Photographs, Archives and Values

30 03 2011

My sister is currently in her final year of her PhD. She is currently looking for some participants in a focus group to understand the way material degradation is linked to information content in photographic images. If you are based in London or nearby and are available, please join in 🙂 You can register your interest here, and get more information on her research and project here and here.

Assessment Workshops: Lifetime of Photographic Materials

Have you ever wondered about loss of information in archives caused by material decay? Or about what makes an archival photograph fit-for-purpose? If so, I will be exploring these questions as part of my PhD.

One of the questions the research project ‘Lifetime of Colour Photographs in Mixed Archival Collections’ aims to tackle is the way material degradation is linked to information content in photographic images. In particular, the point where photographs are no longer ‘fit for purpose’ is of interest. To understand this better I will be exploring this question with various groups of stakeholders – curators and custodians to photographic collectors, scientists and the general public – in order to capture a variety of opinions in a number of workshops.

The aim of the 1-hr workshops is to gauge the opinion on the point at which changes in information content is no longer considered to be acceptable for photographs in archives. The workshops will start with a brief introduction to the project and the exercise. The assessment exercise will consist of a classification exercise of photographs at different stages of degradation. This will be followed by a brief discussion on any issues arising from the exercise. Following the workshops and data analysis, a report on the results of the workshop will be circulated to all participants.

If you are interested in these issues, and want to voice your opinion you can visit the workshop webpage for more information or even better you can register your interest to participate in one of the workshops.

Workshops so far are planned for the following days at the Heritage Science Laboratory (Gordon House), 29 Gordon Street, WC1H 0PP, London.

Monday 4th April 2011 at 4pm

Monday 11th April 2011 at 4pm

Friday 15th April 2011 at 4pm

Thursday 5th May 2011 at 4pm

Tuesday 10th May 2011 at 5pm

Friday 13th May 2011 at 1pm

Friday 13th May 2011 at 4pm

Tuesday 17th May at 1pm

Friday 20th May 2011 at 4pm

If none of these dates are appropriate, do let me know as further workshops are planned for the future.

I look forward to meeting you at the workshops!


Irish Times

25 01 2011

OK…so I have now been in Dublin for nearly 4 months, and what is one of the main factors which has surprised me here? TIME! It seems that the Irish did not take anything from their British neighbours? Everyone is always late and taking breaks and not available. For example, trying to find someone available is always a hassle.

Rant 1: Break taking

People at the University work from 9am to 5pm. That’s the theory at least. But everyone (and I do mean everyone) takes a 30minute coffee break at about 10am and a 1hour lunch break at around 1pm. Another coffee break at 3pm is not surprising either. That means that from an 8hour working day, people only work for around 6hours. And this is not having a coffee/lunch on the sly. Oh no no. This is approved and accepted by all. You see notices on most doors…this office is unavailable between 10-10:30 and 1-2pm or something of the sort.

So what does this mean to me? Generally whenever you want to talk to someone they either away at coffee or at lunch. Then there are the myriad other people who work either mornings only or evenings only or 3 days a week and a million other options. So you can never really know when you can talk to them. And what’s with the 6hour work day? People in Malta also work with the 8hour day…but that is 8hours of WORK…i.e. you would work from 8-5, with 1 hour of break in the middle.

Rant 2: Timeliness

OK, I come from Malta, we are Mediterranean, and we are not the most time conscious people. And I have worked in a company, where having a meeting postponed continuously and happening the next day is the order of the day. But people here in Ireland take it to a whole new level. Last week I was at the Graduate training, and students actually just stroll into the lab whenever. Coming 20mins late?…no prob…come right in and start with your work. No I am sorry or anything. After lunch, everyone is also late again. On the first day I decided to go down to the lab 5minutes early…only 1 British guy was already there…otherwise NO ONE…they either come on the dot or later.

Oh Well…will get used to it!

Back in Malta :)

19 12 2010

Weee…have managed to make it back to Malta, with no delays or hiccups. I had been hearing rumors of snow coming to Ireland and Europe for a couple of days before my flight last Friday and was NOT all that thrilled about it. However Thursday night no snow appeared and Friday morning (4:30am wake up call aaaaa) the skies were clear. So off to the airport I went. Went through security, grabbed a seat (at Dublin airport a flight boards from every gate every 30minutes it seems, and since I always arrive earlier than that I try and grab a seat next to the gate and watch the people pass through) and waited for boarding.

Boarding came, and I got one of my favourite seats in the plane…an windowseat in an overwing emergency exit aisle. You get the leg room (OKI do not have long legs but I like the space nonetheless, and it is in the centre of the plane, so you do not feel the plane movements that much), and I will be the first out in an emergency (also meaning other people will be depending on me aaaaaaaaaaaa. A few minutes after I boarded I saw my friend who is following a PhD in Dublin too come up, and since I had an empty seat next to me he popped in. I usually spend the 3:45 hour flight reading and sleeping. However this development changed the plans…we chatted, chatted, chatted and read a bit :). I also am pretty sure that another BSc classmate’s boyfriend was sitting in front of us :).

