Archive for the 'personal' Category

Good bye 2015!

As 2014 was tough and madly busy (teaching, research, City of Culture projects), one of my goals for 2015 was to  catch my breath and recharge my batteries. It was the first time in 10 years when I had a two weeks holiday!

But it was, nevertheless, busy. My students made me very proud – I had the chance to work with very good students both at the undergraduate and at master level in 2015!

The meSch project team was involved in several exhibitions at Museon, Allard Pierson Museum, Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra and, closer to home, the Hunt Museum. I worked on the evaluation of the Atlantik Wall exhibition in The Hague in May and June, and it was good to be doing field work myself again. Too often I sit in my office and polish interview questions, help with ethics applications and data analysis, and the students have all the fun! It was very fulfilling to see our work from 2013 on so well received!

I was given the chance to host the Communities and Technologies 2015 conference in UL, and although it was a long struggle, I have the feeling that it went well and people enjoyed coming to Limerick (although our June didn’t look like summer at all!)20150630_152453_Unnamed Rd


Following an application written in a hotel room in Helsinki while attending NordiCHI last year, IxDA Limerick received a grant from the Year of Irish Design and we were delighted to host some brilliant speakers throughout the year.

I got involved in the ATTIRE project and had the chance to witness the brilliant collaboration of fashion designers and dress makers with electronics and 3D printing enthusiasts at FabLab Limerick over a 6 months period.

I have travelled a lot- again!- (Denmark, Sweden, Luxembourg, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Scotland), mainly for work. I must say I enjoy travel less than I used to – teleportation couldn’t come soon enough to rescue me from the airport hassle!

On a more personal note, I am delighted to have fulfilled the dream of planting a “secret orchard” on the banks of the Shannon with the Limerick Riverpath Volunteers. Also, I took a course in Limerick lace making this autumn and I am enjoying my lace making time a lot. The plans to augment it with technology make it even more attractive!

I went to Romania for a week in spring – unfortunately it was as hectic as always, having too little time and too much to do. I wish I could have spent more time with my kids- maybe next year?

We had a great holiday in West Cork this year, and even if the weather wasn’t very kind to us, we managed to visit some fantastic corners of the area. Also, we took a week-long writing course with John Boyne as part of the West Cork Literary Festival. We had some great writers-to-be in our group, and I am much more open to reading books from more diverse genres since. I am still trying to get into a routine that would involve writing – but at the moment it’s still all bits and pieces spread in various notebooks and files.


Also, we had some great weekend trips this year: we went to Liss Ard and Cape Clear Island in September, escaped to Castlegregory for some autumnal sunshine, and celebrated our anniversary at Grange Manor (highly recommended!).

Last but not least, I received the 2015 University of Limerick Award for Excellence in Service to the Community in August for the contribution to the Are You Dancing? and Amazing Lace (City of Culture projects), for Limerick Riverpath Volunteers, 3Dcamp and so on. I felt deeply honoured- after all, I’m just a blow-in.


December 31 2015 | personal | No Comments »

What a day!

Everybody around me knows I’m always busy. But today was quite unusual, because it involved two events related to Creative Writing, which  interests me a lot, but rarely can afford the time  to pursue- there’s simply too much happening!

I woke up a 5:55am, tortured by a thousand questions related to a conference budget. I revised the budget – again!, I sent a couple of emails and updated the event page on Eventbrite (hopefully it will go live tomorrow!)

I got to the university at 8:45am, with my porridge in a jar, as I couldn’t afford the time to make it and eat it.

9:15am. I was in the middle of the first Skype call of the day when my door opened and Prof.Tom Moylan came in with no other than Kim Stanley Robinson! I knew he was around, and I had made time for a joint seminar with the Interactive Media and the Creative Writing master students titled “Interaction Design and Scenario Building”, supposed to start at 10am in our Design Studio. I brought the guests to the studio, rang my colleague, tried to organise coffee (and failed), finished the Skype call, initiated the next one while fighting with the printer to get a presentation printed for a student. Workshop details discussed.

10am. The joint seminar was very interesting- we drew parallels between writing and designing, spoke about the  similarities between characters and personas, the importance of narrative for both fields and how scenarios come about. One day I might find time to transcribe my notes!

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12pm. I ran downstairs to talk to three of my students whose final year projects I have supervised this year. Alex explored opportunities offered by NFC tags to make the connection between buildings on campus and digital content about those buildings, Niamh studied gesture interaction opportunities in a museum environments and Athiei filmed people telling stories about particular places around Limerick in those very places.

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1pm. Two more emails and a phone call, and I ran to the weekly gardening session of the UL Community Roof Garden, to introduce one of my master students to the group and do a bit of manual work in the gorgeous sunshine.

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2pm. More firefighting – a student who had to demo her project in the lab came to tell me Flash was out of date and she didn’t have rights to update it. I went looking for the technician, sent him her way.

2:30pm. The afternoon demo session started- I went to see two other of my students – Clodagh who designed an app for DIY skincare enthusiasts and Aoife who created a playful interface for keeping track of the roof garden evolution.

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3pm. I got back to my desk for a call with the editors team of a PUC  Special Issue that came out of our 2013 ECSCW workshop. We distributed responsibilities and set deadlines. Facebook gave me a glimpse into the meSch exhibition launch at Museon in The Hague – it looked like a great success!

4pm. I ran back to the lab to see a few more final year projects before the end of the day. I’ve sent a few more emails, tweeted about my students and said goodbye to the people getting ready for the reception.

5pm. Drove to the Clare side of the campus for the inaugural lecture of Joseph O’Connor, Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing. The reception started at 5:15 and the lecture at6pm.


The lecture was titled: ‘Ghost Light: John Synge and Molly Allgood – A lecture through fiction, letters and music’ and Martin Hayes was invited to play during the lecture.

Ellen McCourt- Frank McCourt’s widow- was in the audience. Facebook brought me this video with her taken the other night  in Limerick. Great lady!

I loved  Ghost Light  very much, and during the Q&A chaired by Prof. Sarah Moore some interesting connections came to light: Joseph O’Connor grew up in Glenageary, and passed by Synge’s house at least twice a day.

8pm. Very hungry. We decided to have dinner in the Pavilion admiring the sunset. Very soon after, Joseph O’Connor and his family, Martin Hayes and the whole group of Creative Writing master students arrived to have dinner in the same place. Dinner was lovely- and none of us had to do the dishes!

9pm. Back home, writing a blog post before reading a proposal and grading more student work.

Now you have it! A day in the life…

April 09 2015 | Events and Limerick and personal | No Comments »