can just fit it in amongst all the other activities!

The problem is, I am one individual with one full-time job, but much of my spare time is going on all the extra activities associated with being a librarian three days a week, and a researcher the other two.  I’m almost drowning in it!  Here’s what I’ve just noted in my CPD journal:-

  • March 2015 – Invited to edit the paper I gave at Musica Scotica last year for inclusion in next Scottish Music Review
  • March 2015 – Engaged to give talk at Edinburgh Central Library, Autumn 2015,  commemorating 200th Anniversary of the first Edinburgh Musical Festival.
  • March 2015 – Applied for and awaiting to hear if I’ll be awarded funding …for a 6-month part-time research project to follow on from the AHRC-funded postdoctoral research that ends in October 2015.
  • March 2015 – Submitted article to Emerald peer-reviewed journal
  • April 2015 – Submitted article to CILIP group magazine
  • April 2015 – Invited to be on organising committee for 2016 conference being hosted at my workplace.
  • April 2015 – am on organising committee for Musica Scotica, a 1.5 day conference taking place in Glasgow at the end of this month.

So many opportunities that I feel both energised and overwhelmed.  Sadly, decided to cease mentoring activities, and am grateful that my SALCTG convenorship is coming to a natural end next month.  There are limits to what the average full-time working parent can achieve in their spare time!

Sexy Bibliography (and revealing paratext) – yes, it’s a peer-reviewed article!

I’m pleased to say my article was published in Library Review this month, February 2015 (Vol.64 Iss. 1/2, pp.154-161).  Since it’s an Emerald journal and peer-reviewed, I’m feeling quite chuffed!

I can’t even remember how I dreamt up the title of that article, but it’s about library user education and musical paratext, and draws on my Teaching Artist studies last year. Maybe I should reassure you that “sexy” is a marketing term, and paratext certainly reveals things about the author or compiler of a book.  Not a whisper of black lace or naughtiness anywhere, I can guarantee.

If your university library subscribes to Library Review, you can read the article here.  If not, I’ll share the abstract so you can see what it’s about.

Design/methodology/approach – The main focus of this concept paper is a consideration of best pedagogical practice, and a discussion of how best to embed it in a curriculum designed for performers and other creative artists. Turning from a role as a bibliographic instructor to that as an academic adjunct, the author addresses similar pedagogical issues in a session on Scottish songbooks, which is delivered each year to second-year undergraduates.

Findings – The author wrote a paper on user education for a librarianship journal in 1991. The present paper reflects upon the discernible differences in approach between then and now, and finds that gaining pedagogical expertise has enabled significant improvements.

Originality/value – There is comparatively little published about user education in music libraries, about pedagogical training for librarians working in this field, or about scholar-librarians availing themselves of suitable training to improve their delivery of academic course components.

I hope to resume my studies towards a PGCert (Postgraduate Certificate) in teaching, later this year, and I look forward to gaining further insights which I can draw upon in future teaching activites.

Opportunities are Always There – and They Come in Threes

Another Door Opens …

This week, I’ve offered to write an article about an aspect of our musicology research project, for a librarianship Door opensjournal.  That’s a win-win opportunity, because not only does it benefit the research project and my CV, it also covers both musicology (my research interest) and librarianship (my profession)!

I expressed interest in a librarianship social event – and was invited to write an article for that group, too.

Today I committed the work-life balance cardinal sin of checking my work emails on a Sunday evening.  Well, it’s a good thing I ‘sinned’, as my inbox contained an invitation to contribute to another encyclopedia.  As before, my initial reaction was, ‘Is this me?’  Since it was plainly more ‘me’ than the last encyclopedia, there was no excuse – I had to look at the list of topics still awaiting authors.  In for a penny, in for a pound – I expressed interest in five articles, so I look forward to hearing which, if any, I get asked to do!

So there you are – three unexpected opportunities. There is the risk I may need to take a few days’ holiday to meet my deadlines, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Oh, and I submitted an article to another librarianship journal about a week ago, too.  Well, you never know!

