Author: mhighton

musing on muses

Rosie the Editor
how do i know Stella Cartwright?

I can’t claim any connection with Stella Cartwright, but I created a Wikipedia page for her. I learned about her last night at an event at The Scottish National Galleries: Beyond Artemisia: Women Artists Brought into the Light.

Last year at an event organised by Scottish National Galleries around their ‘Modern Scottish Women’ exhibition I created a page for Anne Finlay.

One of the things both these women have in common is that their biographies include a number of ‘affairs’ with the (more famous, and often married) men in their circle.

Anne has a considerable body of work. The challenge with Stella is to consider whether being a muse, but not an artist in ones own right, is a notable enough contribution to warrant a page. Stella is mentioned in a number of citable sources, but her role is as an inspiration for the work of others. She had an impact on their lives and work, but their pages perhaps do not mention her…..

I am sensitive to the arguments made by Hilary Mantel, that we should not retrospectively make the women in our stories strong and independent, but I do think some of them deserve to be named as notable*.

I have made links for Stella to University of Edinburgh Library archives, and to published articles and resources. I hope that her story will stand the scrutiny of my fellow Wikipedia editors. The page has already been reviewed, so that is good. But the category I created for ‘muse’ has been deleted.

* When I first started editing Wikipedia, when ‘AdaLovelace Day” was being invented, it is worth remembering that most of the discussion behind the scenes on Ada’s page was about the relative worth of her contribution to the work of the better known Babbage.

how do I know Edith Simon?

Rosie the Editor
Speaking of women in art and women artists, sometimes this is how my evenings go:

First of all I’m reading ‘Discover’ magazine from National Library of Scotland. In it there’s an article about Edith Simon. I remember Edith Simon. I look her up in Wikipedia. She has a mere stub of a page. I’m thinking it needs some development and presumably the nice ‘open images ‘ policy at NLS will free up some lovely artwork to include.

Then I ask my excellent mother: ‘How do I know Edith Simon?
She was fabulous, Jewish, and she made beautiful paper-cut portraits of your child-hood friends, when they were young, before they died of CF ‘ is the reply.

So, I decide it is my task to improve Edith’s wikipedia page, I find her obituaries etc and I make a start.

As I read about her I learn that her husband Eric worked here at University of Edinburgh in the Genetics department. Those of you who are following this story closely will remember that that is where my father worked. And yes indeed, the line portrait that Clare recently found for me with my father in it, is indeed a work by Edith Simon!

Her obit says:
‘The qualities of intense discipline, exuberant delight in the world of flesh and objects, and sheer graphic ability involved in these productions are rare enough individually. She had them all, together with considerable intellectual power, literary gifts, charm and a mordant wit. She was striking in appearance, trenchant in her views and generous to the young and those in need. ‘

I can’t add that picture to the wikipedia page because the licence belongs to her daughter Antonia Reeve, but I’m still hoping the NLS will liberate some great images for this fabulous woman.

Feel free to join on in and add or edit for Edith.

Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/news/obituaries/edith-simon-1-544516

women in art

Wikipedia editathon for Art & Feminism 2016 at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
Looking very GLAM. Wikipedia editathon for Art & Feminism 2016 at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
Looking back at my original  plans for the Playfair Steps equality and diversity initiative in ISG, one of my hopes was that we would take the opportunity afforded by the move to Argyle House to display more artwork created by women artists.  I’m pleased to say we have done some of that.

If you have ever visited our meeting rooms on Floor E you will have been immersed in an installation by Fabienne Hess.

This installation of images on the glass walls of our meeting rooms in Argyle House is a whole work by  Hess, she was commissioned as part of the refurbishment the office spaces to create a work featuring images of existing objects of University collections. Her work  exploring the University of Edinburgh’s Collections has spanned across several years and she features in current displays at The Talbot Rice.  The process of digitizing, which started in the summer of 2012, has involved photographing almost 25,000 diverse items, from ancient manuscripts to musical instruments, anatomical drawings to historic maps. Throughout the process Fabienne has also created a series of ‘sub-collections’- these groupings, put together in arbitrary themes such as those images containing a red dot, those featuring a person raising an arm, a triangular shape, a certain shade of blue, create a fascinating set of ‘new’ collections. One of these new collections is the installation you are in.  Did you notice?

