Historical Reminiscents EP 41: Managing Meeting Madness

Photo of meeting room with table. Reads: Managing Meeting Madness"

Meetings and committees are part of professional life, more so if you happen to be spending your time inside academia. Despite the role meetings play in professional settings very few public history programs or history graduate training contains information on how to run an effective meeting, building agendas, and facilitating interdepartmental discussion.  In this episode I talk about agenda creation, my favourite kinds of meetings (yes, meetings can actually be enjoyable!), and tips for surviving meeting chaos.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the necessary evil that is meetings. Leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter.

Mentioned in this episode:
-Jennifer Lundquist and Joya Misra, “Making Meetings Less Miserable
Robert’s Rules of Order

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Historical Reminiscents EP 33: Practicing Kindness and Gratitude

Sign reading Kindness is Magic.

If you’ve listened to me speak about emerging professionals and mentoring you probably know I have strong feels about creating space and how we as a profession should welcome new folks.  Academic and heritage spaces can be intimidating for new professionals, first generation folks, and marginalized people.  This episode tackles how we can take a more active approach to kindness and gratitude in our work.  How can academic spaces be spaces of radical kindness? How can we do a better job of recognizing and supporting the work of others? How can we be kinder to ourselves?

I would love to hear how other folks practice gratitude and kindness in their work, leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter.

Mentioned in this episode:
Anna St.Onge tweet on acknowledging archival labour
You’ve Got This Podcast Episode 71: Expressing Gratitude
-Kelly J. Baker, “Cruelty and Kindness in Academia
Academic Kindness Postcard Exchange

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Historical Reminiscents EP 31: Spaces for Slow Scholarship

Red turtle swimming, on right text reads "Episode 31: Spaces for Slow Scholarship"

Last week I participated in the Manitoulin Island Summer Historical Institute (MISHI), a week grounded in cultural and land based learning practice.  Throughout the week I was struck by how the practice of slow scholarship and taking time to deeply engage with reflection can be used within historical thinking.  In this episode I talk about how slow scholarship can exist in historical work and the value of fostering space for intellectual growth.

I would love to hear how other folks practice forms of slow scholarship their work, leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter.

Mentioned in this episode:
-John Lutz, “Slow Scholarship
-Alison Mountz et al., “For Slow Scholarship: A Feminist Politics of Resistance through Collective Action in the Neoliberal University.
-Beth A. Robertson, “Slow Scholarship as Political Action: The Culture of Speed and the Challenge of Inclusion within the Academy

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Crafting Bio Statements

White light neon sign saying "You Are Here" in capital letters on black background.

“Can you send us your bio?”  Yes, I can….after I’ve antagonized over it multiple times and spent hours crafting a single sentence. We’ve all been at the conference where the speakers are all introduced using lengthy bios that cover everything from education, current academic positions, and every book the individual has wrote.  How much do you normally remember from those bios? How much do you tune out? Writing about yourself is hard.  Writing about yourself in a concise but engaging way can be even more challenging.

Tailor Your Bio

Think about who you are writing the bio for and keep your audience at the forefront when crafting your bio.  Is the bio going to appear in a publication or is it going to be read aloud at an event? The medium that the bio is going to be used in should impact what you include.  As you might have guessed by now it’s pretty common to need more than one version of your bio.  Bios are rarely one size fits all.

You should have a one sentence long bio, a relatively short bio (100-200 words), and a longer more in-depth bio.  I find the one-sentence bios the hardest.  How do you fit everything about yourself into one sentence? You can’t.  You need to prioritize and decide what is most important to present about yourself.  Once sentence bios are typically used on social media platforms or for some writing gigs.

It is also important to revisit your bio.  As your career evolves and as the type of places you’re speaking and publishing change you’ll need to revise and retool your bio with updated information.  However once you have the bones and the structure of your bio established this type of simple updating shouldn’t be too painful.

Academic Bios

Your field might have specific tendencies or standard ways of writing a biographical statement.  A good starting point is often looking a how other scholars in your field write their bios.  What length are they typically? What type of educational, career, and personal information do they include? If you’re writing a bio for a conference check to see if they have bios available online from previous years.  And if the forum you’re writing the bio for gives you a word count respect that space and stay within it.

Narrating Your Professional Life: Writing the Academic Bio” by Grad Hacker provides a great breakdown of the different lengths of bios and the different types of bios you will likely need throughout an academic career.  This post also provides suggestions on how to organize your bio – chronologically, thematic, or broad/narrow focused.

Personality

My favourite bios are ones that have a personal touch.  They aren’t simply a list of accomplishments that tell me nothing about the person.  Yes, even in professional settings you can make your bio more interesting.  Talking about your passions or your approaches to your work can be more inspiring that simply saying “I teach X at X university.”  It’s not always be appropriate to share what you do in your spare time or be super witty.  But sometimes it is appropriate and I think we need to take advantage of opportunities which let us be open and honest about who we are when the time is right.

Pronouns

As an effort to create safer more inclusive spaces I encourage everyone to include their pronouns in any of their written bio statements.  This is a really simple way to be more inclusive and make spaces more welcoming to trans* and non-binary identifying folks.  Similarly, I also recommend folks indicate their pronouns if they are introducing themselves at an event and if you’re facilitating a group activity ask everyone to include pronouns in their introduction.

What are you favourite bio writing strategies? 

Photo Credit: Photo by John Baker on Unsplash.