The flight was pleasant enough, through probably not for the guy at the end of our aisle…I think he was trying to sleep but we chatted all the way (although he did get some sleep cos he snored a bit 🙂 ). He was friendly enough, and it seemed that he managed to glean that we are following PhDs in Dublin. So as soon as we landed he turned to us and asked whether we are following PhDs in Dublin and where. We said DCU and UCD. Hmmm he said…I am following a PhD at Trinity…so there…we now know that there are Maltese PhD students at the 3 Dublin University :)…but do not think that there are more than 1 student at each.

On exiting the terminal I found my mum waiting and off to my aunt’s we went for ravjul…mmmm good to be back 🙂

New Girl

12 11 2010

WEEEE…I am no longer the new girl in the lab. Yesterday, another PhD student who will be working in the same research group started her PhD life. She is also on the ATWARM project, and should have started on the same day I did. However, since she is not from the EU she had to contend with all the Visa issues, and it was finally issued last week. She quickly made arrangements and arrived in Ireland Wednesday night.

I met her for the first time yesterday, when she came to the lab. Her husband moved to Ireland with her, and I also got to meet him. They had some time before they needed to meet the supervisor, so I took them around a bit the Uni to try to get some things sorted, and had some lunch. This girl is really gorgeous and really nice. She thinks her English is not so good, but I think it is great, even more so when I got to know that she has not had an English lesson in her life and learnt the language on her own…u go girl 🙂

It is good to have another girl in the lab as well, since the only other girl is leaving soon (she should be giving in her thesis soon…so good to have another girl…especially being someone who will be here for the full 3 years. But she seems to be really advanced having done her MSc on a similar subject to her PhD. But she is nice…her husband too 🙂

Visit to Belfast!

21 10 2010

Yesterday I made the long-awaited trip to Belfast. The main reason for the trip was to visit my supervisor who is located there (read more about it in my research blog). I have been looking forward to visiting this city, moreover since I will be spending at least 3 months there as part of my PhD studies. I had two options to get there…by bus or by train. Most people told me to get the train, but I decided I wanted to get the bus…why might you ask?…well the bus leaves from a place closer to where I am staying, and it only takes 2.5hours as compared to 2.10hours by train. So it was not worth the hassle.

Early morning (OK 8:30am) saw me getting the bus to the airport, and at 9:20am the bus left Dublin airport to Belfast. I had my trusty Lonely Planet: Ireland book, which my sister had sent me as part of my belated birthday present :). I started reading it, but did not feel all that well. So I had a short nap, then woke up to find myself in the UK weeeee. We went round some picturesque villages/town, and finally we reached BELFAST!

I was feeling quite dizzy at this point, so I made my way to the University campus (a 15minute walk away from the bus station) and stopped at a Starbucks shop for a hot chocolate. It was my fist Starbucks hot chocolate, and I must say I was NOT impressed. But I felt quite better then so no complaints.

I still had some time for the meeting to start. Therefore I went around the University a bit. It is quite an old University and very nice and picturesque. I even got to enter the Great Hall at QUB, since they were preparing for a function later on in the evening and I snuck in to see. It is quite an impressive room, and I would love to have a function there some time (they also do weddings there they informed me…so who knows :P).

The Great Hall, QUB

The Great Hall, QUB

I also so that a Careers fair for Science, Engineering and IT students was happening. So I went in and checked out the companies represented. I got some good information, and more importantly I got Freebies. I am really enjoying such freebie opprotunities…I cannot wait to get more. Some of the stuff is quite useful. I have gotten mugs, key chains, a rule, highlighters, a bookmark and of course loads of pens :). What I need now are some more USB sticks (haven’t gotten any of those free) and a mouse pad (or two…one for Uni and one for home).

Time had come for me to meet my supervisor. So off I went to find his building and office and knocked on his door. You can read more about that in the research blog however. After the meeting I walked through the botanic gardens and back to the bus station to get the bus back home.

I will be back in around 1 month for the first ATWARM meeting. And I should spend around 3 months of my PhD studies there. So I have certainly not seen the end of Belfast. Cannot wait to explore more!

My PhD and my Blog :)

3 10 2010

OK, so it had been suggested (insisted?), that I have two blogs to keep up with. One is this personal blog where I can write about what I do and activities I have participated in etc. The other should be a research blog. Where I only put down posts related to my research. This would be a more formal sort of blog. I had written the first post quite a while ago. However I never informed anyone about it. Because, who would visit it, when I did not have anything to say. However, next Monday (tomorrow 🙂 ), I should be getting the first details of my project. Last Friday, all I did was mainly administrative stuff. I still have some more such stuff to do. However, I should have a meeting regarding the research portion of my project (about time hihi).

Therefore my research blog should start being updated more (WEEEEE). Please go visit it, if you are interested in what I am up to at Uni and my ‘academic life’: VISIT ME!