Thursday, December 15, 2011

Call for papers - women in sound art

Care of Lisa Whistlecroft :For info: An Austrian on-line magazine is calling for articles on the topic "Women in Sound Art". Submit essays in English or German. Deadline 26 March 2012. E: WEB:
Translation of call (thanks to Thomas Schmidt) reads: 'Sound Art is an area of New Music in which an especially large number of female musicians and performers are active. We want to pursue the question of why Sound Art is more feminine than other areas of New Music; we want to portray its female protagonists and analyse their music.'

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The value of an anchor

advice from @alexiskirke Alexis Kirke (who has just completed his second PhD)

As I'm writing up my thesis (and as it is taking such a long time) I asked him for some tips.

This was his advice in a brief tweet:

'be clear about ur motivations, be clear what ur trying to demonstrate, 
relate to past lit, and don't try to be perfect'

With this in mind I produced a document and pinned it on the wall above my desk. 
It reminds me of:
- my research questions
- significant points being made in my thesis
- their relationship with fundamental theoretical ideas
- not to make everything perfect (whatever that is I tend to overwork things)
- my motivations

It sounds obvious but having it there has proven to be a real anchor. 

Ever have days when you just can’t focus on a task?

This post is taken from the Unilever website. Whilst we already know these things it does no harm to see them all together and remember them. 

Tips to help get your brain working again 

We all sometimes find it hard to concentrate a task or even get started. Some people function better in the morning, others in the afternoon. Most have a point during the day where they temporarily run out of energy. And some jobs – because of their scale or complexity – are often simply difficult to progress.
If you ever find yourself struggling to focus, here are a few things to consider that may help get your brain functioning better and more creatively.
Breathe deepMore air in means more oxygen in the blood and therefore in the brain. Several deep breaths can help relax you, which is conducive to clearer thinking.
Sit up straightPosture affects your thought process. Prove it to yourself. Think through a maths problem in your head while slouching, looking at the floor and letting your mouth hang open. Then do another sitting up straight, keeping your mouth closed and looking forward or slightly upwards.
Take a short breakWhen you find your concentration waning, take a walk around the office or, better still, outside. This will get your heart rate up, increase your alertness and give your mind a chance to work on the problem. Try walking up and down the stairs a few times.
Mix up your environmentIt can also help to work in different places. A change of scenery – even another part of the office – can refresh the mind and give you new stimulus.
Avoid sugarSimple carbohydrates can give you a sluggish feeling that makes it hard to think clearly. It results from insulin rushing into the bloodstream to counteract the sugar high. So avoid pasta, sugars, white bread and potato chips (crisps) before any important mental tasks.
Speed readContrary to what many believe, your comprehension of material often goes up when you speed read. You get to learn a lot more in less time and it’s a good brain exercise.
Make a planWhen you sit down to work without a plan, it’s easy to get caught up in activities like checking email. So make a clear plan of action beforehand. If you need to check email, do so but then close your inbox – or at least the ‘new mail’ pop-ups – while you work on the task.
De-clutterCluttered rooms and offices can contribute to cluttered thinking. Organise a clear space for mental work.
Eat fishScientific studies suggest that eating fish can help improve concentration. Research in the US found that older people who eat fish regularly have quicker and better memories.
Don’t skip breakfastHaving breakfast improves concentration, reaction time, learning ability, mood and memory. A breakfast high in fibre helps slow down the absorption of food in the stomach, so you have more energy for a longer period of time.
Snack on blueberriesA study in the US found that eating blueberries can slow and even reverse age-related brain decline, as well as improve short-term memory loss.
Drink lots of waterDehydration can be detrimental to the brain. Drink lots of water, particularly before a potentially stressful situation.
DoodleDrawing stimulates the right hemisphere of the brain and inspires creativity. Doodling can kick start your brain when it’s bored.
LaughLaughter causes a natural release of the brain’s endorphins – chemicals that drown out pain and increase overall well-being. Laughter is a well-known natural stress reducer.
Think positiveTake ten minutes each day to think more positively and you’ll begin to notice an improvement in thinking abilities and problem-solving skills. It will also make you feel empowered.
Switch handsTry using your less dominant hand for tasks such as eating or writing to stimulate your brain.
YawnIt is thought that a yawn works to send more oxygen to the brain, cooling it down and waking it up.
Do something newIf you get stuck following the same routine every day, your brain won't ever be challenged. Do something different for a change. For instance, why not take a different route to work?