In the past year our teams of enthusiastic Wikipedia editors have participated in a number of targeted events aimed at improving coverage of women artists. Including one at The National Portrait Gallery to support their Modern Scottish Women exhibition. On the day we created 6 new articles, and improved 8.

In addition to more editing and inspired by Kirsty, I am also looking forward to hosting an intern, in conjunction with colleagues in Centre for Research Collections to look at the metadata which describes our images so that the women ( and others) are more easily found!

 

how do I know Ruth Adler?

Rosie the Editor
I created a Wikipedia page for Ruth Adler, because I saw her on Ewan’s list of ‘women in red’ (women notable enough to need Wikipedia pages but yet have none). I remember Ruth from my childhood in Edinburgh. Her kids went to the same school as me. She was also prominent in many of the causes in which my mother was involved and her name was mentioned in our house many times.

In creating the page I learned how impressive she really was and how much she did. I’m pleased University of Edinburgh recognise her.

Read more about Ruth: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Adler

epic fail

Picture taken by me at Berkeley University. No rights reserved by me.

Failure  is all the rage amongst the ladies of my acquaintance. How much of a failure can you be today?  this week?  Is it time for a wee sit down now? Yes. You deserve it. (1) (2)

I work in a place where people often make declarations about innovation and ‘creating an environment where it is safe to fail’.

I sometimes wonder what that means. What would a workplace in which it is safe to fail look like?

Would it look like a bunch of people  being a bit crap at their jobs and experiencing no consequence as a result?  No! it would look like a place where there was visible sign of recognition that when we learn from our failures we move forward as a result.

It would look like a place that hosts a ‘Fail-a-thon’.

When we start a project, we have a plan or idea how the project will pan out, what the outcomes will be, and the benefits of what is delivered. For various reasons  however, things do not always go to plan and we should learn from those experiences. What and why did something go wrong and with reflection what could have been done differently? One platform to learn from each other is a Failathon. The ISG Innovation programme will hold a Failathon on Wednesday 28th June 2017 between 14:00 – 16:00.

“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise person learns from the mistakes of others”

Our Failathon is an opportunity for learning from each other’s failures outside formal routes. We’re running with the title “Beyond Failure”, sharing personal experiences of failures and setbacks in a supportive atmosphere. The session will focus on what we can do to improve as a community, working in small groups to develop prioritised agendas for change in how we use and create evidence.

This event is open to any Innovation project managers who are willing to share their experience of a project that has not gone as expected or planned.  If you aren’t prepared to share your ‘fail’, you don’t get in. Share your experiences of when things don’t go so well.

You don’t need to do any special preparation, but you do need to be prepared to talk about your own mistakes, and respect the confidentiality of the session. This event will be held under the Chatham House Rule and hosted by ISG Director, Kevin Ashley.

 

Book your place now.

ready to play

Playful cover of BITS magazine Spring 2017 http://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/about/edinburgh-bits

Playful learning is all the rage amongst the ladies of my acquaintance. How playful can you be today?  this week?  Is it time for a wee sit down now? Yes. You deserve it. (1)

The upcoming (28th June, Edinburgh) elearning@ed confernce believes the play’s the thing.

The theme for this year is “Playful Learning” and the programme is looking great, including a whole bunch of playful breakouts and interactive sessions.

‘The conference has a fantastic line-up, including a number of talks and presentations from educators across the University who are incorporating playfulness into practice; from teaching with Dungeons and Dragons, digital game based learning in China, virtual reality in education, to playful approaches to learning to code.

Breakout sessions will also be happening throughout the day. We’ll have some of the tools and technologies from the UCreate Studio available for you play with and try out on the day, plus some of the great DIY Film School gear from LTW.  There’ll be Minecraft in Education, Gamifying Wikipedia, and an opportunity to try out some of the award winning 23 Things for Digital Knowledge.’

The ( July 12)  Playful Learning Conference in Manchester 2 weeks later does too.

‘Playful Learning is pitched at the intersection of learning and play for adults. Playful in approach and outlook, yet underpinned by robust research and working practices, we provided a space where teachers, researchers and students could play, learn and think together. A space to meet other playful people and be inspired by talks, workshops, activities and events. Based in the heart of Manchester, we also explore some of the city’s playful spaces with evening activities continuing the fun and conversations after the formal programme ends.’

