June 17, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Check out the redesigned, newly re-launched website from the New Scholars Network (NSN)! This is a great resource for anyone involved in refugee and forced migration studies, particularly if you are interested in the work of new scholars, researchers, community members and practitioners.
The first post, Reflections on Relocation, Resettlement and Respect, by Petra Molnar Diop, is an astute commentary on the importance of doing work in this area.
June 3, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The deeper I get into writing my dissertation, bringing me closer to completion and the terrifying and overwhelming reality of the job market, the more I face the realities of why doing a PhD is HARD. I thought I’d try to explain it, maybe as a reminder to myself about everything that comes with the work.
This may not be true for everyone (or maybe it is actually exactly true for everyone, PhD or not…), but so far the process has brought up a few hard realities to face: first, the uncertainty of the job market is so overwhelming that the excitement of possibly finishing my PhD (in the near future) is completely clouded by the sense of failure that might ensue in the face of academic unemployment; second, the nature of the work, being highly analytical, mostly independent and somewhat isolating, makes it difficult for me not to also be intensely internalized about all aspects of life and self; third, the reality of receiving criticism as an integral part of succeeding in academics, and the knowledge that you are never doing “enough,” can also manifest as the whole person (not just the work) also not being good enough.
To the first point, something people in all industries can understand, is the challenge of facing rejection after rejection (or often no word at all) after pouring your heart and soul into post-doc, sessional and full-time teaching appointments. Couple this with the uncertainty of where you might have to uproot your life to in order to pursue this career, and it’s not hard to understand why PhDs a) take so long to finish, and b) prolong completion to spend a little more time where they are, in my case contemplating if I’m sure I really want what’s next at all. Even with good part-time research and employment in-hand, in pushing forward anyway, I end up sitting with uncertainty and a degree of unwavering anxiety.
Meanwhile, the deep analysis employed in the doctoral work patterns the brain to process at an intensely high and detailed level, one that’s hard to separate from other aspects of life, including your own behaviour, relationships, apartment, and all the rest. And through it all, it’s difficult to talk about with anyone, because you’re actually still just trying to figure it all out (the work, the process, the emotions) for yourself. It doesn’t really make sense until it’s all down on paper, even though you’ve been living and breathing it in various ways for the past 4-6 years. It’s information overload at its finest.
This leads me to the last point, that no matter what you do, you never feel like you’ve done enough. So despite people around you telling you that your work is exciting, that your achievements are cause for celebration, and that the future undoubtedly looks bright, all I can see is how much more I should and could be doing.
Also, writing is just hard, even for a writer.
So I’m working on being patient, with myself and the fast-moving world around me, as I accept the slow and meticulous reality of completing this kind of work.
May 20, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Just a quick note about a new co-authored article published in the Taylor & Francis, peer-reviewed journal Learning, Media & Technology. The paper is entitled “Valuing production values: a ‘do it yourself’ media production club” and can be accessed here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439884.2013.799486#.UZp02XMz_yc
May 7, 2013 § 1 Comment
Rocksteady. Streamlined energy in the simplicity of an open road. In the rolling hills of California, splattered with leafy green trees between dry yellow grass. Endless ocean escaping the density of San Francisco city streets; streets coloured with people; coloured with poverty hiding under the shadow of tall buildings and sunshine. Shadows of lives that prospered in a different era. Lives that haven’t reaped the benefits of upscale restaurants with peacock stenciled mirrors and feather-boa light fixtures. Shadows that mull outside the window of boutique coffee shops, dotted with silver Mac computers, and men wearing plaid shirts and toques at the onset of Spring. Rocksteady. Watch the people dancing by the mirror in the dingy hotel bar. Rocksteady. Sit in traffic over the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, until the concrete levels off next to the ocean, and the road floats on water that touches the sun falling over the edge of Earth. Rocksteady, because you can. Because you have to. Because, for everyone, tomorrow is another day full of possibilities.
April 27, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The Mission, scattered with boutique Cafes and the colourful placards of San Francisco. Writers and readers and ruminators seek refuge from free-flowing information that gives no answers. The wooden tables and sleek black decor seep with the effortless design of a community in ritual. First words flow from the front doors. Wanderers peer in through the window, lost and longing for the luxury of destination. Passing back and forth, a short, white-haired and bearded man pauses by the window, tanned skin leathered from a lifetime of exposure to the burning sun. The dogs outside bark, first at him and then at each other, as reactionary as honking cars and the averted gaze of new attraction.
On my way out, I take in the music and smell of roasting espresso. I cross a threshold towards the point of origin, buried under the cool concrete on a late April morning in California.
April 17, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I’m very proud of my big brother, Reza Dahya (It Was Written Films), who has a short called Five Dollars screening in the TIFF Kids International Film Festival! The second screening of the film, starring Tika Simone and Lyric Justice, is showing on Saturday, April 20 at 12pm. Get your tickets in advance — last weekend’s screening sold out!
March 30, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I will be part of a panel responding to the question, Is Institutional Learning Dead? on April 10 from 2-430pm at York University, YRT 519. The event is open to the public and will be followed by a short reception. Please RSVP to the event here.