I remember well enjoying the 2020 conference from Cardiff and have fond memories of really important happenings, including hanfod.NL that arose from it. However, to be back in-person at Sundsvall was profoundly wonderful. I have some photos on flickr and Felicity composed brilliant montages, one of which is featured here but see the others and her brief write-up on her EmergentThinkers blog.
We are incredibly grateful to our fabulous partners especially because our combined work strengthened the conference and lay down a marker for phenomenology at it.
We were planning a workshop to tide us over between the fact that we couldnt run with more than 90 minutes at the conference – it really needs longer than that! There has been little uptake and so we are planning to pitch the workshop off into next year. Meantime, we have some exciting work and plans for the slots, the Wednesday in particular with a special guest speaker webinar.
Just a quick post to invite anyone who would like to participate in another online-only phenomenology of practice workshop with us later in September, please email info@hanfod.NL to let us know and we can send you further details. As you might appreciate, there is a LOT of catching up to do after being away at the Networked Learning Conference so I may come back to doll this post up a bit when I get a chance.
These sessions are only introductory and yet the focus is so deep, many people, us included, appreciate returning time and again to the same matters so feel free to do so. Apologies to those who will struggle to make this timing because of time-zones. We have not forgotten you! We just needed to get something in the diary for after the conference where we could only do ‘Session 1’, see below:
Wonderfully, some of us are able to travel to an international conference to celebrate and enjoy this event, after an in-person hiatus of four years for regular NLC delegates. I am writing this as the coach takes me from Wales across England to Heathrow. Very sadly I am mindful that Professor Cathy Adams is unable to attend for unavoidable personal reasons. Her in-person presence will be sorely missed and we wish her well (hugs will be all the tighter next time, DV). This throws down the baton for Felicity and myself to make a success of the workshop on Tuesday afternoon, based heavily upon Cathy’s content and approach. For this 90-minute workshop, we are running in-person only (but offering another online only workshop 12 & 14 September 14.00-17.30 (UK time). The organisers sensibly opted for a hybrid of online and in-person attendance. Whatever the merits and compromises of trying to cater for both, the prospect of having to swing to online only again was very real and we would just have to make it work again. Life has become even more uncertain over the last months, and these very days, our conference host nation is deciding whether it will join NATO, something Russia may not take without disruptive retaliation… something every one of us travelling to Sweden has a heightened awareness of. Why travel when you could ‘videoconference’ is an obvious question that some will ask. Below are two slides from our zoom breakout room presentation to help explain. When I played spot-the-difference with these images with students yesterday, although there were smirks at those in the picture who were slumbering (a classic trope used by those who denounce lectures), their other responses chimed with Prof Lesley Gourley’s superb keynote at NLC2020, and the eventedness of this kind of gathering that was so much richer than what is sometimes mocked as an embarrassing attempt at anachronistic, domesticating knowledge transfer into passive recipient digital natives with hybrid learning styles and minimal attention spans.
It is wonderful to hear Kyungmee speak on this episode. I’ve known Kyungmee for several years since she is a tutor on the doctoral programme I studied with, at Lancaster’s Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning. I particularly love the attitude she exemplifies that gracefully refuses to accept an unhealthy status quo. This recording previews Kyungmee’s paper which she is due to present, en route to England, via Seoul, Turkey and then Sundsvall! Kyungmee makes a fascinating case for using Lived Experience Descriptions (Van Manen, 2014) alongside evocative writing in autoethnography. Thank you Kyungmee! Not long now… Follow her on Twitter.
I recorded this ‘daisy’ as a prelude to our symposium, ‘Networked learning and phenomenology: a found chord’, and note it is published one month before the start of the 13th International Conference on Networked Learning.
I promised that I would follow Greta’s recording, however, it was always, following the daisy chain metaphor, going to involve some violence to what she did, in order to ‘attach’ this recording to her’s. Indeed, I felt torn between Greta’s brilliant scholarship and erudition, that she read it out, [even more terrifying for me now is that Greta later informed me that she wasn’t reciting!!!! I am scrabbling at the foot of Greta’s Eiger-like scholarship, but anyway…] and something that Gadamer (2014) discusses concerning recitation:
Reciting is the opposite of speaking. When we recite, we already know what is coming, and the possible advantage of a sudden inspiration is precluded.
