Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Settling in at Delft, intro week, and lecturing

It's been a week and a half since my arrival in the Netherlands, and an eventful time even beyond the usual drama of changing countries/cultures.

Less than a day after arriving at the university, I was whisked away to the countryside in Zeeland to participate in and support faculty during their Management of Technology (MOT) and Engineering and Policy Analysis (EPA) introduction week. During this retreat, our activities included lectures on innovation, intercultural communication, workshops on simulations and serious games, and some good old exercise (whether it be sumo wrestling, milking cows, or table tennis!). For this very international crowd, spending time in a Dutch fishing village was definitely unexpected and an ultimately nice change of pace for everyone. It was a way to get to know those who we would be seeing in and around campus for the rest of the year (or for many, two years) and a wonderful coincidence for my first week there. Spotty Internet access wasn't all bad in the end!

Once back in Delft, the surreal nature of the previous week collided with the pragmatics of actual relocation (it could only be deferred for so long, after all). Settling in to any place (and dealing with the agencies one is able to escape as a tourist;) can be alienating so I'm trying to keep positive. Bureaucracy can be immensely crippling, but in general individuals are very willing to help and I've been lucky with that.

In the meantime, things at the university are getting sorted out one by one and I'm getting mesmerized by all the bicycles sailing by, especially during peak times. I will be getting an address to call my own before the week is done, and then it will be time to see about getting a "fiets" as well!

And, wasting no time, I'll be giving my first guest lecture here bright and early Friday morning to some of the aforementioned lovely students who are taking the cross-cultural management course. Looking forward to it!

For some pictures taken this week, see my flickr set here>>

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

An embarrassment of riches

Now that it's back to school time, "So, how was your summer?" is the question to which I find myself spluttering short and unsatisfactory answers. In actuality though, lots of things have been chugging away in the background here at Constructing Amusement.

My summer included dissecting and writing up the data that I collected during my last field sojourn in Asia (Korea, Singapore, India, UAE, and Japan), a mini-burnout, and fleeing the city in search of wine and peaches. I'm only half-joking. With September and the school year underway though, it now feels appropriate to talk about my plans for the Fall. I feel like the dam has finally burst.

I am absolutely tickled to announce that I will be spending the next 6 months in Europe to do a, "Pre-Post-Doc," (as my supervisor playfully calls it). I have been awarded two separate and wonderful opportunities, ultimately courtesy of the European Commission and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research (BMWF).

First, I will head to TU Delft in the Netherlands where I have been appointed as an Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholar for 3 months. Second, I will spend the 3 months following that in Graz, Austria at the IAS-STS as one of their Research Fellows, with additional support from an Ernst Mach Grant (Worldwide). The plan is to look at European contexts of games and play through my dissertation research focus of culture, social structure, and infrastructure (which has been my shtick for a while). The variety of perspectives and input I will gain at these institutions during this final stage of my dissertation writing will be invaluable, and will allow me to check my current assertions while examining the implications for future research contributions.

And, being in the area anyway, I will be presenting a paper on the ethics of informed consent at IR11 in Gothenburg, Sweden. So you should say hi if you're going to be there too, or if you want to find out more about that paper.

It's a busy time, and a crazy time preparing to head out. But who in their right mind would complain.

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