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I can’t believe October is over.

After the family visit last month, and the two out of the three weddings that I managed to attend, as well as fulfilling some design and performance obligations at the Heliconian Club (Mary Gardiner’s tribute concert was a success, and Deanna Hendriks was a wonderful soprano to work with), I am looking forward to a slight change of pace in November, with more focus back to my academic pursuits.

Kicking off the month will be the ASIS&T Conference in Vancouver, and the Community Informations Research Network (CIRN) conference in Prato which I will follow vicariously through twitter and the published proceedings. I really keep meaning to learn more about the CI field, the practitioners, and the ideas being generated there. Instead, I seem to be collecting links and readings for some unknown time in the future to really dig in to see what’s there. I am no activist, but I’m interested in the lessons learned in the ‘peripheral’ communities about ICTs, and what that can teach us about the needs of marginalized communities (however you define that) that are close to home. While in Vancouver, I hope to be able to catch the company of a few colleagues out west, both new and old, and maybe take a day off from the conference and do a day road trip.

This month is the month when I will be hitting the ground running in my ethnographic research project, and learn from my mistakes in the field. My research design is due next week, as is my SSHRC application, which helps solidify a plan. Once I am back from ASIS&T, I am due to make a presentation about my work-in-progress to date. I will strive to use it as a way to get constructive feedback that I will apply to the remainder of the research I have to do. As you can see from my last few posts, I have been wrestling with the idea, and slowly but surely I am getting a handle on it, even if it is in terms of my difficulties with it at the moment.

Activities around the KMDI program, Faculty of Information’s Alumni Association are also being planned for early December, with a peppering of social events at the Heliconian Club that will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the membership. I’ll report on those as they happen, and perhaps I will get in the habit of bringing a camera along to these things.

You may think that my calendar is a bit ambitious, considering that I started off a post saying that this month I want to focus on academics, but I am trying to strike a balance. Academic work is important, not only because I am currently a student, but I want to use what I learn as the foundation for a start-up after I am finished. However, being involved in the communities I choose to be a part of is also very important. Instead of seeing them as obligations, I see them more as the moments you carve out to enjoy and appreciate life, and the people that are in it. Ideas brew not simply because of brains, but because you have a community of people behind it, who see the value in it, and who want you to succeed. Slowly but surely, I’m building that community, and hopefully on the days and weeks that feel especially long and dreary, I can always go to them for renewed inspiration and motivation.

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