Photo posted on Twitter by David Ball (@goonermudpicker) with the caption: “Camped at Maria Island, Tasmania recently. My wife took this photo. Thought I would share.” |

Things have been understandably down of late, and will continue to be so because of the loss to my life in general, but I have a need to end this year’s blogposts on a more upbeat note.

When I wrote my first post for 2021, I had no idea of the magnitude of suckitude that would play out this year. There were the homefront events, of course, but also the continuing evisceration of the higher education sector and the ongoing human cost of redundancies and restructures, pandemic-ness and the exacerbation of inequities, the lack of integrity from those who hold public office, inaction around climate change and the destruction of our environment…many of these are not new to this year but they have certainly been keenly felt, and simultaneously keenly felt. It can be overwhleming. 

But it’s not the whole story of life right now. Sure, there are copious amounts of the craptasticness but there are also motes of anticipation, laughter, lightness, and enjoyment. 

So, some happy and interesting professional notes on which to end the year:

  • The launch of the Whisper Collective. This is a project that my colleagues and I had been discussing and planning for a while now, and I hope that many researchers will gain benefit and insight from its super-useful and thoughtfully curated resources. The launch event, which featured an awesome talk by Mark Carrigan on the the postpandemic university, was very satisfying. Mark’s talk will be available as part of the Whisper Collective podcast series soon.

    It’s always a joy to work with Inger, Narelle, and Jonathan (the other half of RW), and the fact that our working together is helping support researchers globally is just *chef’s kiss emoji*. 

    Screenshot of @BelindaCash_ quote-tweeting @thesiswhisperer livetweeting Mark Carrigan's talk.
    Screenshot of @BelindaCash_ quote-tweeting @thesiswhisperer livetweeting Mark Carrigan’s talk.
  • This year has seen the publication of multiple things from me: two journal articles and a book chapter, with another book chapter almost out (proofs stage). I have dropped the ball on other things but the momentum of these getting out into the world is gratifying (especially as one was an albatross paper). I’ve listed them below. I’ll worry about this year’s ‘gap’ another time.
  • In the second half of this year, I joined Outside Opinion (OO) as a Senior Associate and I’m looking forward to working alongside some fantastic colleagues, many of whom I have been fangirling for a long time now. I have done some consultancy work before, but it’s a different ball-game when an outfit like OO is headed up by the amazing and dynamic Denise Meredyth
  • And it’s all very well to note my own things but it’s always good – if not better – fun to talk about what cool stuff other people have been doing:
    • Independent scholar and whirlwind of awesome Helen Kara has her own YouTube channel that features a nifty series of 5-min vids on various aspects of academic endeavours. Many of  the vids are focused on research methods and ethics. They’re engaging, useful, and replete with wisdom. Go see Helen’s vids for yourself. 
    • If you haven’t read A Year of Academic Writing yet, you should check it out. This enjoyable, insightful blog is by David Larsson Heidenblad, and it’s the English version of David’s Swedish blog that had been published as a book (yes, you heard that right…). The blog covers all manner of ECR-relevant issues, like structuring your writing, applying for funds, the challenges of academic life, and co-writing. Get all caught up on the entries over the holidays and you’ll be set for the end of the project in Feb 2022! 
    • My buddy and extremely excellent human being Jen Martin started a podcast with Michael Wheeler called ‘Let’s talk SciComm’, which focuses on communicating your research. Their most recent ep talks about Imposter Syndrome and past eps have discussed presentations, writing and how not to be boring! The series interleaves interviews with experienced research communication types as well as #SciComm students. It’s a podcast series that really delivers with insights, tips, and some great anecdotes – listen to it yourself!

To end this post, I’d like to thank everyone for their warmth, support, compassion, and patience this year – for me, and for each other during these tough times. Thank you to folks who check in on me, and keep on reaching out even though I may not write or call back; to everyone who has sent thoughtful gifts, cards, emails, DMs, and other notes; to those who have listened, helped, and shepherded me along when I needed various things, even though I didn’t think to ask for support; and to the colleagues who always understand when I am feeling overwhelmed.

It can feel like everything is falling apart and it’s all terrible but the connections and soft landings for our emotions that good colleagues and friends provide is a precious thing indeed.