This week we were a very small group – the train strikes, deadlines and winter lurgi seemed to have defeated many. If I’m honest I was not in the mood for the group this week, feeling a little worse for ware from a christmas party the night before – but I felt it was important to go and hear about what others have been writing and thinking about since our session last week when we gave each other feedback.
I arrived, a little late, to find one other person. By 1.20 we were only three people and I was on the verge of saying ‘shall we just call it a day and save ourselves for a great Writing into Meaning finale next week?’ But then (thank goodness!), Nehal arrived and suggested that if we weren’t doing WiM perhaps we could got the Student’ union Crafternoon. Genius! My inner youth worker, play worker and 8 year old was stirred. What if we went together and did some sort of crafty arty representation of out PhD’s!? That would be meaningful right?
The four of us adventured over to the Student’s union cafe bar room 76 to find a a table full of crafts and members of the union making christmas cards, snow globes and snowmen. We chatted and wondered what might be fun to do, but also vaguely useful for out PhD’s/ Writing into Meaning process . Would it be good to talk about our PhD’s to a partner and then draw an artistic rcepsresention of each others work. Perhaps not. Instead – after a slice of cake or two we got down to business and made fortune tellers – a hit with everyone aged 5 – 80 if you ask me! But also it turned out, quite a pleasing process and way of breaking things down in pictures words and simple text.
After making the shapes we all set about the task slightly differently considering our different stages of the PhD – for me it was a moment to write my key words and simple explanations of them, for others it was a moment to write key ideas and considerations for their plans and to write questions and ideas under each flap. I enjoyed this task immensely – sometimes it’s great to simplify things, and work in a completely different medium than usual. I wonder if this is something we should all have to do at somepoint? A few weeks ago we had to explain our research as if we were talking to a 10 year old – The PhD fortune teller could be a great aid for this.
I know this is a writing group – however it felt freeing to just do something that was playful, productive and thought-provoking. I left the session with a thing that I had created – a physical object which was a lighthearted visual representation of my work and an accessible conversation starter. My inner 8 year old was proud as punch and has since shown it five people (whether they were interested or not). I look forward to our last session next week.