You Only Have to Offer: How I came to author Two Encyclopedia Articles

When my professional organisation forwarded a call for contributors to a new encyclopedia, I glanced very briefly at the email then closed it. Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences?  Surely I was hardly qualified to write for an encyclopedia in which only one of the subjects meant  anything to me?  But then curiosity got the better of me.  Should I not look to see WHAT they wanted contributors to write about, before ruling myself out?

Well, I’m glad I looked again. In fact, I looked twice – I certainly had plenty to say about bards, including much that I’d researched but not actually used, comparatively recently.  Things were looking up.  I got to the letter Z, found nothing more, and went back to the beginning.  Well, I never!  It had never occurred to me to write about arranging music, but I’ve actually arranged quite a bit – albeit on a small scale – and I’ve probably pondered about song settings and piano arrangements far more than the average punter.  Maybe I would dare to contribute something about that, too.

I offered.  They accepted.  No kidding – in the short space of a few hours, I was contracted to contribute two articles to a new Sage encyclopedia.

As is my usual modus operandi, a bit of time had to pass before I felt the urge to actually write my entries.  I had other projects under way, and I could see I would have to spend quite a bit of time on the encyclopedia entries.  I booked a week’s holiday, gathered a few armfuls of useful textbooks, and locked myself away.  The bards piece wrote itself.  I had a ball!  Then I turned to the arranging one.  With a sinking heart, I began to realise that there was much more to it than I’d expected.  Not to arranging, per se, but to arranging as a subject that I had undertaken to write authoritatively about.  How wide would I cast my net?  Well, there was piano, orchestral, choral … okay, I could handle those.  And then there was jazz.  I wasn’t going to go to work on my holiday, but I am a librarian, and I knew we had more books than I had brought home.  I sallied forth and borrowed a few more.  Eventually, it was time to sit down at the laptop and see what ended up on the page.  I returned to work the next week having uploaded my two encyclopedia entries.  Only one needed editing – and not that heavily, either.  I breathed a sigh of relief and pretty much forgot about the whole experience.

Last week, I was surprised to find that the encylopedia is now available for purchase in two big, fat volumes!  I learned I’d soon be able to logon and see my entries in print, and I’m entitled to books from the Sage catalogue to a reasonable value.  I’m still deciding which!  But there is a moral to all this, which is why I decided to blog about it.  It definitely pays to seize opportunities when they come your way.  If I had just deleted that email, I wouldn’t now have another publication (okay, contribution to a publication) to my name.  What’s more, it’s proof that you shouldn’t automatically decide you’re not cut out to do something.  Me, a social and behavioral science author?  I don’t know about that.  But I proved to myself I could pull the rabbit out of the hat when the need arose!

Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: an Encyclopedia

Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences an Encyclopedia

Establishing My USP

You’ll see from the pages on this website that I’m very enthusiastic about social media, and I author several other blogs.  However, they’re not all equally active.  At the same time, though, they all represent different aspects of me.

This KarenMcAulay.wordpress.com blog is going to be my main personal blog from now on.  Anything relating to my Scottish music research, or continuing professional development, will have its own place here, so TrueImaginaryFriends.blogspot.com, and AirsandGraces.cpd.blogspot.com will become dormant.

The successful performing arts blog, WhittakerLive.blogspot.com, which I author for the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will, of course, be unaffected.  You’ll recognise my blogging “voice”, but it’s done in my daytime professional capacity.

I’ll maintain my Academia.edu page – it’s not a blog, and I think it’s worthwhile – but I intend to do a radical pruning of my LinkedIn pages.  They are beginning to look cluttered.

I can also be found tweeting @Karenmca. However, I generally use Facebook only for family and close friends. That’s my personal choice.

My USP?

Looking at my career, and my published output, it’s clear that I have a wide range of interests.  I’m an academic music librarian and a musicologist in equal measure. I’m a musician, an author, a teaching artist and a public speaker.

Commonwealth Games cushionCome Holy Ghost, clipAnd in my spare time, when having fingers in so many pies makes me think my head will surely explode, I chill out by doing dressmaking or patchwork, or sometimes arrange music for choral or instrumental ensembles.  I might tweet about that, but I don’t need to blog about it!

All these activities make it hard to decide what my USP (Unique Selling Proposition) actually is! Chameleon-like, I profile different aspects as the situation requires.  I’ll revert to this topic another day!