Why I finally launched my own website...
For a number of reasons, I've finally launched my own professional website here after more than twenty years of working as a design historian and writer.
One reason I have stuck for so long with just my institutional website to profile and promote my research is that I have been advised to by the Society of Authors. As a member, I receive guidance on promoting my work to the public and one suggested strategy is not to host a personal website, which may have a limited reach, but rather to blog and write online for existing group and organisational websites in order to extend the reach of your work. I have done this not only by writing about my work and that of others on the Theorising Visual Art and Design (TVAD) blog and website (see below) but also by making guest appearances on other blogs and websites related to my work, including:
‘Food, family and God: How Italy won the race for beauty’, CNN Style.com, 25 February 2016. In Spanish as ‘Comida, familia y Dios: cómo Italia ganó la carrera por la belleza’1 March 2016. In German as ‘Italien ist mehr als nur Essen, Familie und Gott‘ in Die Welt, 7 March 2016.
‘From National Histories of Advice Discourses to a “Transatlantic Domestic Dialogue”’Society for the History of Women in the Americas (SHAW) series on the British Association of American Studies (BAAS) website, 11 March 2015.
‘Designing Domesticity: Visual Techniques in Post-WW2 Domestic Advice Books’, AHRC Image Gallery, September 2014.
Another reason my personal website has been so long in arriving is that I have been perfectly happy with the institutional representation I have enjoyed online. Not only do I have a fairly comprehensive personal research profile page but as part of my role as Research Group Leader for the TVAD (Theorising Visual Art and Design) Research Group, I launched the TVAD Research Group blog in 2011. This was an ensemble effort, showcasing research across the School related to the group's thematic of relationships between text, narrative and image. As well as editing the blog, and contributing to it, I also looked after TVAD's webpages. After nearly a decade in the role of RGL, I passed on the role to my colleague Dr Alana Jelinek this summer. I understand that a School-wide research blog is planned, and that is a good idea and I hope to contribute. But it means that in the intervening period, the TVAD Research Group will really be without a blog. And that matters to me because...
This September, I was awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant for my project The Hand Book. As part of the activity for this research project, I planned to blog monthly for the next two years about the progress of the research, the writing and a series of workshops related to these. I planned for these blog posts to exist on the TVAD blog, but given the hiatus in TVAD's blogging, I received the nudge I needed to finally launch my own website. Rather than setting up a blog from scratch, which would look rather spare and unpopulated at first, I decided to place the Hand Book project in the context of my existing and parallel research. This required me to author pages for each of my projects and another series of pages for each of my books.
The result has received positive feedback from several quarters, and I feel that I have given my newly independent blogging activity the best possible setting. I am excited to move forward with my research and dissemination. Let me know what you think of the website using the comments form on the site.