Reflecting on 2020

2020 made out of black construction paper

Normally, I post a year end recap of what work, projects, and writing I’ve done in the past year. I’ve decided against doing that this year.

I’ve done things that are worth talking about and I’m working on projects that I’m excited about. But 2020 has been hard. The last thing we need right now is an emphasis on productivity and accomplishment.

We need to prioritize wellness, not production. If you survived 2020 that counts. You occasionally put on pants that counts too.

I want to recognize the privilege I hold as a white settler, as someone who has stable housing, and someone who’s job and wage wasn’t impacted by COVID-19. I’ve only been able to engage in so much work this year because of all of the secure position I’m in.

This year has highlighted how important community care and mutual aid can be. I incredible grateful for my support networks, friends, and colleagues who have helped me through this year.

See you in 2021 friends.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Houseplants and Care

Houseplants with a typewritter

I love my outdoor veggie and flower gardens and have been an avid outdoor gardener for years. It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic hit that I realized I also love houseplants.

Since March my houseplant collection has grown from a few plants I was given as gifts, to a sprawling set of plants that is in constant need of more space. Most of the plants I have are relatively low maintenance, there are a bunch of slow growers, and very few have bright bold flowers. They are shades of green and goodness.

Caring for these plants has brought me a lot of joy. Watering, tending to their soil and light needs, and simply sitting near them reminds of the importance of tenderness and gentleness.

Right now, in a time where there is a lot of uncertainty and the days are getting darker I need that reminder of kindness and care. There’s an urgency to press forward, to keep producing, and to maintain normalcy. Things aren’t normal. And we need to take additional steps to practice care and gentleness with ourselves and others right now.

Things I’m doing to prioritize care:

  • Taking lunch breaks. This seems simple but is something that often gets pushed to the side in favour of catching up on email or finishing one more task. I’m using breaks to reset and do activities I enjoy.
  • Scheduling breaks between meetings and where possible limiting myself to three virtual meetings a day. This one came out of the day where I had six Zoom meetings and was so exhausted by the end of it.
  • Not answering emails outside of work hours. Again, this one seems simple but is so hard to maintain sometimes – especially when working from home and the divide between work and personal time seems more fluid.
  • Spending time with cats and plants.
  • Making an active effort to engage with friends even when we can’t visit in-person. I miss people and virtual hangouts can help with that.

Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash

The Covid-19 Chroniclers

Covid 19 logo

I’m participating alongside Andrea Eidinger, Britt Luby, Carolyn Podruchny, and Sarah York-Bertram in a “The Covid-19 Chroniclers” project. This initiative aims to document our experiences working in academia during the era of Covid-19.

We are chronicling our experiences working in academe throughout the coronavirus outbreak. We are writing as support staff, a tenured faculty member, a pre-tenured faculty member, a sessional instructor, and a graduate student. We feel that our personal lives could reveal how privilege in the academy shapes our experiences. We’ll be posting new content daily on the website and hope that chronicling this experience can be useful to reflect on academic life and to build community within academia.

Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Inclusion in Library Spaces Webinar Recording

On Thursday February 27, 2020 I presented a webinar on “Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Inclusion in Libraries.” Sponsored by the ACRL University Libraries Section Professional Development Committee this session provided an overview of a diverse range of gender identities and experiences and best practices for working with transgender colleagues, students, and patrons.

The slides and speaker notes from my presentation can be found here. You can also check out the PADLET I created as part of the session to allow participants to share what their libraries are doing to support trans and gender variant inclusion. The chat was super lively during the webinar and the collated links from the cat can be found here.

Lastly, if you want you can watch the whole webinar video. Thanks again for all the work of ACRL in supporting this webinar.

Webinar: Trans and Gender Non-conforming Inclusion in Libraries

Rainbow coloured lights

UPDATE: Registration for this webinar is now full (wow! thanks folks!). If you are interested in receiving a copy of the recording you can email Laura Gariepy at lwgariepy[at]vcu[dot]edu and she will make sure you get access to the recording.

On Thursday February 27, 2020 I’m presenting a free webinar on “Trans and Gender Non-conforming Inclusion in Libraries.”

Sponsored by the ACRL University Libraries Section Professional Development Committee this session will provide an overview of a diverse range of gender identities and experiences and best practices for working with transgender colleagues, students, and patrons. Through the sharing of examples, this session will challenge participants to create trans affirming spaces while critically examining library policies, languages, and practices.

Folks can register at: https://www.acrl.ala.org/ULS/trans-and-gender-non-conforming-inclusion-in-libraries/ If you can’t make this session but wish to view a recording later, please register so that you’ll receive an email that includes a link to the video of the presentation.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Appropriation vs. Incorporation: Indigenous Content in the Canadian History Classroom

My latest post, written with Skylee-Storm Hogan and Andrea Eidinger for the Activehistory.ca Beyond the Lecture series is up now.

Appropriation vs. Incorporation: Indigenous Content in the Canadian History Classroom” looks how historians can include Indigenous content in post-secondary classrooms, with an emphasis on providing practical steps and resources.

Podcasting, Scholarship, and History Talk

Earlier today I had the pleasure of providing a virtual talk on podcasting, scholarship, and public history. My talk focused on how podcasts can be forms of scholarship and outreach. I also spoke about my experience recording the Historical Reminiscents podcast.

For folks interested, my slides and notes are up on Google Slides.

Spreadsheet Beauty: Organizing The Things

laptop on table with excel sheet on screen

As is likely evident by a lot of my recent posts, I’ve been doing a lot of collaborative writing and research recently.  A huge chunk of this collaborative writing has been with my co-conspirator colleague Andrea Eidinger of Unwritten Histories. Andrea and I have a lot of project ideas and discussions about things we should work on.  Late in 2018 we decided that we needed to start keeping track of all these brilliant ideas in a more formal way.  Enter the spreadsheet to end all spreadsheets – or at least the spreadsheet to organize our collaborative writing projects. Continue reading Spreadsheet Beauty: Organizing The Things

Celebrating Women and Non-Binary Historians

Celebrating Women and Non-Binary Historians on yellow background

Check out my latest post over on Unwritten Histories.  This post, written in collaboration with Andrea Eidinger, looks at Celebrating Women and Non-Binary Historians. We share the submissions from our December 2018 call to celebrate folks and talk about why promoting and acknowledging the accomplishments of women and non-binary folks matters.