An update, sketched for formal reasons:
I started my research in Dundee last year writing a Career Development Plan in which I stated what were the opportunities I would be looking for in terms of learning, experimenting and seeking collaboration and exchange. Since then I have progressed in multiple aspects:
- Accessing literature which allowed me to circumscribe the research context and writing a first draft of what will become my literature review. That process allowed me to identify a relevant gap in current scholarship, and consequently refine my research questions in a way that at the same time relate to the wider field of knowledge and touch the issues the OpenDoTT project was originally conceived to cover. I position my research on smart cities with a strong emphasis on environmental and social issues, directing my attention to waste management. Particularly, I’m focusing on avoiding as much as possible the need to manage waste in the usual manner, instead trying to address the possibility of discarded materials being reused and repaired in cities and towns.
- Attending bespoke training on design research provided by OpenDoTT consortium members STBY and Quicksand. The two training modules were instrumental in helping shape the two research studies I have performed at a later stage, in line with the most advanced practices in the field.
- Attending training modules offered by the University of Dundee - covering diverse aspects of the process of a PhD research: academic writing and publishing, project management, presentation skills, public engagement and outreach, ethics and research integrity, career planning, among others.
- Conception, design, submission to the ethics committee and data gathering for two research studies: Repair Journey and Ecosystem Mapping.
- In the Repair Journey, I have asked a group of participants to choose an object they would like to repair or repurpose, and spend two weeks keeping a diary of how the repair (or attempt to repair) went. As I write, I’m in the final phases of getting feedback from the eight participants who signed up.
- For the Ecosystem Mapping, I am interviewing people who have a professional or informal relationship with repair and waste management. The main idea is to understand how the value of discarded materials can be assessed from diverse perspectives, and what kinds of transformations, equipment and knowledge are involved.
- Engaging with the OpenDoTT consortium by way of regular online gatherings (monthly), one meeting in Dundee in September 2019 and plenty of day-to-day interactions which opened the possibility of ad-hoc collaborations.
- Attending several events significant for my research: conferences and symposia (Beyond Smart Cities Today in Rotterdam, E2E in Berlin); festivals (Reparatur Festival in Berlin, MozFest in London, NeON in Dundee, Transmediale in Berlin); as well as online conferences and classes.
- Keeping a research blog active in which I document my findings in the literature, research studies and insights.
P.S.: Only after sending in the above summary I realised the absence of the free online course Waste Management in Developing Countries offered by Coursera
, which provides a good systemic overview of the field. And I'm looking forward for the online course on platform cooperativism offered by The New School and Mondragon, starting next week.
P.P.S.: I have also forgotten to mention the online conference I have organised in April to quickstart the Repair Diaries. And there will be more online activities soon, invitations to which I'll share in this blog when the time comes.