Yesterday the fifth Public Intellectual event took place. As always, it was a real joy to spend a day in London with lots of interesting and engaged people. This session was on community engagement. I liked the overall message: engagement is not just about academics taking their research outside academia, or benefitting from other people’s input, it’s the combination that counts. Working together and learning from each other is what makes workshops, community projects and café conversations so enjoyable.
I’ve also learned that my knowledge has economic value. While community engagement is not so much about money (it’s mostly characterized by a general lack of it) I never realized that what I knew could be useful outside academia, in the sense that it could get me a job. For example, one of yesterday’s sessions focused on a cooperation between a DVD-company and a group of film scholars. It was refreshing to see that such cooperations don’t always have to be a form of charity, they can actually benefit both parties.
Next week, Let’s Talk About Sex will take place, a work in progress symposium at the British Library where I will share my current research with other scholars. I’ve just started reading the other papers and they’re brilliant. It’s always nice to see your own work in the context of other people’s research, and see how seemingly unrelated topics (Sarah Palin and femme photography) speak to each other. Check this site for more info.