Sometimes life just gets so busy, so crazily involved, that I forget what I’ve achieved – if Marcus Buckingham is to be believed – this is not a good thing for me – plus this might save me time for my PDR in future!
At the end of August 2015, I finished with CODEC at the University of Durham, sold my house – having decluttered severely, and moved on to a new post as Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, so what have I achieved in the last 4-5 months?
- Taught on four modules that are new to me, including taking over unit leadership for one – which I’ve got lots of ideas for – and if you could fill in this brief questionnaire = much appreciated, with the accompanying reading/preparation, learning new software/processes, team-meetings, lectures/seminars, marking, and much (e)paperwork… and sitting in on a number of other people’s lectures to ensure consistency! Given a guest lecture to Events Management students.
- Taken responsibility for Level 5 students – staff/student liaison meetings happening – including being a contact for pastoral support for a number of them, and the joyous task of chasing up any poor attenders – firm but fair does it!
- My department has around 50 academic staff alone, as well as many other staff, and I feel that I’ve got to know many of them already – very friendly, supportive, lots of give and take.
- Few more bits of press … over the last year have been approached by both This Morning and NewsNight, but as happens with these things, they reach out to several – so you might/might not actually end up on the media … take it lightly!
- Learning to use Slack and Trello for team-teaching, as well as the more traditional Dropbox and Google Docs, etc. Whatsapp, email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can all come into play for team comms too! Todoist and Toggl continue to be helpful, with Wakelet replacing Bundlr for link saving.
- Joined an online book club to discuss digital/tech, etc. – now I know what books I own.
- Been to a number of short events about: LinkedIn, Creative Manchester, Mentors Meetup, eExpenses, introduction to unit leadership, intro to MMU classrooms, Grow with Hubspot, putting a resource list on Moodle, engaging with education for sustainable development, 2 x Apologetics Without Apology lectures with Elaine Graham, Being B2B, Tools and Trends on the Horizon, and Outsmart – the new Out-of-Home organisation. I have my intro to MMU 20/1!
- Been to a number of networking events, including #TDCMcr, #SASCon, Manchester Digital and Twitfaced socials, and spoken to 200+ at Premier Digital 2015 – for which I shortlisted some awards.
- Met with a number of suggested research or industry contacts: Dave Day, Alison Goodrum, Alice Kettle, Rosie Shirley, Rosie Dawson, Marie Page, Jim Aulich, Steve Kuncewicz, Peter Cobley, Karen Radcliffe, and had various chats about future research directions within team (and plenty of thoughts firing off in my own head which trying to capture!) Meetings with MMU’s Creative Industries Knowledge Cluster, Visual Culture Working Group, NW Digital Leaders.
- Working on the conversion of PhD to book has involved further work on the book proposal, sorting out a load of files, 2 days in the British Library, various (unsuccessful) emails about the foreword… wonder if this will be anything like the book could look like!
- Arranged a handful of events with Digital Fingerprint … now very limited in availability, but obviously it’s valuable to remain as a practitioner for my teaching role – commissioned writing work is easier to take on. This includes continuing to provide some curated links for Beyond Chocolate Facebook page.
- Kept house in rented accommodation, and purchased a house which should be ready for April. Having finished my physical declutter, the e-declutter is well underway after Christmas, then it’s just the online presence to sort (I rolled 3 websites into one last year), and the books to read!
- Caught up with a number of old friends (not enough!), and made several new ones in quite a number of evenings out in Manchester … my mum was able to visit, and I managed to visit Stoke-on-Trent, Burton-on-Trent, Winchester, Leominster for a funeral, Liverpool, London – which included a day with GWL, and Christmas with my parents – at which I mostly slept.
- Tested out contact lenses (unsuccessfully – and causing a surprising amount of stress), and finally picked frames for my first pair of varifocals!
- Undertaken several trampolining classes, found a hairdresser, but still sorting out church, karate club, walking club, and a much needed beach holiday.. oh, and a garage!
That’s not bad for 4-ish months is it…! Right, back on with writing more lectures, etc.!
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.