As part of my academic work, I am committed to the idea of sharing my research beyond academic journals and conferences, which is known as ‘Public Engagement’ in the trade. I ask for a donation to Medicins sans Frontières so that this represents a sort of pro bono element to my work portfolio, and given the recent weather in the Philippines they will need all the support they can get.
There are other benefits of course. I was talking about Laura Ashley and telling stories from my research. I am always surprised by how much stories call out other stories, and Wednesday was no exception. I got at least three very usuable stories with the teller’s permission to use them. And it was an interesting evening for me because it was the first time that I had done the talk using powerpoint slides rather than objects. This meant that I saw my tiny embroidered pieces blown up to five feet high. It really does give a different perspective on the work.
This is a close-up of one piece of my work with very strong lighting effects, but seeing it blown up is like putting another filter on it and making it seem like a piece of 2D art:
It could almost be a landscape painting. Here’s another example:
They were a really lovely group and we had a lot of fun. The event also allowed me to meet Ulrike, the programme secretary who showed me some of her lovely work. That is another benefit of public engagement: you get to meet such delightful people.