(Gadamer 2014, p552, in the Afterword)
Thus, for my recording, I felt compelled to try and speak without notes. Just 10 minutes after all… Should be easy! No. Apart from exposing the huge gulf between my ‘beginner’ level scholarship in phenomenology and Greta’s astonishing expertise, and the danger of my sliding into waffle, part of the dread of this recording is my own reluctance to foist more verbiage into an already cluttered world. You might be able to sense the awkwardness in my voice. So I don’t have a verbatim transcript for you but will add the following…
I wished to link this post with Steve Fuller‘s 2014 argument in his keynote, ‘The Lecture 2.0’, at NLC2014 (watch on YouTube and hear Nina in the questions at the end!), that brand-conscious/savvy Universities ought to only put out content by the ‘best’ performers. That was a provocation, and sat alongside other notable points which I take up here:
The lecture is not mainly about the faithful conveyance of knowledge to the next generation. I am bored of the classic medieval image, as can be seen in Wikipedia’s Lecture entry, of some authority figure at the front reading from the only book and students having to write it down to have their own copy of the book. Steve points out that, even then, there was more going on…
The lecture, in the enlightenment sense, is someone exemplifying ‘daring to know’ (after Kant). Academic freedom was a ‘guild right’; the academic is someone whose broad horizon can review much, and make discriminating judgements about the field, and improvise upon that, to ‘riff’ off their notes, to think in public, straying from the script, somewhat like a jazz performance.
The text is still vital, spoken improvisation is on the basis of text.
The student in this setting is training for freedom, in that academic sense of freedom to critique, based on broad/deep scholarship. It is something that maybe only happens formally in viva exams but has many practical and practice-based applications, such as in healthcare within multi-disciplinary team meetings or giving an introduction to a musical performance (I’ve enjoyed Jonathan James (Twitter) doing this for the BBC, here more reciting, here more improvised ).
Merely dealing in orthodoxy within lectures strangles the enlightenment ideal of growing the capacity to think for yourself and compete (and win) an argument. Adept at this, I cant be a ventriloquist – I have to take responsibility, weigh, measure, understand the audience and adapt the speech. I’ve explored this with staff in a seminar around ‘learning to think in public’ – mindmap here.
And then… I must also link these ideas with our Networked Learning Conference Symposium paper is that, in our analysis, a zoom breakout room, a virtual meeting, thins out self-revelation, the truth of the person that we cannot filter so well when in-person. Nothing but in-person speaking obliges ‘unplugged’ students to stand behind their words.
Where do spoken words arise from? Is there not something uncanny in the unscripted spoken word?
To herald the Networked Learning Conference in May, we aim to release short audio reflections, linking with our symposium, and possibly each other’s recordings. Practically, we have in mind those who are curious about exploring networked learning and phenomenology, with the hope of inspiring more people to join in. However, part of the reason is that we just can’t keep quiet for long! – it must be admitted that there is an element of self-indulgent enthusiasm behind this mini-project 🌞
We love metaphors: daisy-chains are delicate, free, and carry a universal, humble beauty. They are often made in a shared between-time, and bestowed as a happy love gift in-person. We hope for you it is the thought that counts. When, as in the COVID-19 pandemic, mitsein (being-with, after Heidegger) may be in short supply, it behoves us, as we can, to humanise interactions and mitigate alienation. We hope hearing our voices will help you to connect more richly with us and the ideas we present. The voice alone is not video, but, as McLuhanesque hot media, may be all the more intriguing for that.
We are beyond delighted that Dr Greta Goetz, University of Belgrade, agreed to start us off. As one might expect, given her 2021 PDSE article, the recording is a singular work of scholarship in its own right, weaving many redolent ideas from her deep engagement with phenomenology. Mike (2008, p330) has styled information technology as ‘a chain of weak links’, which is also a feature of daisy chains, so we invite you to take advantage of the recording while it, the transcript and references, are still available. Honouring Greta’s authorship, the 11 minute recording is to be found on Greta’s site using this link.
Johnson, M. R. (2008). Investigating & encouraging student nurses’ ICT engagement. In T. T. Kidd & I. Chen (Eds.), Social Information Technology: Connecting Society and Cultural Issues (pp. 313–335). Information Science Reference.
McLuhan, M. (2001). Understanding media: The extensions of man. Routledge.
It was with great relief and gratification we heard that our double symposium and phenomenology of practice workshop proposals were accepted for the coming conference. This was something of a make-or-break moment for our plans and this post celebrates the hard work of our collaborators, now including those who reviewed our work! The two reviewers made excellent comments for us to take forward, into the conference and our hoped for edited collection as part of the Networked Learning Springer book series.
