Last week I gave a seminar as part of the Sussex Energy Group’s seminar series. This was, for me, a Big Deal, because the Sussex Energy Group is a very cool collection of scholars, mostly from the Science Policy Research Unit but also from University of Sussex (the clue is in the name) more broadly.
I’d given my seminar the catchy title “Industrial decarbonisation: where does it come from, where might it go?”
Attendance was good, the questions were good, it was all okay (I think). This blog post, written out of narcissism disguised as reflexivity/iterativeness, will cover (not briefly enough) the process, the product – though you could watch it here) and the outcomes. The “what would I do differently” question gets a run too, obvs.
A couple of months ago I offered to do a seminar on the industrial decarbonisation project that I am a research fellow on. The date of March 8th was pinned down and I made plans to spend some time putting it together, bit by bit so it wouldn’t be a mad rush at the end.
I then of course ignored those plans. Then came the strike (a whole week, and half of a week over the next two weeks). It was all a bit like that odd scene in Monty Python in the Holy Grail where the guards in the room are looking out the window at some guy in the distance charging towards them. He never seems to get any closer, and so they don’t do anything and then – suddenly, impossibly quickly – he is in the room killing them….
And who am I kidding – if it hadn’t been the strike, there’s have been Something Else.
So there is the Six P rule – “Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance”
And then, in the real world – or my real world – there’s the Four Ps.
Procrastination (which is more disorganisation and fear than straight-up laziness)
Pivotting away from other important stuff I was doing (trying to get my head around clusters and their internal workings)
Productivity – Initially I thought to write my script and then do the slides. I found that a bit alien, and couldn’t sustain it, so I created the slides, and then the script. Over time I refined the slides, talked it through to myself a couple of times, consolidated some stuff. I thought about throwing the International Women’s Day stuff overboard, but then chose to keep it, and am glad I did
Panic – there wasn’t too much of this. I knew that as long as I didn’t go over time, then it wouldn’t be a disaster.
You could watch the whole thing here if you wanted.
So, after a nice introduction, there was a tolerably smooth 30 minute talk, which covered a lot of ground. I put in a “questions of clarification” moment about halfway through, but nobody availed themselves, so I ploughed on to the end
There was then about 25 minutes for questions (I absolutely hate those talks where someone says they are going to leave plenty of time for questions and then they keep going and going and there’s only time for two or at most three. I think it’s either rude or cowardly or both. I am sure I’ve been guilty of it in the past, but at least on the 8th I was not).
Some really good questions (which I could have answered more clearly and concisely).
I also got sent two very useful sources, one known and one not.
And a reminder of a paper called “Moving policy implementation theory forward: A multiple streams/critical juncture approach” by Michael Howlett, 2019 (sagepub.com)
As a semi-direct outcome of delivering the seminar, I also am now supervising a Masters dissertation (my first, and here’s me without an actual Masters myself…)
Doing the seminar also contributed to further discussion between me and the PI about the project, which is now significantly different (in an improved way).
- improve my image creation skills – there was a slide which created confusion about windows and entanglements
- get more confident with screen sharing so that I don’t dump any work on anyone else.
And voila, it turns out that I will be doing another seminar in October – will let you know. Right now I am pretending that it will be 6Ps instead of 4Ps. Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so.
BLESS the autocaptioning. It couldn’t cope with “CCS” and so rendered it as “sex.”
It’s almost as if we have technologies but they won’t quite deliver what we want or need…