My contribution to all this is to encourage playful and gaming aproaches to as much of our enagagement activity as we can. Partly because of all this good learning  theory. Partly because it makes it all much more fun to do. Partly because after 20 years of explaining this stuff it stops me from sticking my head in the oven.

The Playful learning Conference includes a presentation from the iSG teams on our playful approaches:

‘The University of Edinburgh’s(UoE) Information Services Group (ISG) has developed a Playful Engagement strategy, utilising playfulness to create interest, boost attendance, and encourage interaction with its services and activities. We target appropriate workplace learning opportunities which support our strategic priorities in developing digital skills, engaging with open educational practices, promoting diverse role models and using our collections in innovative way.’

If only you knew how much fun it is working in central IT at a university, you’d all be doing it.

counting steps and supporting fathers

Picture taken by me outside the British Library, London. No rights reserved by me.

Counting steps is all the rage amongst the ladies of my acquaintance. How many steps have you managed today? this week?  Is it time for a wee sit down now? Yes. You deserve it.

I’ve been making some progress on our PlayFair Steps Programme  in ISG.

We have welcomed some excellent speakers as part of our commitment to raising understanding of equality and diversity issues in our workplace. It has been particularly interesting to have academic colleagues present the most up to date data from their research and describe how their work influences public policy development in Scotland.

Our speakers this year have been Barbara Melville (Equate Scotland) on the language of job ads; Morna Simpson introducing Girl Geek Scotland; Professor Sheila Riddell (Chair in Inclusion and Diversity) on disability data and employment and Dr Tom Callard (UoE Business School) on managerial perspectives. ISG directors have also considered initiatives for apprenticeships, ‘Women Returners’ projects and we have become an institutional sponsor of Geek Girl Scotland.

For our next event the PlayFair Steps team have partnered with Fathers Network Scotland – a national charity who specialise in creating dad-friendly workplaces – to facilitate a short focus group specifically for ISG. Research has consistently shown that one of the key groups missing from discussions on gender equality are fathers in the workplace. Dads at work also need to feel supported in combining their work with their family commitments. This focus group will explore the key areas in which you believe could be addressed at work to support work-life balance.

We have also recently announced the appointment of the new Director of Software Development and Application. There will now be three ( that’s three!) women at Director level.  I think that might be a record.

id=”wrapperHeader”

Picture taken by me in the street of Calum Colvin work. No rights reserved by me.

A couple of years ago there was a bit of a stooshie about the size of the banner image on EdWeb.  It was too big, people said, it took up too much of the screen, the prime web ‘real estate’.

Here’s an example:
http://www.ed.ac.uk/staff

The design team held their ground, but text won the day on the home page.

I notice now that the University owns a number of new sites which seem to be nothing BUT a huge image on the front page.

Some examples:
https://global.ed.ac.uk/
http://www.stcecilias.ed.ac.uk/

It’s quite hard to find any content  on some of them. Some scrolling and clicking required.

We are currently carrying out an audit of the wild-west that is our web estate, I wonder what else will be discover-ed.

 

learning technology time

picture taken by me at Gartner conf. No rights reserved by me.

As Professor Sir Tim O’Shea is retiring  I am putting together a timeline of learning technology developments at University of Edinburgh. Are there other things I should include?

dangerous statues

Statue of Isabella Elder
Isabella Elder safely on a plinth. She’s in Glasgow. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Statue_of_Isabella_Elder.JPG
Edinburgh is a city with more named public statues to dogs than women. The dogs are called Bobby and Bum. The one woman is called Victoria.

Statues of women in public places do seem to draw attention. Particularly if they are at street level. After the awful spectacle of the Fearless Girl being frotted by a Wall Street Wanker I wondered if statues of grown women at street level would suffer the same fate. I visited Dublin and learned that yes, they do. Lucky girl Molly Malone is routinely groped.*

This week the Fearless Girl is back in the news. It’s all about context. The Charging Bull’ sculptor says ‘Fearless Girl’  violates his moral rights.  It’s a derivative work, he says. Without his bull the power of her stance would not be  as significant. Her presence changes his meaning. She makes a difference.

All very interesting in the week that Edinburgh University begins to discuss signing up to the UN ‘HeForShe’ campaign.

HeForShe is the UN Women’s solidarity movement for gender equality, with the aim of “bring[ing] together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all”.

 

* Molly is in a song. Fearless is in our minds. Bum and Bobby lived long lives.