Having missed out on an in-person event last year due to the pandemic, it is a marvellous prospect to be looking forward to hosting a phenomenology of practice workshop at Sundsvall in May is a marvellous prospect. We think the online version worked quite well but now we hope and plan in earnest for something even better.
The prospect of the symposium, and beyond, causes us to reappraise what hanfod.NL stands for and how it defines phenomenology. The draft symposium introduction draws a distinction between phenomenology and phenomenography and one reviewer thought this was a distraction. However, we are acutely aware of our audience, that many of those unfamiliar with these concepts will presume there is a close link, particularly because the confernce has routinely featured phenomenographic articles but less so phenomenological ones. In a similar way, notable by its absence will be contributions from the interpretive phenomenological analysis stable, because IPA is arguably reducable to methods of data gathering and analysis. We agree with the view that a better fit for the ‘P’ of IPA could be ‘psychological’, as this would seem a better match with what IPA articles offer… rather than evoking ‘wonder in the face of the world’, as was dear to the Utrecht School
While trying to stay true to values of openness, we continue to consider and define what hanfod.NL is about, perhaps with respect to the authors we draw from, or certain styles of thinking and practices…. It is an exciting journey! Our tickets are booked! Hope you can join us!?
It was a high delight even to meet virtually last Monday, 1st November, to align our objectives and aspirations for a phenomenology and networked learning symposium at the next conference 16-18 May 2022. Felicity and Mike are gently pinching ourselves – we feel like we have a ‘dream team’ of enthusiastic participants who can genuinely carry the hanfod.NL vision of bringing phenomenology into the spotlight within networked learning.
Greta Goertz (2021 PDSE article) – Re-presencing the digital trace in networked learning design
Nina Bonderup Dohn – to discuss Merleu-Ponty’s importance for networked learning research (YouTube video abstract)
Kyungmee Lee (Twitter profile) – exploring what phenomenological ideas can bring to writing ‘thick description’
Felicity, Mike, Cathy Adams and Joni Turville (Twitter profile) bring a phenomenology of practice lens to the student’s experience of Zoom breakout rooms.
Some of the discussion was about having five solid full papers when a symposium is usually four papers, but we have ambitions around filling a double-symposium and developing something substantial to make good use of the time.
We established a few dates: Mike to draft a symposium proposal outline by 26th Nov. 10th Dec to send around full drafts of papers to each other for feedback and responses, and comment on the symposium draft. 3rd Jan 2021 for final full papers, ready for submission as soon as possibly prior to the 7th January target for Networked Learning Conference scientific review.
In sympathy with Greta’s idea of retaining control of the traces we leave within the Internet, we chose to use Jitsi for this meeting and it performed admirably although browser-based (sometimes app-based video-conference tools are more stable). Unfortunately Greta was delayed and so unable to join the group photo-call.
We feel like our 10/11 June workshop was so long ago…. although it is a happy memory. Another small example of overcoming in the face of the pandemic… However, if you had a summer like us, writing was not easy to fit in. A busy life can really desiccate attempts to enter into a phenomenological attitude…
We hope you have managed to relax a little over the ‘holiday’ period – you may be still trying to do so. However, we can’t rest on our laurels for long – we have started to properly look forward to next year’s in-person conference – a very exciting and hopeful prospect, given global events.
If you have time, take a look at this site which takes an informal look at the host city: http://www.sundsvalltown.se/ Mike really tried to find a land route to Kolding in 2020, and is wondering whether not flying is going to be a realistic option this time without having to immitate Phileas Fogg!
One of hanfod.NL’s aims is to organise a phenomenology and networked learning symposium – the deadline for symposium proposals and full papers is the same – October 8th. We need a clear idea about the viability of a symposium well in advance and so we’re inviting you to join us. Please email email@example.com with your abstract by 2nd September in order for us to meet online for feedback and review on the 3rd at 2pm (GMT) – you are welcome to join us. We will email the zoom link you if you send us your abstract.
