I occasionally dabble in other bits of writing, beyond my main academic concerns of things to do with digital technologies. In recent months, I’ve written about the London Library, the injustice of not being able to vote in the Netherlands, the memories contained in a small wooden box, and my life through cervical smears.
Memories and specula
The wooden box in the picture is a reminder of my teaching life in London in the 1990s, and was written for the Making Clinical Sense project. This is a fascinating project, led by Anna Harris, that explores how medical students learn the skills of their future profession. The project focuses on the important sensory skill of physical examination, and the teaching technologies used to support students’ learning. In August, I prepared another piece, reflecting on my experience of having cervical smear tests over the years. This resonates with the work of Andrea Wojcik, one of the PhD researchers working on the project. She describes some of her fieldwork, in which she observed how medical students learn this important skill. I’m glad I didn’t know this earlier.
The short homage to the London Library was written to mark the retirement of my Maastricht colleague, Ernst Homburg. He is an historian of science, and he focuses on the history of chemistry and on industrial heritage. We were invited to contribute something about a library, archive, museum or heritage site for him to visit after his retirement. The recommendations range from Tasmania, the US, and many European destinations. It will be useful to many intrepid travellers. A pdf of the booklet can be downloaded from the Maastricht STS website.
Voting in the Netherlands
I have lived in Amsterdam for 20 years. Even though I am entrusted to teach Dutch students, I am not allowed to vote in national elections. Dutch people who emigrated to the other side of the world decades ago can, however, still vote in the Netherlands. As the Netherlands celebrates a century of universal suffrage, maybe it’s time to explore how notions of citizenship and engagement play out in a globalised world. Hans Radder and I wrote about this in a column for the Volkskrant (in Dutch). This was later translated and published in English on the DutchNews.nl website.