Having moved to an online event, abandoning the Petcha Kutcha session that was to begin day two, there was no reason why we could not continue to gather VLOGs. We are very conscious that networked learning draws mainly from North America, Europe and Australasia. So I was delighted when my tentative email to Jean and Greg in South Africa was met with such enthusiasm. Jean’s article (2020), ‘Living in the age of the embodied screen’, in the Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology (https://doi.org/10.1080/20797222.2021.1876895 ) had drawn Mike’s attention when we were looking for potential contributors, and the insights, building upon Merleau-Ponty, really chimed with the article we’re developing around learners’ experiences of Zoom Breakout Rooms. Indeed, there seem to be many positive points of connection with networked learning and we hope to continue to explore and grow this in future. But perhaps the highlight for me was Jean and Greg’s reply to my hopelessly broad question about learning technology and phenomenology. They recommended not going overboard on covering the canonical phenomenological writers. Spend time getting the hang of the gist/spirit of phenomenology and then getting on with doing phenomenology, which wonderfully encapsulates the main message of the ‘Lleisiau o’r Afon‘ (Voices from the River) series. Thank you so much Jean and Greg!
Looking at it pre-event, we can say that the hanfod.NL initiative has been a success, even though there are many alluring aims still in view, as Nina shared the other day. But today we celebrate a new challenge – being on the brink of oversubscribed for hNL21! The event is a workshop and this means we have to limit numbers to assure quality and feasibility of good facilitation.
Participants’ interests are wonderfully diverse. Some are new to phenomenology, others have taken the course with Cathy in Alberta. Some are young postgrads, others are academics of many years’ good standing. Some can trace a direct link with networked learning research, others are coming more for the methodology refresh with far flung research questions – this can only increase the chances of expanding everyone’s horizons!
A number of participants have so encouraged us with words expressing their delight at finding us, perhaps because they have felt isolated. Mutual encouragement is a big reason of we are here! Someone was moved enough to become our first GoFundMe donor (apart from Felicity and myself!)!
AND our dear friend Stig (University profile page) has provided us with a superb example of ‘insight cultivation’ in a VLOG that touches on Hd’s concept of ‘dwelling’ with reference to networked learning. This is exclusively available to event registrants. The VLOG is entitled, ‘Heidegger, Illich and networks: A short tale of how deictic discourse turned up on my social media.’ You can find out more through Stig’s new book, Philosophers of Technology.
Sadly, we are unable to accept further registrations. We had considered over-offering or operating a waiting list but neither of these appeal at our scale. Nevertheless, our mission is ongoing and if you are interested in collaborating with us at the conference (where we hope to run a symposium and a workshop) and beyond, please do get in touch.
We were so happy today to receive a letter from the co-chairs of the Network Learning Conference Consortium. You can read the letter here. What was especially pleasing for us is that both our node events, ourselves and Malta, were very formative ideas this time last year and no doubt there was some nervousness about NLC investing in node events like this. This may be just my perception but I think that both events and the NLC have gained strength and momentum through our initiatives and it appears that the co-chairs are encouraged enough to issue a wider call for others to take up the opportunity, whether that’s through a one-off event or something more enduring.
After months of persistent phoning and thinking of ways forward, Mike and Felicity met at Barclays Llanelli so that we could arrange to ‘wet sign’ a mandate to share a bank account and secure full access and transparency viz hanfod.NL funds. This paved the way for reclaiming expenses from last year and setting up a GoFundMe page so that we can receive donations. We have set up hanfod.NL as a non-profit and, from the initial vision, the events we organise are free… but that does not mean they are cost-free to us! If you would like to share the burden, or even just encourage us in this work – totally done in our ‘spare time’ (ridiculous phrase when Felicity is home-schooling!) – please do donate something, however small. Thank you!
Many seek to investigate experience(s). Experience is one of the keywords that demarcates qualitative from quantitative research. However, if we will attempt to investigate it and represent it for others, we must ask, ‘what is experience’? I fear that many never pause to consider this but ways ought to be found to trouble the surface of our assumptions before we default to techniques and methods, such as slicing and dicing interview transcripts.
Gadamer notes that in the continuity of experience, just as music is more than the notes, but also the motifs which they support, experience as a whole, “…is not an act (a becoming conscious) and a content (that of which one is conscious). It is, rather, indivisible consciousness. Even to say that experience is of something is to make too great a division.” (p226 2013ed)
In the very act of observation, experience is already fractured.
That’s right – we have succumbed to covid! However, like the rest of a hopeful humanity in 2021, we intend to rise – phoenix-like – reaping lessons from the pandemic to maximise the benefits of online events. We earned our stripes with NLC2020 last May, which successfully flipped online, and were inspired by the classy BSP conference in September. So, do watch this space for how we plan to do #hNL21 🙂